Fiji Sun - - Comment -

Su­sana Tui­sawau, Suva.

I thank Ritesh Prasad for all the in­for­ma­tion in his let­ter re­gard­ing the scout­ing move­ment in schools and fully en­dorse the sen­ti­ments ex­pressed. May I thank and con­grat­u­late the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and es­pe­cially the hon­ourable Min­is­ter, for even­tu­ally see­ing the value of the scout­ing move­ment to main­stream it back into the school pro­gramme.

For years the teach­ers of Fiji had been strongly ad­vo­cat­ing for the due recog­ni­tion and strength­en­ing of these valu­able ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties such as Scout­ing and Girl Guides in the schools. The rea­son for their be­ing re-in­tro­duced be­ing that they con­trib­ute to char­ac­ter build­ing and valu­able life skills which the aca­demic sub­jects are un­able to ful­fill.

May I add that there were other ex­tremely valu­able ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties which some schools-es­pe­cially sec­ondary schools, used to of­fer that stu­dents greatly en­joyed and which achieved out­stand­ing re­sults. These were : The Duke of Ed­in­burgh Scheme; Rangers; Clubs e.g. Young Farm­ers Club, Mu­sic/Choral Club; Arts Club; Science Club to name only a few.

What had hap­pened was that at­ten­tion had some­what been di­verted away from these very valu­able, char­ac­ter build­ing ex­tra -cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties for var­i­ous rea­sons.

Some rea­sons given were be­cause of OHS; teach­ers’ work­load and the overem­pha­sis on aca­demic ex­cel­lence.

How­ever, what some of us had no­ticed with great con­cern has been the re­place­ment of these valu­able ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties with mil­i­tary cadet­ship in sec­ondary schools.

This is the mil­i­tari­sa­tion of civil­ian so­ci­ety which is a con­cern as it runs con­trary to the prin­ci­ples of a democ­racy and the pro­mo­tion of a demo­cratic so­ci­ety.

In­deed, it would dis­tract at­ten­tion and much needed time in the schools’ pro­gram to sup­port the min­istry’s ini­tia­tive to build up the pos­i­tive civil­ian move­ments in the schools such as Scout­ing and Girl Guides; etc.

I salute you Scouts and Girl Guides and wish you a much brighter fu­ture in the schools! Ms Tui­sawau will re­ceive a Parker pen from the Fiji Sun as our Let­ter of the Week win­ner this week.

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