NATION

NZ’s Only Fijian Pre-School Centre Temporarily Closes

New Zealand’s only Fijian Early Childhood Education (ECE) centre has temporarily closed, leaving the families of 21 children and seven staff out in the cold. Auckland’s Bula Centre, which has
19 Sep 2017 10:21
NZ’s Only Fijian Pre-School Centre Temporarily Closes
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama meets the students of Bula Centre Kindergarten in Auckland, New Zealand, October 20, 2016. Photo: DEPTFO News

New Zealand’s only Fijian Early Childhood Education (ECE) centre has temporarily closed, leaving the families of 21 children and seven staff out in the cold.

Auckland’s Bula Centre, which has received more than FJD$3.7 million in New Zealand Government funding since its establishment closed after delivering the lowest possible ranking from the New Zealand Education Review Office (ERO).

Bula Centre is located in Mangere East, Auckland and was established in 2012.

The New Zealand Education review found problems with financial management, governance, and health and safety.

Despite the allegations, Bula Centre board chair, John Kotoisuva said the issue was one of governance and management.

“This is a governance issue between the previous administration and the current administration – that’s where the issue really lies,” Mr Kotoisuva said.

“There has been a bit of an issue with financial management from previous administration. I’m not saying there is any misappropriation of funds, but there are some issues in those areas,” he said.

Recent media reports from New Zealand suggest the staff have not received pay in weeks.

“Next Monday will be four weeks that we have not been paid and I’m so worried for the staff. It’s their livelihood, it’s really affecting them,” centre manager Nirshad Rokodi, told New Zealand’s 1NEWS.

But Mr Kotoisuva denies the temporary shutdown is due to financial concerns.

“You might have seen on the news in New Zealand that the teachers were not being paid,” he said.

“[But] it’s a governance issue. With regards to the bank, they are just basically saying, ‘hey you guys make up your mind who’s rigid and who isn’t’.”

Mr Kotoisuva is also adamant the closure of the centre has nothing to do with the quality of education or curriculum at the school.

“Education-wise there is really no concern, in fact it is a very positive environment and even in this temporary shutdown parents are bringing children to be enrolled,” he said.

Edited by Karalaini  Waqanidrola

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