Letters To The Editor 22nd August, 2018

iTaukei Scholarships Timoci Gaunavinaka, Waila, Nausori. I thank my old friend Jale Baba for stating his views in disagreeing with Nemani Delaibatiki and myself on Affirmative Action on iTaukei Scholarships.
22 Aug 2018 10:30
Letters To The Editor 22nd August, 2018
Timoci Gaunavinaka

iTaukei Scholarships

Timoci Gaunavinaka, Waila, Nausori.

I thank my old friend Jale Baba for stating his views in disagreeing with Nemani Delaibatiki and myself on Affirmative Action on iTaukei Scholarships.

Under the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) and Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei (SVT) Affirmative Action Scholarships Scheme, thousands of iTaukei students who passed their University Entrance and Fiji School Living Certificate (FSLC) still could not enter the University of the the South Pacific (USP) or the Fiji Institute of Techonology (FIT) because their marks were below the threshold set by the scholarship unit then.

Today all those students can enter these institutions under the Tertiary Education Loan Scheme (TELS) provided that they are accepted by them.

They only pay back these loans at a very minimum rate when they get a job so funds can be further used for future students keeping the system sustainable.

Under Affirmative Action many iTaukei students failed at USP and FIT because;

1. They took it for granted because they did not work hard or sacrifice to earn it in the first place.

2. Absence of vital family support and advice sometimes because of wrong priorities and decision making as described in my earlier article.

I worked for USP for six years from 1994 to 2000 and if you went to “Vunivadra” (behind FIT School of Maritime) on any Friday afternoon or Saturday then, you will find dozens of iTaukei students (girls and boys) partying there. Most of them were  on scholarships.

Some iTaukei students took more than seven years to graduate and I personally know of one who took 14 years to get his first degree.

Most Saturday mornings when my wife and I depart Nausori for the Suva Market at 5am, our youngest son is still studying from the previous night.

At Suva we find dozens and dozens of iTaukei youths of his age coming out drunk from nightclubs with girlfriends in tow.

This same son scored the second highest FSLC mark at Yat Sen Secondary that year beating all Indo-Fijians and Fijian Chinese students, who Jale Baba says have superior brains because of their early civilisation.

Only a student of European extraction scored four marks higher than him.

He repeated that a year later at USP scoring  two “A” and eight “A+” in his ten Foundation units.

He is now on scholarship under Toppers doing MBBS at the Fiji National Univeristy (FNU).

Then there are the Vanualailai brothers who grew up in the once notorious suburb of Nadonumai where I used to visit them. One is now a Professor, one is a PhD holder and one has a Masters.

Jito and Paula used to paddle their punt to fish in Suva Harbour every Friday night.

Whatever they caught was sold on Saturday to pay for their school fees and fares to school. Jito Vanualailai is now a Professor in Mathematics (viewed as a difficult subject) and Director of Research at USP.

Dr. Paula Vanualailai runs his consultancy firm. Their younger brother who also has a Masters’ Degree in Mathematics lives in Japan.

They are all iTaukei.

This is why I find Jale Baba’s explanation on differences in the age of our civilisations as a very lame excuse bordering on an “inferiority complex”.

I do not see the “patriotism” in saying that we iTaukei have some sort of “brain handicap”.

The simple message here is that all great achievements in life are accomplished though right decisions, hard work and sacrifice.

Role Model

Amenatave Yaconisau, Delainavesi

I agree entirely with Nemani Delaibatiki’s “My Say” (FS 20/9) where he named certain people as role model for iTaukei education. But one should account for the social setting of social life lived not finger pointing and scapegoating.

Most iTaukei live in villages and rural areas and their life is filled with the dictates of cultural and traditional obligations.

It’s good to compare oranges with apples.

Kick Butts

Neelz Singh, Lami

Time to kick cigarette butts – they’re toxic trash.

Poisons leach from the four trillion cigarette filters that we chuck each year, harming health and environment alike. They should be banned

Smokers discard billions of cigarette butts yearly, tossing many directly into the environment.

Cigarette butts accumulate outside of buildings, on parking lots, universities upfront and streets where they can be transported through storm drains to streams, rivers, and beaches.

Are cigarette butts more than just an unsightly litter problem?

Hence the disruption of an ecosystem because of cigarettes can have disastrous results, which can be far reaching.

It isn’t just a matter of unsightly trash and litter.

Toxins from cigarettes collect on the filter and are then washed out into our waterways and the ocean.

Nature depends on us, the decisions we make and our ability to come together.

Animals, birds, frogs, sea mammals and other marine life are at risk of cancer because they ingest the butts thinking that it’s food.

Throwing butt is a trending culture of littering

Smokers in many countries can be fined for flicking a lit cigarette.

And the final and most important thing to know about cigarette butt litter is: Only smokers can stop cigarette butt litter.

We need to educate them that butts are litter and provide a positive alternative to littering.

Act now for a good cause!

HOPE Line-up

Tukai Lagonilakeba, Namaka, Nadi

Should they win the election party president Tupou Draunidalo is contemplating appointing an Attorney-General from outside.

But one disadvantage in doing this is Draunidalo will be giving away an entitlement and the opportunity to become a Cabinet minister from one of her party candidates who have worked so hard and spent a lot of money in their campaign to gain votes.

The second issue here is that it shows that she does not have the trust in the ability and qualifications of her party members.

A very easy outcome would be for her to become the Prime Minister by convention and virtue as a party president at the same time appointing herself to become the Attorney-General and save taxpayers’ money.

I hope she can slash her PM’s salary to $120k because Fijians will respect her for doing so.

Savusavu Land

A.Shariff Shah,  Savusavu

There are so many land lots not being used and still idle. People lease it through the lands department, keep them idle and then sell the lots and make money.

In one case a well-known businessman is selling his for $700k.

Another businessman moved to Suva to do civil works for the Government. There is no operation here and the land is left idle.

Some build their houses, but no business yet on industrial land.

So I am asking the Minister for Lands what this is all about?

Why can’t you do a re-entry and give the land out to those who really want to expand and genuinely do business?

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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