Akbar tells teachers of their role battling domestic violence
Networking is one of the most powerful mechanisms to battle violence against women, girls and children says the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar. She shared these sentiments with over 100 members of various teaching organisations from the Pacific Islands attending the Council of Pacific Education Women’s Network Training Programme at Tanoa Skylodge Hotel in Nadi yesterday. Referring to the theme, ‘Campaigning together for change and justice’, she said as professional educators, mothers and fathers they must reach out to help people access services whether they are young or old.
“For far too long the scourge of violence against women, girls and children have been left unattended to in the past. Fiji currently has energised its effort to battle the rise and our ministry has taken the lead in that.
“We have taken the elite role of fighting this issue.”
She said in Fiji the rate of domestic violence was very high and it was a national shame. Ms Akbar said that according to her visit last week to four places in the Western division, Police reports have shown that there was a decline in the crime reports in these communities which have gone through violence free programmes. “The Ministry being part of your conference indeed reflects on the strong insight in your organisation, it also shows that you have dialogue that will bring positive change while we are still trying to fight out the battle of gender violence and gender discrimination within our region,” Ms Akbar said.
The Council of Pacific Education’s secretary general, Govind Singh said the two-day conference would put a focus on analysing the role of teachers in the community and in terms of sensitising the community on gender issues. He said the concern remained that teachers continued to remain silent on community issues and issues of social justice. “Maybe they think it is against civil service regulations or so, but it is not so. Maybe they are in the dark about the rules and regulations and application of things,” Mr Singh said. “When a crime is being committed then we have a moral obligation to raise our voice and concerns. “Teachers need to play an extended role not just classroom role, but a little bit more open up their eyes and mind to see what’s happening in the community that includes teachers here.
“Wherever there is a little village, little island at least there is a primary school, teachers going through university training and other things they are in the best position to sort of expand that role of educating people about rights of women and children and other issues,” Mr Singh stated. The programme ends today. Another conference of the Council will start with reference for the role of Pacific teacher organisations towards the 2030 education agenda. Edited by Jonathan Bryce