FTA raises issue of teacher termination

THE suspension, dismissal and termination of Fijian teachers were raised with Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Rosy Akbar yesterday.

President of the Fijian Teachers Association (FTA) Netani Druavesi raised this issue during the 85th Annual Delegates Conference in Suva yesterday.

Mr Druavesi claimed that last year the ministry terminated 33 teachers and this was an all-time record.

He also claimed the ministry failed to follow proper practices of natural justice and adherence from its own Fijian Civil Service Disciplinary Guideline which had been vetted by the Solicitor-General’s Office.

Mr Druavesi claimed that a head of school was terminated last year only because he sent a student to buy his recharge card.

He said there was a need for the ministry to conduct proper investigations before sending a teacher home.

“The permanent secretary for education is now the investigator, judge and jury, with all-time record of 33 terminations in 2018,” Mr Druavesi said.

“At the same time, the permanent secretary has suspended links with Public Service Disciplinary Tribunal (PSDT) claiming it to be a long process not withstanding it being a fairer process.”

Ms Akbar, in her opening address, said most of the teachers were terminated because they had inflicted corporal punishment on students.

“Please do not use corporal punishment on children because we have a zero tolerance and what we are doing now is we are going to involve civil society organisations to ensure that you are assisted through counselling,” Ms Akbar said.

“You are not even allowed to touch a child because once we receive complaints with regards to corporal punishment, we have to investigate and in many cases a simple termination.”

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