‘Premila, stop being a hypocrite’

Education Minister Aseri Radrodro and his predecessor Premila Kumar during a break from parliament. Picture: FILE

Education Minister Aseri Radrodro has urged his predecessor Premila Kumar to “stop being a hypocrite” and invited her to meet face to face to discuss the numerous issues he inherited after coming into office.

Former FijiFirst Education Minister and Opposition parliamentarian Mrs Kumar had hit out at Mr Radrodro, questioning the appointments of “failed candidates”, labelling the action “unconstitutional”.

Mr Radrodro defended the appointments of Mikaele Leawere and Losena Salabula as advisers, saying they were both very experienced former educationists.

The minister said when he first assumed the role, his office was in dire need of executive support staff that could be trusted.

“I therefore sought approval from the Honourable Minister for Civil Service, who was also the Honourable Prime Minister,” he said.

“He approved that the two be recruited as special project consultants. So far, they have been very effective in clearing backlogs of requests to the office of the minister.”

With regards to the recruitment of Peni Senikarawa as the acting deputy permanent secretary for primary and secondary, Mr Radrodro said Mr Senikarawa was acquitted by the courts.

“We should be grateful that since the judgment of the courts in 2022, Mr Senikarawa did not sue Government to recover his lost earnings and the defamation to his character as a school teacher carrying out his role.

“Mr Senikarawa is now acting deputy secretary to assist the acting PS whilst substantive posts are advertised shortly.

“I must also remind Premila that in 2014, one of the failed FFP candidates was appointed to head one of the important institutions of government.

“So Premila needs to stop being a hypocrite and accept that people have a right to employment as the Constitution she is forever advocating captures.”

Mr Radrodro also said Mrs Kumar should explain why the three deputy PS positions were replaced with just one Head of National Education Service Delivery when the ministry had over 13,000 teachers and almost 400 non-teaching staff.

“That form of structure itself overwhelms the position and also becomes problematic when teachers need to have easy access to advice and operational issues, and it’s impossible to expect this one person to cater to the thousands as mentioned.

“On Mr Gavidi, again, he is someone who was unfairly treated and was coerced to resign. Something that is all too common and is against the principles of natural justice. He is now back at the ministry, and they will not be the only ones we review and rehire.

“We are now in the process of looking at everyone who may still have a lot to give towards our education sector.”

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