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A-G Replies To Students’ Concerns

A-G Replies To Students’ Concerns
Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the 2018-2019 National Budget Roadshow for Tertiary Institution at Fiji National University Nasinu campus on August 7, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
August 08
10:04 2018

Students have raised concerns to the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during a post 2018-2019 Budget roadshow at the Fiji National University campus in Nasinu yesterday.

The complaints raised were:

  • The need for more street lights on campuses
  • Transportation of students at Ba Campus
  • Zebra Crossing
  • More Accommodation facilities
  • Improvement in Library facilities
  • Qualified teachers etc.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum acknowledged the concerns and complaints and as the Minister also responsible for Education, he had raised the issue to the Vice Chancellor.

However, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said, it was also important to have the right people appointed to the university council.

He announced the changes in the composition of the Fiji National University council Act.

Previously the university’s council members were made up of represetatives from  different organisations such as trade union congress and the law society.

“So the organisations would give in their nominees, and the Minister will have no choice but to appoint these people, some of them did not necessarily have the right qualification,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“Now the Minister has to appoint people who have adequate qualification, skills, expertise and knowledge to contribute to the disciplines offered by the university, the general administration and financial management of the tertiary institution.”

He added that students would also elect student representatives to the council, including one from the undergraduate and one from post-graduate studies.

The elections will be done soon.

“So please go and vote for the student who you want to represent you on the council and you need to choose the right people.

You need to choose the right people to represent you.”

He added that the  council will be made up of other academics and other qualified people to ensure that the University  is spending the large amount of money well, getting the right teaching environment and getting the right qualified people to teach at the university.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also highlighted that for someone to be appointed to a board or a council, their “fiduciary duty is to that organisation, not to anybody else”.

He gave an example of the FNU Students Association national president Ketan Lal.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said he was disappointed with Mr Lal being the Students Association national president and also flying the flag of a political party.

“I’ve said this before to various student organisations, when you represent a student organisation, you should completely be independent,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“In that way, I’ve also said that we are willing to fund student organisations if they are truly student organisations based, not flying the flag of some political party, that’s the job of a politician.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said added that Ketan Lal was politically aligned because he shared his social media posts from a political perspective and the perceptions do matter.

“You need to be careful about that, because your fiduciary duty is to your student association, not to a political party leader or some faith-based organisation.”

Edited by Percy Kean.

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