Government Initiative Aims to Transform Education System


Here are the three main stories featured on Page 1 of The Fiji Times for Thursday, July 11:

A board of inquiry into the grounding of RFNS Puamau has concluded that negligence and non-compliance are responsible for the incident.

Fiji exported $713 million in merchandise in the first four months of this year, but it imported $2.1 billion worth of merchandise in the same period. This trend, highlighted by Westpac Fiji senior economist Shamal Chand in the bank’s quarterly economic update, has widened the country’s trade deficit to $1.4 billion for those four months. More on Page 13.

Dialogue Fiji executive director Nilesh Lal has raised concerns about the functioning of the Opposition caucus following the declaration of support for Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka by nine former FijiFirst MPs. Lal emphasized that a strong and united opposition is crucial for democracy, ensuring robust debate, accountability, and transparency within the parliamentary system. He cautioned that statements from political commentators could confuse and misinform the public about the parliamentary processes in a Westminster system. Main story on Page 5.


In January 2020, we reported on the alarming issue of high school students who were either non-readers or slow readers. A high school principal described this as a tragedy for Fiji, revealing it during a heads of schools meeting at Vunimono Hall in Nausori. The principal expressed emotional distress over the challenge of helping students with literacy issues, which he noted was not unique to his school but a national problem requiring immediate attention from the Ministry of Education. The principal suggested that the issue could be linked to the type of students, textbooks, or the curriculum.

At the time, the national pass rate also reflected the severity of this problem. Pravin Nath, the Ministry of Education’s Central Division education officer, acknowledged the issue and mentioned efforts to address it.

Fast forward to the present, the Government has increased the allocation for Early Childhood Education by $2.5 million, bringing it to $22.3 million in the 2024-2025 financial year. This increased funding is welcomed, and it is essential that these funds are used effectively to improve education standards to meet modern demands. The focus should be on preparing children for adulthood and the workforce.

Education Minister Aseri Radrodro, responding to the 2024-2025 Budget in Parliament, underscored the importance of early childhood care, noting that a strong education system starts with Early Childhood Education. Significant resources are thus allocated to enhance early learning programs, ensuring that young children receive the best start in life.

An improvement in education standards should enable students to achieve basic literacy and numeracy skills. Despite continuous investment in education, basic skills are still lacking among students, as highlighted by Lau Provincial Council chairperson Ratu Meli Saubulinayau. He pointed out that students are promoted to higher grades without mastering essential skills in maths, reading, and writing, which complicates their ability to tackle more complex subjects later on.

There is a pressing need to assess whether the education system is effectively addressing the root causes of these problems. While the increased budget for Early Childhood Education is a positive step, it is crucial to also consider the broader challenges facing the education sector to ensure meaningful improvements.

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