Akbar: Standard of quality early childhood education has improved

Minister for Education Rosy Akbar. Picture: RAMA

THE standard and quality of early childhood education (ECE) and care has improved with better teacher salaries and grants for children.

While opening the Regional Early Childhood Education and Care in the Pasifika Talanoa Symposium in Nadi, Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Rosy Akbar said: “This year we are giving a subsidy of $2.8 million dollars towards the tuition fees of students enrolled in registered ECE centres. An additional $300,000 has been given for the construction of facilities and equipment.”

She also noted the great strides taken for the formative education of Fijian students.

“Today, ECE and care is as important as any other education sector and given the topmost priority and funding by our government. This year, we are giving a subsidy of $2.8million towards the tuition fees of students enrolled in registered ECE centres. An additional $300,000 has been given for the construction of facilities and equipment.”

The Ministry of Education oversees 875 kindergartens, 19,102 students and 1479 teachers, who are paid by the ministry and are under a reviewed salary rate, with a total of $23.4million budgeted for their salaries.

“This is a bold step taken by the Ministry to empower these teachers to upgrade their academic qualifications and seek further training, the trickle-down effect finally to be enjoyed by the children,” Ms Akbar said.

Children in recognised ECE centres are provided free schooling and free transport where they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The four-day symposium is organised by the University of the South Pacific.

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