Education shocker

Fiji’s Minister for Education has revealed that at least 20 per cent of teachers are not performing and even worse, some were having affairs with students.

Dr Mahendra Reddy warned that teachers would be demoted to clerks within the ministry if they became a liability to the school system.

There are more than 8000 teachers around the country.

In an interview, Dr Reddy said the underperforming teachers had Monday sick leaves, affairs with students, did not cover classes and were behind schedule.

He gave an example of how some schools were way ahead in terms of the curriculum coverage.

“See the situation - they (teachers) are behind coverage, not giving homework, not answering student's questions and dividing the community.”

He said instead of teaching the children, some school teachers were running side businesses under someone else's name.

Dr Reddy said teachers have gone to the extent of dividing communities and telling them to push for changes to school committees.

“So these types of things will divert quality time away from classrooms,” he said.

Dr Reddy said the ministry was in constant talks with teachers and telling them to put education of children first or face disciplinary actions.

“Another option is that if we really find a teacher who will become a liability to the school, we will demote the person and bring them to the ministry.

“We have got sections where they can do clerical work like in the exams section, printery section and HR section.”

Dr Reddy said if teachers did not belong to the school system, the ministry does not want them to destroy the school system.

He also outlined that 80 per cent of the teachers and heads in the country were good.

“It's the 20 per cent who are tarnishing the image of the 80 per cent, it's that 20 per cent that we need to fix.

“So while we are dealing with the 20 per cent (teachers), we are asking the 80 per cent (teachers) to also work on the 20 per cent because of them, their good work is being affected.”

Meanwhile, the Fijian government has assisted close to 900 Early Childhood Education centres under its free kindergarten tuition program around the country.

This was revealed by the Minister for Education Doctor Mahendra Reddy where he also said that the initiative was rolling out well throughout the country.

“Government has supported close to 900 ECE centres around the country,” he said.         

Earlier on Dr Reddy had told this newspaper that all registered kindergartens would get the grant of $50 per child per school term.

He said all registered schools meaning, they had qualified teachers and their learning environment was safe for the children including other basic safety issues.

The registered schools will be included within the ministry's database and according to Dr Reddy, these schools are the only ones eligible to get a grant of $50 (US$25) per child.

He also said the ministry had arranged the data regarding these schools and that more new schools would come up adding that they would register with them as soon as they fulfilled the requirements set by the ministry.

Dr Reddy also said that grants would be given out only to kindergartens that submitted their applications and also signed the memorandum of understanding.