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Editorial: Privatising schools only way to go for Methodist Church

The Methodist Church of Fiji wants head teachers and principals of its schools to be church members. This is outrageous.  It cannot happen when the Government is paying the teachers’
18 Aug 2017 11:00
Editorial: Privatising schools only way to go for Methodist Church

The Methodist Church of Fiji wants head teachers and principals of its schools to be church members.

This is outrageous.  It cannot happen when the Government is paying the teachers’ salaries.

The church’s reasoning is that it will preserve its faith.

Until church schools are privatised, meaning it no longer relies on Government funding, the church cannot dictate what it wants.

We need to focus in ensuring that the right people teach students in all schools, including the Methodist schools irrespective of their faith.

This is exactly what Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum have been advocating – the need to have right people for the right jobs, and their race or religion should not be a requirement.

And, these are civil servants who are being paid by Government. The Methodist church is not paying salaries of their teachers.

There is only one church that has its schools totally privatized –The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It operates independently and does not accept Government funding.

Is that the same way that the Methodist church want to go? It is common knowledge that over the years the LDS Church had recruited qualified teachers who were non-members in a bid to maintain high academic standard at its schools.

Students studying at LDS educational institutions still pay school fees. It is a personal choice that students make, to study there because they like the school environment. Most of the students are church members and they observe strict church standards.

For the church it will pick a school head of its choice. It will be based on a holistic approach – someone who is qualified and upholds the standards of the school.

If the Methodist Church is unwilling to foot the bill of their own staff, they should not be allowed to dictate who should be employed in their schools.

Parents send their children to schools in the hope that they are taught by the most competent teachers. The qualification of teachers is the only requirement parents concern themselves with.

It will be a sorry day if parents also start taking into consideration race and religion of teachers. We should not go down that path.

This is precisely the way of thinking of the FijiFirst Government. Appointments of teachers to posts should be based on merit and in the best interest of students. We want the best teachers for our children.

The same analogy can be used in a medical scenario. When a Methodist Church Minister goes for an operation does he or she ask for a Methodist doctor or just the best doctor around? Obviously, he would go for the most competent doctor.

The competency of a school head should be the criteria not his or her religion and, race.

JYOTI PRATIBHA

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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