Stuck in the rut

Fiji Sun - - Comment -

Ray­mond Chan­dra Canada

Ru­ral in­dige­nous Fi­jian chil­dren have al­ways been marginalised and un­fairly treated by the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem of Fiji. Af­ter more than 40 years of in­de­pen­dence from for­eign rule the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem of Fiji is still stuck in the rut of old, ob­so­lete and un­nec­es­sary external ex­am­i­na­tions that were de­vised by for­eign­ers for ex­pe­di­ency in the last cen­tury. Th­ese are the same ar­chaic ex­am­i­na­tions that had al­ways put the ru­ral in­dige­nous Fi­jian chil­dren at a se­ri­ous dis­ad­van­tage in the school sys­tem dur­ing the colo­nial days. By rea­son of ge­og­ra­phy thou­sands of ru­ral in­dige­nous Fi­jian chil­dren live in and grow up in re­mote ru­ral parts of Fiji where nei­ther the schools nor the learn­ing re­sources that are ac­ces­si­ble are nearly as good as those that are avail­able to chil­dren who live in or near towns and ci­ties. Many who then come from their vil­lages to live in towns and ci­ties find their ad­just­ment chal­leng­ing and of­ten be­come lost in the shuf­fle.

In spite of all their hard­ships all ru­ral in­dige­nous Fi­jian chil­dren have al­ways been re­quired to com­pete in the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem of Fiji with other chil­dren and pass a se­ries of un­nec­es­sary external ex­am­i­na­tions the likes of which are un­heard of in other coun­tries in the 21st cen­tury. It is in­deed hard to un­der­stand whether it is an in­def­i­nite ab­sence of per­spi­cac­ity or an in­def­i­nite pres­ence of com­pla­cency that is still keep­ing the se­ries of cen­tury-old external ex­am­i­na­tions in the school sys­tem of Fiji.

A closer look gives a clear pic­ture of the dam­ag­ing ef­fects of th­ese old, pur­pose­less ex­am­i­na­tions.

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