Bure attacks Times; Says school fundraising was never banned

Timoci Bure (Deputy Permanent Secretary - Education) speaking to teachers and school managers at their consultations meeting in Suva. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

EDUCATION Ministry deputy secretary Timoci Bure has accused The Fiji Times of misquoting Education Minister Rosy Akbar.

He said an article that appeared under the headline “Ban lifted” was wrong.

Mr Bure said fundraising activities had never been banned.

“You could fundraise but you needed permission to do so,” he said while addressing school heads and managers consultation in Savusavu yesterday.

The Fiji Times wrote the article and The Fiji Times being The Fiji Times twisted the story and said that we had banned the fundraising activities.

“You and I know that the fundraising was not banned.

“I was in that consultation which the newspaper highlighted and what was told in that consultation is that fundraising was never banned.

“But we made it clear in that consultation that schools had to follow the normal procedure to ask for the permission of holding fundraising activities.

“In this procedure, schools had to include the purpose, the cost of the project that needed funding and other important details because we didn’t want the parents to be burdened.

“This has always been the ministry’s stand.

“So to clarify, fundraising was never stopped in schools. Since 2014, some schools have continued to fundraise.”

Mr Bure was responding to a comment made by a Cakaudrove school manager who said Ms Akbar’s statement in The Fiji Times that parents would not be affected by school fundraising “was confusing”.

The school manager told the school heads and managers forum that no one else would contribute to fundraising activities in schools except the parents.

The Fiji Times had reported last week that the ministry had lifted a ban on fundraising by schools.

The report was filed from information gathered at a consultation with school heads and managers at St Joseph’s Secondary School, Suva, last week and quoted Mr Bure — not Ms Akbar.

A school manager, who was concerned about the reduction in the Free Education Grant, had questioned ministry officials on whether schools could conduct fundraising activities to make up for the shortfall.

The manager who made the request said schools were banned from holding fundraising and asked if it could be lifted.

In response, Mr Bure said yes, schools could fundraise. He did not elaborate on the subject.

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