Destruc­tion of school struc­tures re­veals poor build­ing stan­dards

Fiji Sun - - Nation - CHARLES CHAM­BERS charles.cham­bers@fi­jisun.com.fj

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion has re­vealed that some schools have used Gov­ern­ment grants in the past to build cheap struc­tures which were not safe. Speak­ing at the Ca­reers Teach­ers Work­shop at the Univer­sity of Fiji on Satur­day, Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary for Ed­u­ca­tion, Iowane Poni­pate Tiko said Cy­clone Win­ston was a bless­ing in dis­guise as it showed out the weak build­ings. Mr Tiko said the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion in the past had failed to keep records of school struc­tures and how old they were. “Now we have done that,” he said. “We were build­ing cheap build­ings and what I could not un­der­stand were those sig­na­tures com­ing from qual­i­fied engi­neers who cer­ti­fied those build­ings to be safe and strong to be used as class­rooms.” He said Gov­ern­ment would now closely mon­i­tor the build­ing of school struc­tures. “From now the min­istry has taken stronger steps with Gov­ern­ment to build bet­ter and stronger.” He said this would be done with a lot of rig­or­ous mon­i­tor­ing and sur­vey­ing dur­ing the build­ing stages. “Pre­vi­ously some school man­age­ment have used Gov­ern­ment funds the quick­est way. “Un­for­tu­nately the quick­est way is not the safest way. He said when the struc­tures were eval­u­ated, as far as Taveuni and north­ern Lau Group, the Min­istry found some of the build­ings were un­us­able as they had been con­structed more than 60 years ago.

Mr Tiko said this sig­nalled a fail­ure within the Min­istry where no frame­work was in place to keep records of school build­ings. Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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