THE Ministry of Education has reiterated that it remains open to the staffing requests of schools run by religious institutions.
This comes after an alleged refusal by the Public Service Commission to consider a submission from the Catholic Board of Education requesting that heads of their schools belong to the Catholic faith.
Public Service Commission permanent secretary Parmesh Chand is out of the country and would comment when he returns.
Director of Catholic Education Remesio Rogovakalali had said in a letter last week, the PSC had turned down a Catholic Education delegation request for Catholic schools to have Catholic head teachers.
"Our submission was to ensure that Catholic schools are headed by head teachers and principals who belong to the Catholic faith, to safeguard the Catholic character of Catholic schools," Mr Rogovakalali said.
He said the rejection by the PSC could lead to the eventual death of the character, culture and values of Catholic schools and Catholic education in Fiji and Rotuma.
There are 63 educational institutions in the Catholic education system. These include 44 primary schools 17 secondary schools, one teachers' training college and one vocational institution.
However, Minister for Education Filipe Bole said the ministry understood requests of schools run by religious institutions to have head teachers of the same faith leading the schools.
"Any school authority that needs the principal or head teacher to be of the same faith can approach the Ministry of Education and we will facilitate this," Mr Bole said.
He said there were obvious reasons for school boards wanting teachers of similar faith — one of them being better understanding.
"The stand of the Ministry is that the view of the schools need to be taken into account."
"We have had cases where the school board has asked for headteachers of the same faith to lead the school and they have sought our assistance and we have given it," Mr Bole said.
"Of course there have also been cases where the school has agreed to have a headteacher of a different faith in the past," he added.
Meanwhile the Methodist Church in Fiji has come out in support of the Catholic Education board saying they shared the same stance.
"In the Methodist Church that is the standing policy," Reverend Nawadra said.
"The head of school and assistant need to be Methodist but there were times when difficulties arose, someone left in the middle of the year and no one was found to be of the same level."
"So someone of a different denomination takes the post until a Methodist is found," he said.
"Part of our mission is to see that children are brought up in the Christian way and someone with that background can understand that," he added.
President of the Arya Sanatan Dharm Pratinidhi Sabha Fiji Dewan Chand Maharaj said he understood the positions taken by the Methodists and Catholics.
However he said the main concern for the Sanatan run schools was education quality.
"We are not that fussy, just as long as the students get quality education we are happy," he said.