‘Investment paying off’ – PM on Fiji’s education sector

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama while virtually speaking at a three-day "Transforming Education Summit" in New York. Picture: FIJIAN GOVERNMENT

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama told the United Nations that Fiji’s investment into education a decade ago was now paying dividends.

While speaking at a three-day “Transforming Education Summit” in New York, he said Fiji had embarked on an education revolution a decade ago, through sweeping policies and concerted investment to improve the access and quality of education in the country. T

he PM said Fiji’s commitment to transforming education included a revolution in the digitisation of education — a greater focus on problem-solving and on building the skills and competencies needed for a modern knowledge-based society.

He also said the introduction of free education has had a far-reaching impact on bridging the learning divide among rural, maritime, and urban children.

“We have since achieved universal access to primary education in Fiji for every child of every gender and also, billions of dollars in new funding has been provided to higher education through loans and scholarships,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“Year-on-year, around 18 per cent of Fiji’s national budget goes directly towards education, every dollar of which invests in a more united, knowledgeable, prosperous, and sustainable Fiji.

“The dividends are paying off. The generation empowered by free education is now entering our workforce and helping to lead Fiji’s double-digit economic growth out of the pandemic.”

Mr Bainimarama also said Government was committed to rebuilding every school to withstand the realities of a warmer and more dangerous world, having redesigned each structure to be cyclone resistant.

“The Fijian Government is also committed to revising its learning programs, bringing new resources to bear to develop an expanded range of programs that build skills and competencies suited to a modern economy.”

The PM called on the world to join Pacific Island countries in their journey forward.

“As our people work together across islands, cultures, and generations to build a more knowledge-based society today, we ask the world to join us in that journey forward and help us realise our commitment to leave no Fijian child behind.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the education system at present simply did not make the grade. He urged world leaders to come up with solutions and necessary support to ensure everyone could learn, thrive and dream throughout their lives.

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