THE standard of education in Fiji can be improved and political parties and independent candidates need to use the public platforms they have to promote better education for Fijians.
This should include education which was seen to reflect gender equality.
This was one of the concerns raised by the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre (FWCC) this month, when asked about issues politicians needed to address while campaigning for the 2014 election.
"There is significant anecdotal evidence that the standards of education in Fiji have been declining," claimed FWCC executive director Shamima Ali.
"At the post-secondary level, there is an emphasis on academic education as opposed to technical/vocational training. Low salaries for teachers (which include a significant proportion of women) mean that the best graduates prefer to join the private sector."
Ms Ali said although education was now free, political parties and independent candidates should be aware that there were other things to consider in this regard.
"While the current government has recently made schooling free, other costs such as uniforms, shoes and stationery continue to be prohibitive for some parents in the lowest socioeconomic strata.
"Also, cultural and social biases still exist against girls being allowed to access higher education, or education in technical/vocational fields."
Ms Ali suggested that parties and independent candidates could even consider providing scholarships or incentives to girls to increase skills training in technical areas.
"And also review school curricula to ensure that the curricula reflects gender equality."