Thursday, October 30, 2008

Charter plans rile teacher unions

Charter plans rile teacher unions - 30/10/2008

Fiji teacher unions have strongly opposed the move by the National Council for Building a Better Fiji to continue charter consultations in schools around the country.

This comes after reports this week of consultations continuing despite an Education Ministry directive to the NCBBF team to suspend consultations until November 24.

Fijian Teachers Association President Tevita Koroi told Fijilive this incident called for stronger protocols to be laid down on the kind of campaigning that could be carried out in schools.

“For too long teachers and students have been taken for granted for campaigning and this includes all kinds of campaigns, road marches, concerts … not just the charter consultations,” he said.

Koroi said from the information he had it was understood that the management of the schools in the Northern Division had given their consent to the NCBBF team to carry out the consultations despite the ministry directive.

The ministry directed that all consultations in schools be suspended until external exams were over.

Fiji Teachers Union General Secretary Agni Deo Singh said it had been made clear to schools that no disturbance was allowed to classes during the exam period.

“We presented a submission to the Education Ministry on this matter and we were pleased that the minister accepted our submission,” he said.

Deo stressed that this incident clearly indicated there was a communication breakdown between teachers’ unions and the education minister.

The Commissioner Northern’s Press Secretary, Filipe Cula, confirmed the consultations took place before the students sat the external exams this week.

Cula said according to NCBBF officials these students were above the age of 18, adding that the response by students was enormous and most of the students took the chance to ask questions on the draft Charter.

Attempts to get comments from the interim Education Minister Filipe Bole proved futile.

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