Ak­bar tells teach­ers of their role bat­tling do­mes­tic vi­o­lence

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - ARISHMA DEVI-NARAYAN arishma.narayan@fi­jisun.com.fj

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

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