HAVE A JOLLY CHIL­DREN’S DAY: ED­U­CA­TION MIN­IS­TER

THE THEME FOR THE 2016 UNIVER­SAL CHIL­DREN’S DAY IS STOP VI­O­LENCE AGAINST CHIL­DREN The Univer­sal Chil­dren’s Day is ded­i­cated to pro­mot­ing the well-be­ing, wel­fare and pro­tec­tion of the rights of the chil­dren, an ob­jec­tive which has also been nur­tured in the

Fiji Sun - - Big Story - Source: Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, Her­itage and Arts Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

The Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion, Her­itage and Arts, Ma­hen­dra Reddy, wishes all chil­dren a very happy Chil­dren’s Day.

“Our chil­dren are our great­est trea­sure and their be­ing lights up our world. “Their lovely, bub­bly and in­no­cent ex­pe­ri­ences sparkles our beloved na­tion and the world and I wish all chil­dren in schools, at homes, in spe­cial schools/homes, in hospi­tals and wher­ever they may be, a jolly Chil­dren’s Day and pray for the Almighty’s choic­est bless­ings upon you,” Mr Reddy said. Un­der the United Na­tions res­o­lu­tion of De­cem­ber 14, 1954, the Gen­eral Assem­bly rec­om­mended that all coun­tries in­sti­tute a Univer­sal Chil­dren’s Day. This year the Chil­dren’s Day will be ob­served to­day. The date Novem­ber 20 marks the day on which the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly adopted the Dec­la­ra­tion of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child, in 1989. The Con­ven­tion, which is the most broadly en­dorsed in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights treaty, sets ne­ces­si­ties on chil­dren’s rights in­clud­ing the right to ed­u­ca­tion, to health, to per­sonal life and to play, as well as the right to fam­ily life, to be pro­tected from vi­o­lence and fear, not to be dis­crim­i­nated, abused and ill-treated, and to have their views heard and free­dom up­held. At the time of en­dorse­ment, this day served two vi­tal in­ter­ests: to in­spire all chil­dren across the world of all races and re­li­gions to spend time to­gether and ap­pre­ci­ate and un­der­stand each other; and urge gov­ern­ments glob­ally to in­vest and se­cure the wel­fare of chil­dren. This im­por­tant com­po­nent still forms the foun­da­tion of this im­por­tant day to­day. The Univer­sal Chil­dren’s Day is ded­i­cated to pro­mot­ing the well-be­ing, wel­fare and pro­tec­tion of the rights of the chil­dren, an ob­jec­tive which has also been nur­tured in the Fi­jian Ed­u­ca­tion Sys­tem. “The theme for the 2016 Univer­sal Chil­dren’s Day: Stop Vi­o­lence against Chil­dren, calls upon all to put an end to all forms of suf­fer­ing, abuse, ill­treat­ment and tor­ture of chil­dren. “The 2016 theme is a di­rect so­lu­tion to vi­o­lence and which is to en­sure there is a full stop. “We do not need to min­imise or de­crease el­e­ments, but up­root all causes of child suf­fer­ing and en­sure our chil­dren live in vi­o­lence free and safe en­vi­ron­ments. “The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, Her­itage and Arts has in­cul­cated zero tol­er­ance to any forms of vi­o­lence on chil­dren.

“This has seen us vig­i­lantly in­cor­po­rat­ing the ‘no cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment reg­u­la­tion’, im­ple­ment­ing and mon­i­tor­ing the child pro­tec­tion, child be­havioural pol­icy, and in­still­ing 100 per cent parental in­volve­ment and stake­holder col­lab­o­ra­tion to nur­ture the best in­ter­ests of the chil­dren. “We have also in­jected aware­ness cam­paigns, col­lab­o­rated with stake­hold­ers such as, the Po­lice Force, Min­istry of Women, Chil­dren and Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion, Min­istry of Health, re­li­gious lead­ers, com­mu­nity lead­ers and other or­gan­i­sa­tions to bring about ef­fec­tive ways to help the child.” The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, Her­itage and Arts has also en­sured that our cur­ricu­lum also plays a vi­tal role in cre­at­ing aware­ness and en­rich­ing stu­dents on their rights, is­sues they can face and ways and means they can be safe.

Sub­jects such as, fam­ily life ed­u­ca­tion, sci­ence and so­cial sci­ence cover these as­pects in de­tail and em­pow­ers chil­dren to be aware and take the right ac­tion where needed. “We have bol­stered rights ed­u­ca­tion in pri­mary schools so that chil­dren un­der­stand their civil, per­sonal and con­sti­tu­tional rights from an early age. “This will au­to­mat­i­cally shut down any doors for abuse and vi­o­lence as the child will know that it is wrong and speak out against it,” Mr Reddy said. He said a vi­tal method in­cluded in the school is “peer help”, where stu­dents were asked to cre­ate strong ties with their friends, par­tic­u­larly with those that seem to be in some prob­lems.

This will then as­sist teach­ers to get in­for­ma­tion quicker which in turn will al­low for quick in­ter­ven­tion or ac­tion be­fore any un­for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tions oc­cur.

“Now we have a full-fledged anti-sui­cide pro­gramme run in our schools to make chil­dren re­alise that their life is too pre­cious,” said Mr Reddy.

“Life is too pre­cious to be sub­jected to abuse and vi­o­lence. No child de­serves to be abused. Let us all unite to en­sure that Fiji’s to­mor­row’s fu­ture is free, safe and se­cure. “Let us en­sure that no child will go through pain and suf­fer­ing or have dark days in their lives be­cause of some who do not value them.

“We all need to stand be­side all chil­dren and stop any form of vi­o­lence.” Govern­ment en­vi­sions a mod­ern Fiji with growth, de­vel­op­ment, eco­nomic pros­per­ity and peace. These plans are no doubt en­twined mainly around our chil­dren as they are the fu­ture of our na­tion. Govern­ment has shoul­dered on the re­spon­si­bil­ity in col­lab­o­ra­tion with other stake­hold­ers to keep our chil­dren safe, se­cure and en­sure their rights are al­ways up­held. “This un­der­tak­ing is also the core prin­ci­ple on which our ed­u­ca­tional goals and aspi­ra­tions are set. No child un­der any cir­cum­stances de­serves to be ill-treated and the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, Her­itage and Arts will en­sure that chil­dren re­main the pri­or­ity in all aspi­ra­tions,” Mr Reddy said.

The date Novem­ber 20 marks the day which the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly adopted the Dec­la­ra­tion of the Rights of the Child, in 1959.

Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion, Her­itage and Arts Ma­hen­dra Reddy.

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