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Affordable, Access, Says Ro Teimumu

Affordable, Access, Says Ro Teimumu
Leader of the Opposition Ro Teimumu Kepa
December 04
10:45 2014

Leader of the Opposition Ro Teimumu Kepa struck a positive note about 2015 National budgetary allocations for education. Describing it as “a substantial investment on the nation’s human capital,”  she said, nevetheless, there still needed to be adequate checks and balances. “However, the setting up of an independent education commission is critical if there is a need to review the whole education system. Although this was announced by the Minister of Education in his maiden speech, there is no provision in the proposed 2015 budget.”

She also raised the issue of the 600 National Toppers Scholarships, a contentious issue with the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA).

“What formula was used to arrive at only 600 National Toppers Scholarships as this is only a small percentage  of the total number of secondary school students that will graduate in a year. What happens to the thousands of children who do not qualify for these scholarships? Not everyone can afford TELS (Tertiary Education Loan Scheme) and anyone who does take out a TELS loan will become indebted before they start their first job,” she said.

One of the issues she also picked up on was the Government’s allocation for maritime-based schools.

“For example, in Ono-i-Lau Secondary School, the roll on the island is very low, children have to be transported from Vatoa, Fulaga and Ogea.

“Boarding facilities will be needed, but there is a reduction in the boarding budget. How will this facility be provided? The risk of this type of undertaking is that the Ministry of Education will not be able to deliver quality education and in no time the project becomes another white elephant.

“A better option is to use the $1.3 million to establish a proper shipping facility that will enable the children to be transported to Suva.”

Ro Teimumu is a former Minister for Education with the SDL Government and a former principal of Corpus Christi Teachers College.

 

Quotes from Ro Teimumu Kepa’s speech
DIGITAL: “We need to have an education system that is responsive to the work environment that we are preparing our young people for. We live in a digital world now and we need to adopt to the changing needs of our workplace and ensure that we tailor our education system to adequately meet the ever changing market demands.”
NASINU: “On one hand tuition-free education is being championed and contrary to that, plans are being made to close Laucala Bay Secondary School and relocate students to Nasinu Secondary School which will also in the near future close down to make room for FNU development. The Nasinu Secondary School since its inception has catered mainly for the maritime communities.”
NAILILILI : ..”Naililili Primary school students pay approximately $99.60 for uniforms, $18 for pens, rulers and pencils and other items as well as $22.24 for books (with the proposed increase of duty) this means that $139.84 per child. But if we have to pay the $1 extra cost on the books if the duty is calculated low, then the price increases further to $145.05 per child.”
FREE MILK: “While I welcome the free milk programme I am not convinced that Government has thought through the logistics of the exercise itself. What if schools do not have proper storage or refrigeration? Has the Government made sufficient provisions for this to be acquired to ensure no school is disadvantaged..”
EX-PM: : “Mr Qarase has been denied the legal Prime Minister’s pension and entitlements due to him. He has applied many times for this..On December 16th, 2013, Mr Qarase received a letter from the Prime Minister’s Office informing him of the Prime Minister’s approval to pay his pension..they are still withholding his entitlements.”

Feedback:  josuat@fijisun.com.fj

 

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