8 Jun 2010

Questions over funding for new Fiji schooling initiatives

9:32 pm on 8 June 2010

As Fiji's interim government continues with its plans to help parents get their children to school, there are questions over allocation of funding.

The Fiji Teacher's Union has concerns the money to pay for some of the new initiatives is being found at the expense of teachers and, to some extent, schools.

Its General Secretary, Agni Deo Singh, says the targetting of help for pupils is appreciated, but the money is often being found from funds that previously went to teachers:

"Bascially it is shuffling around with the budget, like the allowances of the teachers have been taken away, the total teacher populations would have been reduced 300/350, so that's a surplus, the heads are teaching, they've rationalised the classes, the class sizes are bigger."

Agni Deo Singh says urban class sizes can get as high as 55 pupils.

The interim Education Minister, Filipe Bole, says some money has been saved through the early retirement policy and some funds are being focused on rural and remote schools.