Unions: Government must work in consultation

FTA general secretary Paula Manumanunitoga. Picture: JONA KONATACI/FILE

GOVERNMENT must take into account the contribution by faith-based governed schools and must work in consultation, says teachers’ unions.

The Fijian Teachers Association (FTA) and the Fiji Teachers Union (FTU) say previously the Government used to dialogue with faith-based organisations on the day-to-day running of their schools and also talk on issues of interest.

The unions claimed this was no longer the practice.

FTA general secretary Paula Manumanunitoga says the Catholic Church and all other schools that are managed by religious organisations had the right to have somebody of their faith to lead their institutions and the Government had no right to dictate it to them.

“They have contributed immensely to education in our country even before these people making decision now were born,” Mr Manumanunitoga said.

“Before they were born, these religious organisations had built their schools with their own funds and they’ve been running their schools for all this while, probably for more than a century and their plight must be heard.

“The Government must hear them. It is so unfair.”

FTU general secretary Agni Deo Singh said when schools were established by faith-based organisations, one of their key intentions was to also propagate and enhance the teachings and learning of their religious beliefs and values.

Mr Singh said it was imperative for the Education Ministry to consult the faith-based managed schools and try to reason and explain to them the rationale behind this exercise.

He said the immense contributions made to the education sector in Fiji by faith-based organisations and non-government organisations must not be ignored.

“As far as the union is concerned, we don’t want to compromise merit, people should be appointed on merit, but merit must be clearly defined.

“Merit is the ability to ensure that quality education including values is taught at all the schools.”

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