Pos­i­tive school zon­ing pol­icy Amit Kumar, Suva

Fiji Sun - - Comments -

I am writ­ing to ex­press my full sup­port for the Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion, Her­itage and Arts, Ma­hen­dra Reddy and what he said about the school zon­ing pol­icy. How­ever, the leader of Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion Party and Op­po­si­tion Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, Bi­man Prasad, has clearly shown his bit­ter­ness to­wards Mr Reddy who has been do­ing won­ders in Fiji’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem which was ne­glected for decades. The zon­ing pol­icy has been there for years and I would like to pose a ques­tion to Mr Prasad: What were you do­ing in the past re­gard­ing this is­sue? The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion brought about the zon­ing pol­icy af­ter sev­eral con­sul­ta­tions with var­i­ous stake­hold­ers be­fore its im­ple­men­ta­tion. The pol­icy helps re­duce many prob­lems and I think the Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion is 100 per cent cor­rect in his state­ments about it.

It en­cour­ages chil­dren to go to their nearby schools. It re­duces over­crowd­ing in ur­ban schools hence, it will re­duce traf­fic con­ges­tion. The chil­dren will have good learn­ing space, ac­cess to bet­ter learn­ing re­sources, al­lows a sound stu­dent-teacher ra­tio for ef­fec­tive teach­ing and learn­ing. The teach­ers will be evenly dis­trib­uted with load and more con­tact hours for teach­ers with these stu­dents also gives a fair as­sess­ment on all the teach­ers.

Fur­ther, it will save a lot of time for par­ents be­cause chil­dren will be able to reach their school and home on time. The chil­dren will have more pro­duc­tive hours of learn­ing at home be­cause they will not be tired af­ter trav­el­ling.

Ad­di­tion­ally, there won’t be trav­el­ling has­sles dur­ing rainy or bad weather con­di­tions.

Also, the in­crease in the roll of the ru­ral schools will have a di­rect boost from the Gov­ern­ment’s Free Ed­u­ca­tion Grant money which can be utilised to im­prove the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture. Hence, Gov­ern­ment’s dream to achieve a level play­ing field for all schools as far as teach­ing and learn­ing are con­cerned are bet­ter utilised. Mr Prasad has failed to un­der­stand about the ru­ral-ur­ban drift and how this zon­ing pol­icy is holis­ti­cally ad­dress­ing such so­cial eco­nomic is­sues. It seems to me that Mr Prasad’s ideas are get­ting out dated.

Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion, Her­itage and Arts Ma­hen­dra Reddy.

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