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EDITORIAL: Should Teachers Go Back to Class A Week Early Before School Starts or Should They Go One Day Before?

EDITORIAL: Should Teachers Go Back to Class A Week Early Before School Starts or Should They Go One Day Before?
December 30
14:01 2017

Teachers play a vital role in nation building. Not only do they teach, but they nurture, direct and inspire our next generation of leaders.

For many people, teachers have a big impact on their lives.

On Wednesday January 10, 2018 teachers are expected back at their respective schools – one week earlier than usual.

The move by the Ministry of Education is to ensure that by the time students arrive at school the following week, they aren’t left unattended.

In the past, teachers were often occupied sorting out timetables, teaching plans and other administration issues. It makes sense that teachers need that time to organise themselves in participation for the new term.

But the Fijian Teachers Association (FTA) which represents at least 4000 teachers around the country is calling the move ‘unfair’ for teachers because their holiday will be cut short. Because of the work teachers do during the year, FTA believes teachers deserve to enjoy their seven-week holiday. The FTA says that teachers are professionals and most of them prepare themselves well before the school term starts. The FTA believes that one day is sufficient for teachers to organise themselves before students start the following day.

However there are several factors that should be considered.

For instance, in the past the posting of teachers to new schools often takes place during the first week of the school term.

It would be ideal that teachers are made known of their new posting at the end of the school year and a timeline given at least two weeks before school starts for teachers to move. This should cater for those teachers posted to outer islands where transport is often an issue.

Parents often use the first week of the school term to look for schools for their children. Some discourage their children from going to school.

This stems from their own experience when classes properly start on the second week of the term.

Ideally students should be enrolled at their new school by the end of the school year or two weeks before the new school year starts.

While teachers, unions and the ministry concerned may have different views about this move for teachers to start early, the focus should ultimately be about the students.

This is for our future – a brighter, smarter Fiji.



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