PRESIDENT Ratu Epeli Nailatikau is encouraged and excited by the way Fiji's new Constitution empowers young people.
In his national address during the Presidential assent to the Constitution at Government House in Suva on Friday, Ratu Epeli said, for the first time, any child born in Fiji, now had a much better chance of gaining knowledge and skills, with specific undertakings about access to primary, secondary and tertiary education.
"So we will be a smarter nation with more people capable of getting satisfying and sustainable jobs," he said.
Ratu Epeli said for the first time, the two principal vernacular languages — iTaukei and Fiji Hindi — would be taught in primary schools as compulsory subjects.
"So we will be a nation better able to communicate with each other and share our stories."
He also highlighted that for the first time, anyone over the age of 18 obtains the right to vote.
"So we will be a nation in which young people are able to participate in the democratic process and provide us all with their energy, idealism and fresh ideas.
"We all know that Fiji's future depends on our young people. And more than anything else, this Constitution is for them and for their children and the generations to come," Ratu Epeli said.
He said all the old attitudes that had held Fiji back, and all the old prejudices could not survive that generational change, if everyone resolved to think differently.
"With these reforms, we are bound to be more united, more cohesive and more conscious that we are one people, one nation with a wonderful future ahead of us."