Editorial

Nemani Delaibatiki: No Grog, No Lavish Meals During School Hours Good Policy

Schools do not have the luxury to splash their meager resources on entertaining guests when they can be used to upgrade facilities and teaching tools.
17 Jan 2020 11:50
Nemani Delaibatiki: No Grog, No Lavish Meals During School Hours Good Policy
Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Rosy Akbar.

Some old practices like grog (yaqona or kava) drinking during school hours must go.

Entertaining guests including visiting education officers with grog and a lavish meal is a hangover from the colonial days.

It continued after the country gained Independence in 1970 until today.

Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Rosy Akbar’s decision to ban the practice is right.

Where does the cost of any form of entertainment to please visiting dignitaries come from?

If it comes from the school grant it is morally wrong.

Schools do not have the luxury to splash their meager resources on entertaining guests when they can be used to upgrade facilities and teaching tools.

It is also morally wrong to hold the entertainment during school hours when both teachers and students should be focusing on learning programmes and outcomes.

Any social function should be held outside of school hours or during the weekend to avoid any disruption to classes.

If there is too much emphasis on these functions we could lose sight of the real purpose of these schools.

Their purpose is to provide the sort of education that will prepare the students for future development and careers.

That means using every bit of their resources to achieve that purpose.

It is even more important now with the Budget cutback.

We have to be frugal with the way we spend Government funds during the current climate created by the global economic slowdown.

When education officers visit schools they do not need to be entertained. They are there to do a job they are paid for.

Entertainment, anyway, tends to take the focus away from the task at hand.

The preparation of a special meal for the dignitaries while others have sandwiches is discriminatory anyway.

It is reminiscent of the colonial days when the British colonialists were held in high esteem and treated like royalties.

It is understood after Independence such practice was used to curry favour in the quest for promotion or transfer.

Today, there is no place for that, anyway, because appointments and promotions are conducted on merit.

Ms Akbar notes that when there is an official function, some school heads give parents take away packs with some cakes and sandwiches and the chief guest goes to a home economics room and is given a big feast.

She does not want grant money used for that. Ms Akbar is spot on.

Grants must be used for the purpose they are given – for the students – not for entertaining visiting education officers or guests.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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