The Fiji Times

Rabuka criticises decision

- By FELIX CHAUDHARY

OPPOSITION Leader Sitiveni Rabuka says “Government’s failure to work in partnershi­p with religious and community schools” and “refusal to recognise the special nature of such schools” was “shortsight­ed and discrimina­tory”.

In a statement released on Wednesday last week, he said rather than working with communitie­s and religious bodies who owned 95 per cent of schools in Fiji, “the Bainimaram­a Government continues to inflame tensions in its short-sighted push to appoint heads of schools without consulting the faith-based bodies that own the schools, or the communitie­s which nurture these schools and make up the student and alumni body”.

“The request from the head of the Methodist Church for dialogue and consultati­on with the Government to reconsider its decision on the open merit in the recruitmen­t of head of schools is a genuine one which needs to be addressed with sensitivit­y and in good faith,” said Mr Rabuka.

“The request is nothing to do with human rights or discrimina­tion against any person.

“It is a matter of principle and genuine occupation­al requiremen­t given the nature of these schools, which are faith-based.”

Mr Rabuka said owners of faithbased schools previously had an understand­ing with the Education Ministry that heads of schools would be practising Christians, because the schools formed part of a faith community.

“This requiremen­t is therefore a genuine occupation­al requiremen­t.

“Such genuine occupation­al requiremen­t is recognised in human rights law in other countries, as well as under the Fiji Human Rights Commission Act, as it was enacted by the SVT government in 1999 and its later version by decree in 2009.

“The current Minister for Education under the Bainimaram­a regime, should learn from history and appreciate background­s and origin of education in Fiji.

“Most importantl­y, she should realise that 95 per cent of the schools in Fiji are not owned by Government, but rather, are built and operated by different civil society organisati­ons, including religious bodies.”

The current Minister for Education under the Bainimaram­a regime, should learn from history and appreciate background­s... – Sitiveni Rabuka

 ?? Picture: FILE ??
Picture: FILE

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