28 Jul 2004

Dispute in Fiji over Fijian principal at Hindu school

6:16 am on 28 July 2004

The Fijian Teachers Association has described as racist the decision of a secondary school managed by a Hindu religious organisation not to accept an indigenous Fijian as its principal.

The ministry of education had appointed Semesa Takirua as principal of the Kavanagasau Secondary School near Sigatoka, but recalled him after objections from the school which has a constitution saying its principal must be a Hindu.

The Fijian Teachers Association general secretary, Maika Namudu, says the ministry of education must step in as the school is in breach of the country's 1997 Constitution.

Mr Namudu says there is no reason why an Indian-run school should have only an Indian principal when the majority of its students are indigenous Fijians.

But the school manager, Agya Ram Sharma, has told Radio Fiji their constitution requires a Hindu to be principal because the board wants to retain the school's cultural identity.

Mr Sharma says there is nothing racial in this as the school has indigenous Fijian teachers.