Destruction of school structures reveals poor building standards
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