24 Feb 2004

Fiji Teacher's Union says schools are suffering because of ethnic based selection of teachers

4:09 pm on 24 February 2004

The Fiji Teacher's Union says the country's schools are suffering because of government policies to reserve training places for indigenous Fijians.

The union's secretary, Agni Deo Singh, says by not selecting trainees on ability alone, the government is failing to produce the best teachers possible.

He says in the end, this a disservice to Fijians wanting the best education for their children:

"See the irony of the whole thing is this, we are concerned about indigenous education and we are sending, if I may say, substandard teachers to these indigenous schools and increasingly in the urban areas you will find that indigenous parents are now sending more and more of their children to non indigenous schools because they do not have that kind of faith in the indigenous schools."

The Secretary of the Fiji Teacher's Union, Agni Deo Singh.

The principal of the Lautoka Training College, Ambika Prasad, says the Affirmative Action Programme might see indigenous Fijians enter the school with lower marks than other applicants.

But he says once the course starts, all students operate on a level playing field.