Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter slams trade unions over claims

Mahendra Reddy states they can­not say they have not been con­sulted

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today - FILIPE NAIGULEVU and ARISHMA DEVI-NARAYAN Feed­back: filipe.naigulevu@fi­jisun.com.fj Edited by Ne­mani De­laibatiki

Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion Mahendra Reddy says trade unions are not be­ing se­ri­ous when they claim they are not be­ing con­sulted on ed­u­ca­tion is­sues. He was com­ment­ing yes­ter­day on a state­ment by Coun­cil of Pa­cific Ed­u­ca­tion’s (COPE) sec­re­tary gen­eral, Govind Singh, that unions were le­git­i­mate de­vel­op­ment part­ners in the de­liv­ery of ed­u­ca­tion and should be con­sulted. Mr Reddy said the unions could not say they were not be­ing con­sulted. He said his min­istry had held ed­u­ca­tion fo­rums where ed­u­ca­tion stake­hold­ers were in­vited. “I can give you ev­i­dence recorded at an ed­u­ca­tion fo­rum that they said they were happy with all our re­forms,” Mr Reddy said.

“A week later, they re­leased a state­ment say­ing they are not happy. What are they say­ing? I can’t re­ally un­der­stand them.

“They are in­vited to all the Ed­u­ca­tion fo­rums we have. Some­times they turn up and leave half way. “We are try­ing our best to en­gage with unions, but it seems they have some ul­te­rior mo­tive. “We can’t run af­ter them when they don’t have Govern­ment’s vi­sion for ed­u­ca­tion at heart. “We can only work to­gether if we have a com­mon ob­jec­tive.

“It seems qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion for chil­dren is not their ul­ti­mate mo­tive. “I get shocked when I see them sup­port­ing teach­ers for gross mis­con­duct. That demon­strates to me that they don’t have chil­dren’s in­ter­ests at heart. That their ob­jec­tive is some­thing else.” He said unions should be at­tend­ing the fo­rums to ex­press their views. But im­ple­ment­ing poli­cies was the pre­rog­a­tive of the min­istry not the unions. He clar­i­fied that was what he meant when he said re­cently that unions could not run the min­istry. Mr Singh said: “Unions do not want to run any­body’s min­istry.” Mr Singh added that trade unions were de­vel­op­ment part­ners and it was a mis­con­cep­tion that they were trou­ble mak­ers. Mr Singh spoke at the COPE Re­gional Young Ed­u­ca­tors Train­ing Pro­gramme at Tanoa Sky­lodge Ho­tel in Nadi. The young par­tic­i­pants are from teacher or­gan­i­sa­tions in the South Pa­cific. The pro­gramme also saw rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Fi­jian Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and the Fiji Teach­ers Union at­tend. A wide range of top­ics were dis­cussed which in­cluded trade unions, re­li­gion, lan­guage and many other chal­lenges in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor.

I can give you ev­i­dence recorded at an ed­u­ca­tion fo­rum that they said they were happy with all our re­forms

Mahendra Reddy

Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion

Photo: Arishma Devi-Narayan

The Coun­cil of Pa­cific Ed­u­ca­tion (COPE) sec­re­tary gen­eral, Govind Singh (right), hav­ing a dis­cus­sion with the par­tic­i­pants of the COPE Re­gional Young Ed­u­ca­tors Train­ing Pro­gramme at Tanoa Sky­lodge Ho­tel in Nadi yes­ter­day.

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