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EDITORIAL:Let’s Support Our Teachers For The Betterment Of Our Children

EDITORIAL:Let’s Support Our Teachers For The Betterment Of Our Children
January 05
12:55 2018

Of the 1235 teaching positions that are vacant, a number of possible candidates were among the more than 1000 teachers who sat a proficiency test conducted by the Ministry of Education this week.

The test, a first of its kind, was conducted at various venues around the country. It is the new selection process designed by the ministry with the objective to get the best teachers into classrooms.

The tests had two parts – the first was a literacy examination that lasted 40 minutes and the second part was on job descriptions.

The exam was introduced to look into the teachers’ competency and capability before he or she starts the new academic year with our school children who are the priority and should remain the focus as this nation forges ahead with.

While it is something that can motivate existing teachers and new graduates to do well it will, especially for new teachers,  determine if  they have the potential and also prepare them to go out and put what they have learn into practice in the classrooms.

It is obviously good to test the teachers because the exercise is geared towards the betterment of the children and it will help teachers strive to be more accurate.

Now waiting with abated breath are those who sat the test, if successful, they should be ready to start in their role on January 10.  Offers for employment which will start from January 8 will be made based on the order of merit established through this selection process.

Ministry of Education deputy permanent secretary Timoci Bure made it very clear. “We want the best teachers to be posted to schools to deliver quality teachings to our students. The way forward for the ministry is to provide quality teaching for the children who will be future leaders of the country

Only those who pass the test will be considered for appointment.

The Ministry of Education says there are 453 posts for primary schools and 782 for secondary schools that were vacant at the moment

According to the ministry this test was introduced because some teachers did not have the right qualification or a good command of English.

However, a quick revisit to the Peoples Charter, in particular Pillar Nine will enlighten us on the aims and objective of Government and its Education Ministry.

Pillar 9: Making Fiji a Knowledge-based Society:

Ensuring access to quality education for all, which includes increasing access to tertiary and higher education;

Strengthening early childhood education, especially in the rural areas and the outer islands.

Going back to the proficiency test and the arguments that have surfaced about its pros and cons we can now understand those comments made by the Attorney-General and Minister for Education Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum who said English speaking in the country has deteriorated.

The level of English and the way in which people talk in English has deteriorated quite significantly from what it was 20, 30 or 40 years ago.

Government promised to address this issue in 2018. It goes without saying that a good command of the English language will go a long way in helping teachers and students in other subjects as well.

After the test there are strategies in place to conduct some extra classes for teachers and also students to help ensure that the quality of English actually improves in Fiji.

Like these teachers vying to kick start their career parents also play a vital role in their child’s education.

They can start by providing the right environment for them to work and study for it is through their encouragement and motivation that our children will be able to do better.

Government is helping with their school fees, bus fares and in other areas, the latest being this skill and literacy test for teachers so that our children can enhance their education.

Based on the new system of a merit-based workforce, it would only be fair to have everyone who aspires to hold posts of responsibility to sit for the test.

As the pundits like to say: Teaching is indeed a noble profession.

Let’s support our teachers and wish them all the best for 2018.

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