Opinion

EDITORIAL: New Protocols Will Lead To Culture Change In Education

The announcement by Education Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, about a range of protocols for the Education Ministry to address a number of systemic issues affecting teachers is welcome. It has been
01 Feb 2018 17:55
EDITORIAL: New Protocols Will Lead To Culture Change In Education

The announcement by Education Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, about a range of protocols for the Education Ministry to address a number of systemic issues affecting teachers is welcome.

It has been overdue and will lead to significant improvements in the system.

It comes as Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, having now fully taken over at the Ministry, pushes reforms and efficiency.

The protocols will change the culture of doing things and ensure that our children get the best standard in their education.

The apparent confusion and delays in deciding teacher postings is indicative of the condition afflicting the ministry.

An example: When a teacher turns up at her new school in a transfer and finds there is no vacancy there, with the other teachers unaware of the transfer. The school’s incumbent teacher teaches the class which is meant for the newly transferred teacher.

The new teacher had asked for a transfer to the new school because it’s closer to her home. One divisional education officer approved it and it appeared the decision was reached without the officer performing due diligence.

If the officer had done due diligence, he would have discovered that the incumbent teacher is doing an excellent job and is much loved by the parents, school committee, teachers and the community. She is also close to her retirement. Why tamper with something that is working well to accommodate a teacher’s wish? To move the incumbent out to a new school does not make sense?

Is not the interest and welfare of the students paramount?

This does not mean that teachers are not important. They are. There must be a system that ensures that teachers are also treated with respect and dignity. Either there is no clear policy on transfers or some divisional officers are simply ignoring an existing policy. This has caused the confusion.

Among the measures announced by Mr Sayed-Khaiyum is that the ministry is in the process of assessing appropriate school locations to best accommodate teachers seeking transfers. Teachers that have been given representations by ministry officials that they will be transferred, but who have not yet been transferred, will have their claims properly verified.

Once verified, those pending teacher transfer requests will be processed in the next two weeks. It is great news that head teachers have now been granted greater autonomy and responsibility and will be required to submit forms requesting additional teaching personnel and facilities, if required.

There needs to be greater transparency and accountability in the system to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

When everyone is working together in harmony, then we will achieve the targets set by the new protocols. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum is making sure this happens.

Feedback:  losirene.lacanivalu@fijisun.com.fj

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