WITH only a few days remaining before the start of the new school year, 13-year-old Mere Raiwalui is one of the many secondary students who will attend high school in her village Bukuya.
This was made possible after the opening of Magodro Secondary School in Bukuya yesterday.
For years, students such as Mere's older siblings have had to travel away from the highlands and attain high school education.
Last year, villagers made a request to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama for a secondary school to serve students from Bukuya, Nadevo, Navaga, Tabalei, Tabuquto, Nasivikoso and Bila.
According to Mere, she was happy to be one of the pioneer students of the school.
"I would have gone to Adi Cakobau School if there wasn't a high school here," she said.
The high school, which caters for Years 9 and 10, and subsequent school quarters was constructed with a grant of $95,000.
School principal Alumita Ciwanacagi said it was an honour to have the secondary school established in Magodro.
"Many of them (students) have to be away from their families and stay with their relatives in urban centres and most of them have to rent so it's a burden on parents and guardians," she said.
"Tentatively we have about 40 students in Year 9 and 10 levels and when other students come in, the number will increase. We are hoping for the establishment of Year 11 onwards."
While opening the facilities, Mr Bainimarama said expanding access and improving the quality of children's education was one of Government's most significant accomplishments over the past decade.
"I understand that adequate access to secondary education has been a long-standing issue for your community," he said.
"Some of you have taken your children all the way to the Thomas Baker Secondary School or to government boarding schools, or even sent your young ones to live with relatives in Nadi, all in the pursuit of secondary education opportunities for your children."
Mr Bainimarama said the establishment of the school was a small part of the large vision Government had set out for the country.