HEAD teachers, principals and school managers in the Western Division have been informed that classes will begin on January 21.
Speaking at an urgent Tropical Cyclone Evan recovery rehabilitation meeting at Natabua High School yesterday, Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki said education was a priority for the government.
"We have 23 days to clean up and repair our schools and we need to co-ordinate our rehabilitation efforts. We cannot afford to delay the start of school by one or two weeks," he said.
Cdr Cawaki said the meeting assessment teams were already at work on Viti Levu and in the Mamanuca and Yasawa groups.
"We expect assessments and verification to be completed by this weekend and contractors will then be announced to get work underway as soon as possible," he added.
The Commissioner Western also requested that all schools that were covered by insurance or had funds available to advise the Education Ministry and begin work immediately.
"Please, do not wait for us to come to you. If you have the ability to start repairs, then let us know and begin work right away," he said.
West education officer Lorima Voravora reiterated the message from Cdr Cawaki and said because to the limited timeframe, schools needed to work with the ministry to ensure classes began on schedule.
"Whether it's in temporary shelters, tents or in other classrooms, classes will begin in 23 days," he said.