PRIME Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has directed the Ministry of Education in the North to collect statistics from secondary schools on how many girls return home because of unavailability of vocational studies.
Commodore Bainimarama gave the directive after he was informed by school principal Sanjay Prasad that about 20 girls return to their villages when they finish school from Nadogo Secondary School.
"We can't afford that. We can't afford to send girls home just because there's no vocational studies available for them.
"We need to do something and introduce vocational programs that will help our girls," Commodore Bainimarama said.
He said such situations should not be left unattended.
"I am worried. I am worried more about the girls. The boys are no problem because they have vocational studies for them," he said.
Mr Prasad told Commodore Bainimarama that about 20 girls returned home every year because of the unavailability of vocational studies while the boys stayed back in school as they had vocational training. "We have done our application for vocational training for the girls with the ministry but nothing has happened," he said.
"These girls who go back home do pass their exams but with low marks so most of them just go back home to the village."
Divisional education officer North Satya Nand Shandil said the school needed to avail a classroom to cater for vocational classes for girls.
"The onus is on you people to get a classroom so we can have the vocational training in it for the girls."
Mr Prasad said the planned vocational training could also provide textiles and cooking courses.
Commodore Bainimarama told Mr Shandil that they "need to go around to schools and the Ministry of Education and get stats on girls leaving high school so we can continue with a program to help them".
"Let's not just talk about it but let's get it done," he said.
Mr Shandil said the Fiji National University also offered bridging courses that were aimed at helping students qualify for degree programs.
"Most students are making use of it and that includes students from Nadogo."