SOME parents in Labasa are going on hunger strike next Monday in the hope of assuring their children a promising future.
This comes after two students wanted to commit suicide after being awarded a zero for allegedly cheating in Biology during the Fiji Seventh Form Examination.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Education stood by its initial decision to give 11 Labasa Sangam College students including last year's dux a zero in their Biology papers.
Ministry of Education permanent secretary Doctor Brij Lal said for the past 50 years, the ministry had always made the same decision for alleged cheating during external exams.
"For the last 50 years that has always been the practise and nothing new about it unless if you people want to make something new and make a big deal out of it," Dr Brij said. He added that markers noted a pattern of malpractice in the exam papers of the 11 students.
Speaking on behalf of the parents, Rajesh Lal said some of the children had wanted to commit suicide after seeing their results last week.
"We have spoken to our children and told them that we will fight for justice and for them not to lose hope.
"The parents will sit outside the school from next Monday and go on hunger strike until the ministry resolves the matter that may tarnish the dreams of their children's future.
"The permanent secretary is making a very childish statement and all he is doing is killing the future of our children.
"How come there was no complaint from the school principal and the exam chief supervisor in Labasa but complaints reached Suva? We approached the principal and the chief supervisor but they said there were no complaints received from any students or other supervisors," Mr Lal said.
He said the affected students were all bright kids who passed the same subject in their internal exams.
"We have been informed that they cheated in the exams. This is unfair and we have informed higher authorities about it because our children are so disheartened," Mr Lal said.