15 Sep 2003

Students in Fiji in temporary shelters nine months after cyclone Ami

4:01 pm on 15 September 2003

Students in the north of Fiji are continuing to take classes in temporary shelters, nine months after cyclone Ami destroyed many school buildings.

The secretary general of the Fiji Teachers Union, Agni Deo Singh, says this is unsatisfactory because it's often too hot for the students or rain blows in under the tarpaulins.

Mr Singh says the Ministry of Education contracted the military to undertake the rebuilding or offered to reimburse schools if the management went ahead with repairs.

He says both approaches have run into problems.

"The ministry is not making good it's promise to refund cost, and this is a very serious matter for the schools, as far as the military is concerned some buildings are under construction by the military and there is some bureacratic delay in signing off contracts and things, and that is why most of the buildings are yet to be attended to"

Mr Singh says he visited 26 schools in the north and at least half have not begun the rebuilding of their classrooms.

He says he's now been assured by the minister that most of the contracts have been signed and the military should complete the work soon.