Letters To The Editor, April 20, 2015

Boarding issue Anasa Vocea QVSOB, President The recent statements by the Prime Minister and his education minister on the proposed reforms to be undertaken to the three major iTaukei boarding
20 Apr 2015 10:20
Letters To The Editor, April 20, 2015

Boarding issue

Anasa Vocea

QVSOB, President

The recent statements by the Prime Minister and his education minister on the proposed reforms to be undertaken to the three major iTaukei boarding schools – ACS, RKS and QVS – deserves clarification.

As president of the Queen Victoria School Old Boys Association, QVS has always catered for students wishing to enrol in the school based on merit alone. The school has not wavered from this policy.

Responding to the recent utterances by Mr Bainimarama and Mahendra Reddy, QVS students, like their brothers and sisters in Ratu Kadavulevu School and Adi Cakobau School, gained entry into QVS based solely on merit – a system that is strongly supported by this Government with the toppers system, where the high performers are appropriately recognised.

Some of the country’s top civil servants and executives came to QVS from the rural areas – like Joeli Cawaki current Government MP, current top army officer Colonel Alipate Vosaicake who came to QVS from Vanuabalavu, FNPF chief executive officer Aisake Taito came all the way from Yadrana in Lakeba, current FIJI Water chief executive Rokoseru Nabalarua came from Kadavu to QVS. A number of prominent regional leaders from Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands also graduated from these iTaukei boarding schools.

While the Vulinitu was primarily established through the collaboration of the colonial administration in consultation with the BLV to groom chiefs for national and traditional leadership roles our educators eventually opened up the school to all Fijians.

To better understand the role and the background of Vulinitu one must go back in time to when the colonial administration set up the school and other key institutions and structures intended to propel the indigenous Fijians into the 21st Century.

Until the chiefs of Fiji ceded the Fiji Islands to the British Empire in 1874, we were mostly a cannibalistic society.

Only 40 years earlier Fiji’s evolution started in earnest with Fiji’s warring traditional leaders welcomed Christianity onto our shores. One of the basic pillars thus of the Vulinitu is its strong Christian base.

With its new and growing immigrant population from all parts of the globe Fiji is now really a truly melting pot. The new immigrants brought with them their own cultures and much older experiences of civilisation. The Indo-Fijian and Chinese communities, who have experienced 2000 years of civilisation, are blending in well into our own iTaukei cultures. The iTaukei experience in this new civilisation phenomenon is only into its infancy – 141 years to be exact. We have not done too badly. As a young nation we have through our people and through such iTaukei learning institutions such as Vulinitu we are in our own way making waves on the international stage of commerce and trade. This Colonial Government focused effort to protect the iTaukei from the negative influences of foreign cultures prompted them to establish institutions like Vulinitu that leads to a better appreciation of modern civilisation in a controlled setting.

This new order faced its biggest test with the arrival of the indentured labourers from India brought under the Colonial administrators to work on our young sugar industry. With the entry of Indo-Fijian business entrepreneurs the Fiji economic landscape changed forever. It became obvious that the iTaukei would need a major putsch if they are ever to be able to compete. And providing them with a structured education system was the identified way forward.

Coming out of the devastation of the measles epidemic that wiped out a frighteningly huge number of the iTaukei population the newly introduced education system at first struggled to compete with the existing structures. When the chiefs were called to mobilise their people for commercialisation the lack of schooled iTaukei stood out like a sore thumb. So much so the administrators struggled to even find qualified people to run their own village operations. The Colonial administration then introduced customary law intended to address these ensuing concerns including legislation that confines indigenous Fijians to their villages and leaving the indentured labourers to work in the cane fields and infancy of commercialisation.

Following on from this the Colonial administration established the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC).

The GCC was influential in the consequential establishment of the iTaukei learning institutions that is the subject of the current debate. These iTaukei schools, including the Vulinitu, are the feeder institutions that provide the required manpower giving life to the visions and the dreams of our forefathers.

To provide the full student quota required to fill the classrooms in QVS the Government then decided to open their doors to all Fijians in the rural areas who of course make the cut.

There is to be no exception to this entry requirement for Vulinitu. Students who make the cut get in and the students who continue to perform creditably and survive the competitive school curriculum, stay.

Vulinitu agrees with the statement by the Acting PS for Education who had said that there was no elite student policy for the Ministry or for that matter QVS. We work very closely with our school principal as well as with the Ministry in ensuring that our school rolls remain manageable. The QVSOB recognises the formation of other religious schools. They too serve their purpose in society.

QVS, like any school worthy of their calling, strives for excellence in all spheres of their operation. Academic excellence being at the very top of the pole. Followed closely by our focused spiritual teachings and iTaukei cultural teaching.

Vulinitu owes a lot to our visionary forefathers, to the chief of yesteryears to the GCC and to the British. They had laid the foundation for the future of the iTaukei. The challenge that lies before all of us is to ensure that their sweat is not allowed to be squandered.


Start new

Savenaca Vakaliwaliwa


It was a blessing to hear Latileta Sugumai, who was invited to speak at my Nadali SDA Church in Nausori during the Health Impact Sabbath last week.

She explained the Creator’s eight laws of health in the abbreviation “start new” before spending the afternoon explaining how to apply simple natural remedies for colds and flu, stomach bloating, boils, diabetes, liver and kidney detox, general system detox, ringworm and skin diseases, stroke, asthma and flushing nicotine, alcohol out of the system, even the treatment of a mental case because of marijuana abuse.

Mrs Sugumai was diagnosed with breast cancer, but instead of having her breasts removed, she put her trust in God and went through a natural remedy programme using green juice, vegetable juice and fruit juice before going on a raw and boiled vegetable diet.

God healed her through the use of natural products and today she is using her experience and knowledge to help treat common health problems without the use of prescribed medicine.

With all due respect to the health minister and the health profession; I believe that people like Mrs Sugumai and other health missionaries in the SDA Church should be recognised and used by the Ministry of Health in our national fight against communicable and non-communicable diseases.

We do not have to wait until we get sick to “start new,” we should start now for a better and vibrant lease in life.


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