Reveal results, NFP tells ministry

Rewa Secondary School Principal Sunita Deo (right) with Kavanagasau College Principal Irene Sen and Kalabu Secondary School Principal Kiran Narayan check out some of the books displayed by Premier Book Centre Director Arun Singh during the Fiji Principals Association Conference in Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND/FILE

THE National Federation Party has called on the Education Ministry to reveal the results of the job tests that were taken by acting principals for medium secondary schools.

Party leader Professor Biman Prasad claimed there was growing disquiet over the results’ secrecy after a vast majority of about 100 acting principals reportedly failed the test.

Prof Prasad claimed several aggrieved acting principals contacted the party’s headquarters in Suva after they received letters of regret from the Ministry of Education.

“We believe only 14 acting principals of secondary schools have received confirmation that they passed the test and have been called for an interview,” he claimed.

“If only they (acting principals) have been deemed to have been successful during the interview, they will be confirmed as principals.

“But around 100 acting principals at a number of prominent medium secondary schools who have served diligently for over five to seven years in the positions have been told they didn’t pass the job tests and therefore are not eligible to be considered to be confirmed as principal.

“One year into their contracts, that basically demoted them to acting positions on the basis that their salaries were increased, their employment has become uncertain after being told they did not pass a test but not being told how they performed.”

Prof Prasad claimed these were the same personnel who were confirmed as principals when the ministry was headed by the former minister.

“But under the guise of reforms, merit-based appointments and salary adjustments, they are being kicked from pillar to post.

“We question how experienced principals don’t qualify for the positions having reached the top after years of teaching?

“We are extremely concerned that this Government is treating our teaching fraternity like trash. This is not a way to treat human resource, especially teachers and principals who have worked tirelessly for many years.”

Now, Prof Prasad said, the fate of principals was being decided by a job test result, which was not being revealed to them and the criteria used to gauge their performance. “Not knowing one’s score or result is likened to a slap on the face of the aggrieved principals.

“This is the reward and recognition they are getting from this Government for honestly serving the ministry and the country.”

The ministry was given an opportunity to respond to the claims made by Prof Prasad.

An electronic mail (email) was sent to the Education Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and his permanent secretary, Alison Burchell, on Friday last week, asking for a comment on the matter.

A follow-up email was sent to them yesterday morning, but no comments were received when this story went to press last night.

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