12 January, 2018, 12:00 am
THE English proficiency test was not administered on the basis of pass or fail, said Attorney-General and Minister for Education Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who apologised yesterday to teachers who had taken the test.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the recent statement by the Education Ministry permanent secretary Iowane Tiko on the results of the test was incorrect.
Mr Tiko had earlier said 50 per cent of teachers who sat for the English proficiency test failed.
“I’d like to start off by apologising to the parents and the teaching staff for the recent statement given to the media by the permanent secretary for education regarding the results of the English proficiency test taken by teachers,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“That statement was incorrect. The test was not administered on the basis of pass or fail.
“The purpose of the teachers’ assessment was part of Government’s commitment to the open merit recruitment guideline and the English proficiency examination was administered by the Ministry of Education with guidance from the Civil Service Reform Management Unit as part of the first comprehensive assessment on merit for teaching applicants,” he said.
“The main purpose of the assessment was to provide benchmark data to help measure the effectiveness of professional development programs that will be carried out throughout the year.”
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the assessment covered four relevant categories – qualifications, experience, knowledge of contemporary teaching and learning strategies and English proficiency, among the others.
He said the result from the assessment would enable Government to ensure all appointments were made on merit.
“The results also provide a clear picture on where we need to target investment in the professional development of our teaching staff.
“We want to give full assurance to our teachers that we are committed to your professional development and will invest in programs that will help support you in educating young Fijians.
“The assessment was also carried out to ensure that all teaching applicants meet baseline proficiency requirements prior to being appointed to teaching positions.”
He said teachers, who met the baseline proficiency requirements, would be appointed to teaching positions in term 1 and after the second round of assessment, applicants, who met the baseline proficiency requirements, would be appointed to a position during term 1.
A few teachers, who spoke to The Fiji Times yesterday under the condition of anonymity, said the English proficiency test and the job evaluation test was fair for those teachers who had been in the teaching field for more than one year but not for new graduates.
According to one of the secondary school teachers of English, the English proficiency test was fair but tricky.
She said the paper contained multiple choice questions and comprehension passages.
Thus, the teachers said the job evaluation test included four classroom-based questions and such questions could only be answered by those teachers who were already in the teaching field.
The teachers also said the way as to which their test result was sent was not fair as it did not specify which paper they had failed or passed.
The result either stated pass or fail and for teachers who failed, an email was sent to them.