A-G Warns Of Social Media Impact

There have been cases in Fiji recently where people have committed suicide because of certain images of students being uploaded on social media, says Attorney-General and Minister for Education Aiyaz
20 Feb 2018 14:47
A-G Warns Of Social Media Impact
Attorney-General and Education Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the Sheraton Fiji Resort on February 19, 2018.

There have been cases in Fiji recently where people have committed suicide because of certain images of students being uploaded on social media, says Attorney-General and Minister for Education Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Speaking at the  Integrated Partners’ Forum, during the Commonwealth Education Ministers Meeting, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday cautioned the delegates on the huge impact of social media and how it should be managed.

“As we have seen recently in Fiji, because of certain images of students and people being put up, people have actually committed suicide,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said this was because of the vulnerability, the accessibility and various implications that came about because of social media.

“How do we manage that?

“How do we give social media access to students, but at the same time create an environment where they feel safe, where they do not get exploited, where their future doesn’t get hindered just because perhaps a momentary lapse of indiscretion?”

Teachers have essential roles

“Teachers have an essential role in empowering and forging the minds of our students and young people,” Mr Sayed Khaiyum said.

There was a need for teachers to be motivated, engaged, and well-qualified, he said.

“We need them to be accountable in reaching out to the most disadvantaged to ensure all of our citizens get the access to education they deserve, including our young children and young people with special needs,” Mr Sayed Khaiyum said.

“We count on our teachers and educators to engage children and young people so they go on to become responsible and engaged citizens.

“More than that, so they can grow to become the next generation of leaders on whatever challenges the future holds.”

On climate change, he said the more freely we express ourselves and the deeper the connections we forge among one another, the higher the quality of our discussions will become.

“That exchange of knowledge, as we’ve seen before, will have a direct impact on students and young people throughout the Commonwealth in obtaining a high-quality education.

“Those discussions must be had within the context of sustainable development. In that, everyone has a role to play.

“Students and young people, in particular, should be at the centre of policy discussions, not only as beneficiaries of education but in recognition that they are among some of the most vulnerable members of society.

“We cannot allow them to be passive actors. They must be full members of the decision-making and planning that impacts their lives, be it as school leaders, members of student governing bodies, or members of student councils.

“These are some of the very key issues we also need to consider.

“It’s our responsibility to pass down the lessons of sustainable development to our children; when those lessons are lost, we risk repeating the same mistakes.

“We must break this cycle by instilling values, such as climate change awareness and advocacy, in our education system so we can raise the next generation of climate warriors.

“By doing so, we will secure a brighter future for every young person on earth.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said he hoped all remained committed as in the past and explore new ways of thinking, new strategies of co-operation and new ways to engage with our students and young people.

As always, civil society organisations must work in partnership with governments to build equitable and quality education systems and improve the accountability of the education systems in their countries, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Meanwhile, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the outcomes of the Integrated Partners’ Forum could only be realised through a commitment to one another, as Commonwealth partners, and as women and men dedicated to the education of its citizens.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa


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