1 Feb 2011

Fiji teacher union head oppose to government imposition of flat annual primary school fee

7:12 pm on 1 February 2011

The President of the Fijian Teachers Union, Tevita Koroi, is rejecting directives to impose a flat annual primary school fee.

The interim education minister, Filipe Bole, said he's decided to reinforce the message about fees after complaints from parents who said school management were preventing children from attending if they had not paid fees.

But Mr Koroi says education in Fiji has always been a private/public partnership, with 95 per cent of schools set up and run by religous or community organisations.

He is opposed to the idea of government telling schools what they can charge:

"We do not expected government to be dicatating, dictating the cost and dictating the fees and charges to these bodies, particulalry when they have their own communities that normally fund education and the facilties and the maintenance of some of these premises. So it should be a consultative approach towards the cost of education rather than just issuing directives to schools."

Mr Koroi says the funding of education needs to be assessed as trends develop.

The General Secretary of the larger, Teacher's Union, Agni Deo Singh, says he hopes schools will be able to apply to charge higher fees where needed to cover the costs of providing an education.