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A-G Labels FTU Claims As Baseless

A-G Labels FTU Claims As Baseless
August 15
10:07 2018

Attorney-General and Minister for Education Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has labelled as baseless, claims by the Fiji Teachers Union about the Ministry of Education’s reforms and restructure.

He said these outright lies proved that FTU’s out-of-touch leadership was motivated by political self-interest, not by the genuine interest of its members.

“It’s unfortunate to hear statements that are clearly meant to spread fear and confusion among the very teachers they are intended to represent. The truth is this: both the reform and restructure were implemented to help Fiji’s teachers, not Fiji’s unions,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“The new system is fair, it is merit-based and it is transparent. It was created through consultations with unions, staff, teachers, and parents.

“There were no demotions and every teacher received a salary increase. It will create better service delivery to Fiji’s schools and students and teachers will now benefit from responsive and effective human resources support.

“Teachers who break rules or abuse students will be disciplined, while those who succeed in the classroom will be rewarded –– already resulting in more high-performing women and young people being appointed to senior positions.

“And, for the first time ever, scholarships have been made available for teachers wishing to upgrade their qualifications by pursuing bachelor’s and post-graduate degrees in high-need areas.

“Because of these many improvements, teachers throughout Fiji will be empowered to focus wholly on teaching Fijian students. That’s the bottom line.”

The A-G and Minister for Education said the FTU would have heard this in-person if they had invited him to speak at their annual conference –– “an invitation that I would have gladly accepted –– but they did not. It’s no surprise that they choose to continue to mislead their members, but they cannot hide from the facts”.

As education in Fiji enters into a new era of transparency and accountability, it seems that FTU fears becoming obsolete and is becoming increasingly desperate to remain relevant.

It would be wiser for union leaders to think of ways to innovate and change their organisation to prevent them from becoming obsolete, rather than stubbornly resisting changes at the detriment of their members.

Fiji’s teachers can be assured that the ministry is now fighting for their best interest and through them, the interests of every Fijian student.

“We have a lot still to achieve and we look forward to the support of all staff who believe in the best interests of their students. We challenge FTU’s leaders to put their thinly-veiled political campaigning aside and follow suit –– Fijian teachers, students, and parents deserve it,” he said.

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