Zoning breach

GOVERNMENT has deducted $11,000 and $10,000 respectively from two secondary schools in Labasa because they breached the zoning policy this term.

This was made known at the Macuata Provincial Council meeting yesterday during an intense discussion about the zoning policy that district reps did not support.

During his visit to Labasa last week, the Minister for Education, Dr Mahendra Reddy, confirmed that deductions were made from certain schools in Labasa.

He said this was done after a team collected data indicating children were attending schools out of their zone. Ministry of Education official Seleima Lesi informed the council that the per capita grants were deducted from Labasa College ($10,000) and Labasa Sangam College ($11,000) because parents disobeyed government’s zoning policy.

“A sa musuka a matanitu baleta na talai dredre ni tubutubu (The Government deducted because parents disobeyed),” she said.

“E laurai ni gole mai tauni na gone, e sa lutu sobu sara na wiliwili ni gone e koronivulu e taudaku ni tauni (It has been discovered that when students come to attend schools in town, the number of students in rural schools have dropped).”

Ms Lesi assured district reps the academic level of all schools were n the same with degree graduates now teaching in schools.

She said the ministry had ensured that all teachers were degree holders.

For Labasa College, Ms Lesi informed the meeting that only primary students of Ratu Emeri and Adi Eleni primary schools in Bua, Mali and Cikobia district schools in Macuata would be given priority in enrolling for Year 9 at the end of this term.

She urged parents in Namuka District in Macuata to send their children to Nadogo Central College and Duavata Secondary School in Udu.

However, this issue did not go down well with district reps at the council meeting who have also raised other issues.

Dogotuki district rep Ilaitia Lalakobau said he shifted his children away from Wainikoro to attend schools in Labasa Town.

“The peer pressure in boarding schools is an issue I fear because children nowadays are exposed to technology and things that we never had in our days,” he said.

“That is why I came with my children to Labasa for them to be under my supervision and we get to study together and they are doing well.

“That’s all that matters.

“I do not agree with the zoning policy and parents should be given the right to choose their children’s schools.”

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