Letters To The Editor, 11th January 2018

English test shock Arvind Mani, Nadi I am referring to the front page story in the Fiji Sun dated January 8, 2018. I was neither shocked nor even surprised. I
11 Jan 2018 14:36
Letters To The Editor, 11th January 2018

English test shock

Arvind Mani,


I am referring to the front page story in the Fiji Sun dated January 8, 2018.

I was neither shocked nor even surprised. I was disappointed though.

My wife and I were secondary school teachers before we immigrated to the United States.

When we came back home after 35 years in 2010, I was appalled to see the decline in the standard of education. I was always very passionate about this noble profession and it caused me great anguish to see the nonchalant and apathetic attitude of most teachers I talked to.

I expressed my grave concern to the then Minister for Education, Dr Mahendra Reddy, who suggested that I should do professional development of teachers.

The lowly opinion in which teachers are held probably explains what George Bernard Shaw said in Man and Superman:  “Those who can do; those who cannot teach.”

It means that people who are able to do something well can do that for a living, while people who are not able to do anything that well make a living by teaching. This quote was used to disparage teachers.

I have often heard graduates say that if they can’t get a job, there’s definitely a place for them – teaching.  That is a sad statement on a profession that is playing such a critical role in moulding the lives of the citizens of tomorrow.

The Education Ministry needs to have stringent requirements when selecting a teacher and it is not just being proficient in English. Of course, being fluent in English is a cardinal requirement. If one is not able to speak English well, which is an endemic problem in most Fiji people occupying leadership roles, how can one articulate fluently to disseminate one’s knowledge in a clear and succinct manner?

So I am pleased that the ministry is finally making a concerted effort to improve the quality of teachers who are choosing this profession.

More importantly, the ministry needs to consider if the candidate is the right fit. So what should they look for? The following story may have the answer.

An ex-student of ours, who is a pharmacist in Lautoka, took us out to dinner a few weeks ago. I sent him an email the next day to thank him and this was his response verbatim:

“A mother nurtures her baby with utmost care .. .providing everything within her means A mali (gardener) takes every care so as his flowers/fruits turn out to be most adorable A dedicated teacher leaves no stones unturned to prepare their students to reach the sky. Similarly, in any field, a faithful provider is always persevering to deliver his/her best. You and your team have done just that and it all reflected in the external results of Cuvu since 1968. This appreciation has taken long to be delivered…but heartily meant…THANK YOU.”

Those who want to get into the teaching profession should embrace the qualities of a mali or a mother. They should realise the far-reaching implications of this magnanimous, lofty and honourable profession.  If they are merely looking for a job that will pay their bills, they should have the moral gumption and conscience not to become teachers.

Standard of English

Ajay Kumar,


I refer to recent results of the English test sat for by aspiring teachers.

Is it possible for the Ministry of Education to publish the questions asked in the English test so we can see how relevant they are for today’s communication?

Remember ‘idk’ is ‘I don’t know’, ‘btw’ is ‘by the way’ and ‘gm’ is ‘good morning’. This is the English language of today.

Teachers test

Amrita Sharma,


I would like to raise my concern about the teacher’s job test and English test conducted by the Ministry of Education.

I would like to suggest the ministry that it does proper planning for this sort of thing.

This could have been done after the new teachers had graduated back in November or beginning of December, and only passing teachers should take the teachers licence and get medically examined together with police clearance.

All these cost money and are time-consuming. The test was done last week and another scheduled for Saturday is also not fair for the teachers because all teachers have their licences and other logistics done.

I believe the ministry has not followed proper or correct criteria in the selection of teachers for this year.

The results should be given to teachers to see where they went wrong. Some teachers have passed the exam but are ruled out on experience and qualification.

How can they get experience and qualification when they are not given the chance to teach? They are qualified and hold teaching certificates or diplomas from their respective universities.

New Year resolution

Wise Muavono,


If you find yourself making the same resolutions year after year but rarely achieving them, you’re not alone.

Thirty-five per cent of people who make New Year resolutions break them by the end of January.

But it took my mate Cameron Lutuni only nine days to break his resolution of no kava drinking. A day after arriving in Samoa he couldn’t resist it after being  offered a bowl of kava from a beautiful fa’afafine (effeminate male).

But he says that doesn’t count because he’s on another planet (meant to say another country).

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