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Fiji Time: 2:24 PM on Friday 25 April

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Service before self

Ana Madigibuli
Monday, March 04, 2013

"SERVICE before self" is a motto retired 56-year-old teacher Sitiveni Loco has always upheld, and learnt from in the past 30 years.

Mr Loco, who retired in 2010, from his post as divisional education officer in Labasa, left his family in Naisaumua Village, Tailevu to carry out his responsibility as a teacher which also meant living away from home for almost 20 years.

Mr Loco said it was the toughest thing teachers had to go through when entering the education sector, but most had sacrificed and were committed to carrying out the tasks assigned to them when they had enlisted as teachers.

"The 'service before self' motto was from the Fiji Teachers Association which I had used as my foundation.

Following that principle has motivated me right from the start of my teaching career," Mr Loco said.

"I spent most of my time in Cakaudrove working under the Ministry of Education and serving the people was a main priority, so I served wholeheartedly.

"One of the great things about being a teacher was that we got a chance to go places and meet so many people."

He said one thing he found important was meeting up with the different communities and trying to adapt to their way of life and better understanding them.

"It was a challenge for me at first but I finally adjusted," Mr Loco said.

"For me to see the student that I had taught in the past doing well in life was always rewarding because I realised that I had helped them in some way.

"So for me teaching was basically me trying to pass down the knowledge that I had so someone else could benefit."

He said one of his experiences was moving around the Northern Division and informing people of the importance of education particularly to parents.

"I got a chance to not only educate the students but also parents on their roles and responsibilities," he said.

"In my teaching career I had taught primary school students and I was a headteacher for more than six years.

"I have seen so many changes within the education sector especially with the new initiatives."

He said teachers now needed to be on their toes because they were being judged on their performance.

"We did not have that in the past, it was totally different. Now teachers are assessed through their performance and teachers are also registered," Mr Loco said.

Mr Loco still offers assistance and guidance on education-related issues to his fellow villagers and those from nearby communities.

Mr Loco is also the chairman of the Naisaumua Village committee and is the village ginger farming production chairman.

His family also help villagers in self-help projects within the village aimed at generating income.