Positive Movements For Better Education For All

The following is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s ‘My Say’ on FBC’s For The Record which aired last night.  As we are about to start the new school year.
16 Jan 2017 11:09
Positive Movements For Better Education For All

The following is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s ‘My Say’ on FBC’s For The Record which aired last night.

 As we are about to start the new school year. I would like to talk about education this week.

Towards the end of last year and straight after the New Year celebrations it was encouraging to see parents and children shopping for stationery for the New School Year.

This is a positive sign. It shows we are keen and getting excited about another school year.

I am not talking about just primary and secondary schools. I am also talking about tertiary education and vocational training.

I feel an air of excitement as we switch from festive season mood to education mode.

The reforms that are taking place in the education sector and the competition by our tertiary institutions to promote their courses and programmes all add to this excitement. Education now is not confirmed to just the young.

Even oldies are going back to some form of education and training.

We are definitely on the education revolution boat and we are moving towards that Government goal of a smart and educated Fiji.

This is essential if we are to maintain our economic growth.

One of the key performance indicators of the economy is the creation of jobs.

Read Saturday’s Fiji Sun and see the huge number of job vacancies advertised both in the public and private sectors.

The other part of the equation is having suitably qualified, skilled and experienced people to fill these positions. Skilled blue collar and white collar workers are in demand, by the looks of things.

This is where our learning and training institutions are so crucial because they prepare our people to fill these vacancies.

On Friday an important Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Suva between the Fiji National University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Healey and Douglas Pharmaceuticals Fiji general manager Firoz Ghazali.

The MoU sets up the foundation for the delivery of a certificate in Manufacturing Engineering.

The formal qualification paves the way to increase both the number and level of highly trained manufacturing operators employed at the company’s facilities in Nadi.

The graduates will achieve a New Zealand Qualifications Authority equivalent level qualifications.

That is awesome and it opens up a new area of corporate partnership with education institutions.

This targeted approach provides tailor-made training to suit the industry needs and requirements.

As the economy expands, the diversity calls for a  skilled and qualified labour market to drive it and maintain its sustainability.

The pharmaceuticals is a growing industry and it will keep growing if it has a qualified workforce.

Otherwise, it will have to take the expensive route of recruiting from overseas.

One of the clear messages that we are getting from this Government is that it wants to lift standards and set benchmarks.

The hiring of expatriates underscores this policy.

The education reforms, when implemented well, will deliver the desired outcomes – that progressively, we will fill the positions now held by expatriates when they complete their contracts.

But it all starts from preschool, to primary and secondary.

Parents are important stakeholders in our education revolution. They drive the programme from home to school.

When they fail, the children fail. I have said before and I  say it again tonight that parents cannot abdicate their responsibility and shift their burden to teachers. Many of us are doing that.

Teachers are now expected to be morality counsellors as well.

Moral teaching is the responsibility of parents. Teachers should concentrate on teaching academic subjects.

Parents who are fulfilling their responsibilities would know the whereabouts of their children, what they are doing and how well or bad they are doing at school and taking remedial action when there are problems.

They should spend more time helping their children than around the kava bowl.

Someone said education is knowledge, knowledge is power, power is money.

Education is not only confined to secular learning but also religious learning. Children who are brought up in both tend to lead a balanced and stable life.

They become self reliant law abiding citizens. I take this opportunity to wish everyone a successful education year.

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