Editorial comment – Back to school

THIS morning would have been a hectic one for parents and guardians around the country. It would have been the same for students as they geared up to return to school today. The books were brought out, pens, backpacks, sandals and uniforms included.

Lunch boxes were packed! It is time to get back to school today for thousands of students around the country.

As we send them off this morning, we should take this opportunity to reflect on the first term of school and set targets for this term. We should plan to make it a positive one for our young charges.

Like every beginning of another school term, there may have been some last-minute issues to attend to yesterday as parents and guardians prepared children for classes today.

Traffic is expected to balloon once more as school buses join the early morning queues. Let us ensure our children are ready for classes and the continuation of their journey of discovery in 2018.

The State has placed a heavy focus on education over recent years.

We keep going back to 2014 to get a bearing on the State’s early focus on education.

That was when $370 million was set aside for the Education Ministry, an increase of $101.54m from 2013. There was a concerted effort to expand into new policy initiatives.

As Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama pointed out when he announced the 2014 budget in November 2013, “2014 will go down as the year we embarked on an education revolution to better equip all our young people for their future and build a Fiji that is not just smarter, but which provides every young person with increased opportunities”.

The education budget was increased to $556m for 2015 and $432.2m in 2016. Surely not many people are going to shrug aside the need to consider education as a critical part for the development of any nation. That’s why today is important.

We should ensure children are motivated to do well in school. Surely we want to nurture them to value a good education. Surely we all want to nurture in our children the right frame of mind to take advantage of the attention the State has placed on education.

Let’s lap up the State’s initiative and embrace the opportunity to be educated. Let’s make things happen for our children. Let’s embrace the need to learn.

Let’s set the platform for our children to be motivated to do well this year. This term also sees a number of sporting events for high school students. Surely we want to develop well-rounded students who will grow up into responsible adults.

Today we wish every student well in their educational endeavour, and also in their sporting challenges this term.

As always, we encourage parents and guardians to strengthen the base at home for students to be motivated to learn and appreciate education.