21 Jan 2019

Catholic Church may close Fiji schools - Archbishop

9:49 pm on 21 January 2019

The Catholic Church in Fiji says it will consider closing its schools if it cannot resolve an impasse over the appointment of non-Catholics to head its schools.

But the head of the church says any form of civil disobedience will be the final option.

Peter Loy Chong.

Peter Loy Chong. Photo: Pacific Theological College

Archbishop Doctor Peter Loy Chong said a shutdown is one of four options the church is exploring after failing to find common ground with the government.

He said he's been told by the government the appointments have nothing to do with religious freedom.

Fiji's education ministry earlier appointed two non-Catholic principals at Xavier College in Ba and Saint Thomas High in Lautoka.

Education Minister Rosy Akbar said the appointments were in line with the ministry's Open Merit Recruitment System and organisations not wanting to work with the ministry can choose to privatise their schools.

The president of Fiji's largest church, the Methodist Church, Reverend Epineri Vakadewavosa has called for more dialogue.

He said the government needs to engage in honest and sincere discussions.