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FTA, FTU question statement

Litia Cava
Saturday, January 13, 2018

THE Fiji Teachers Union (FTU) and the Fijian Teachers Association (FTA) have raised questions over the statement made by the Attorney-General and Minister for Education, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, that the English proficiency test was not on the basis of pass or fail.

FTU general secretary Agni Deo Singh claimed he was aware of cases of teachers who had received letters and were told they had not met the minimum requirement and their contracts were not going to be renewed.

"As far as we are concerned, we were told that this job test or proficiency English test is for the renewal or offer of contracts. If you fail you don't get a contract or your contract does not get renewed."

Mr Singh said the union had made submissions to the permanent secretary of the Education Ministry for this matter to be reviewed and for serving teachers to not be subjected to such "humiliation" for renewal of their contracts.

FTA acting secretary Peni Delaibatiki said members of the association were disappointed with the assessment exercise because they were not aware of it.

Mr Delaibatiki said new graduates were not advised about the ministry's move to conduct such assessments.

Opposition spokesperson for education Mikaele Leawere said the test recruitment guideline would be beneficial if it was intended to improve proficiency in the use of English, but it should not be a benchmark to determine positions of responsibilities.

"Proficiency in English tests must be administered on a quarterly or annual basis and not used as a tool for selection of teaching positions," Mr Leawere said.

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