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Impartiality Speak Out, A-G Urges Students

Student bodies needed to be relevant and maintain a level of impartiality, says Attorney-General and Minister for Education Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum Speaking at the University of Fiji to university students from
21 Feb 2018 11:14
Impartiality Speak Out, A-G Urges Students
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and Attorney-General and Minister for Education Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the Commonwealth Education Ministers Conference at Sheraton Fiji Resort on Denarau Island, Nadi on February 20, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO News

Student bodies needed to be relevant and maintain a level of impartiality, says Attorney-General and Minister for Education Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Speaking at the University of Fiji to university students from here and throughout the Commonwealth yesterday, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said students needed to speak independently as a critical voice on various subjects.

“The moment the impartiality is compromised by any student organisation, the ability to speak on a whole range of issues will be compromised,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“Then you can truly become an independent voice and a critic of policies and various issues taking place in your country and even in the education sector.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, who was referring to SDG4, said students may be trained in a particular skill set now, but whether that would be relevant in 10 to 15 years’ time and whether there was a need to upgrade these skills needed to be understood.

“A lot of people think that once you graduate or complete a particular degree, they think that they did not need to do more. But education is a lifelong opportunity,” he said.

“Education is pivotal to the growth of any country. At the same time education does not give the dividend there and then.

“It does not mean that if you spending $900 million on education this year, you would not immediately see the results.

‘‘We need to ensure that policy makers are cognizant of that fact and the reality is that many policy makers don’t like to spend that much money, because it does not give you immediate results.

“Good policy makers will look at the future and will realise that if investments are done in the right places, then obviously the future is much brighter and therefore your economic opportunities are greatly enhanced.

“Accessibility to education has been a challenge in many countries.”

As an example, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said in Fiji, loans sought by students to carry out a pilot’s course are assessed by Fiji Airways in that the number of loans given out depended on the number of pilots they needed for the year.

“The reason why there is only that number available, we know that by spending a high level of money, we will be able to get a return from these people who will actually get employed,’’ Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“Once they are employed, they not only contribute to their livelihood, but also to the country because we have less dependence, eventually, on expatriate pilots.

“That type of rationalisation needs to take place in particular in some of the courses.

“Student voices are very critical in the development of the education sector and development of the country.

“This year we started a programme called YES (Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme).

“If you have come up with a good business plan we give you a grant of $20,000 and the assessment is done by the private sector that makes the recommendations before the grant is given.

“The idea is to instil or engender a way of thinking that you young people should become job creators yourselves.

“Everybody, especially young people want to be given the resources to be able to exercise their intellect, skills sets and further themselves in their personal development.”

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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