NEWS

METHODISTS HAIL GOVT INITIATIVES

Methodists yesterday praised the free education initiative and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s leadership. They were responding to Mr Bainimarama’s address to the church’s Bose ko Viti (annual conference) at Centenary
22 Aug 2018 09:51
METHODISTS HAIL GOVT INITIATIVES
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama as he spoke to memebers of Methodist Church during their annual conference at Centenary Church on August 21, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Methodists yesterday praised the free education initiative and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s leadership.

They were responding to Mr Bainimarama’s address to the church’s Bose ko Viti (annual conference) at Centenary Church in Suva where he outlined the initiatives.

Mr Bainimarama, who is also a Methodist, said Government had unshackled every student in the country from the financial burden of attending school. (Full text of PM’s speech, pages 10 & 11).

Church president Reverend Epineri Vakadewavosa said Mr Bainimarama gave a very good speech.

“It was very encouraging, especially to the members as he highlighted important issues that we are facing at the moment,” he said.

“He highlighted the importance of education and how Fijians should take advantage of the initiatives.”

General secretary Reverend Ili Vunisuwai, who gave the vote of thanks, praised Mr Bainimarama for opening the door to free education to many students who otherwise would have struggled to attend school because they came from poor families in villages.

“Na neimami masu me na kalougata na nomuni veiliutaki ka me levu na nomu veigauna ni veiliutaki me laveti kina ko Viti kei ira na kena kawa bula kei ira kece na vei mata tamata era sa mai maroroi vata kina. (It is our prayer that you will be blessed in your leadership. And long may you continue to lift Fiji and all its people).”

He said the country had regained the slogan “Fiji the way the world should be.”

Deaconess of Lelean Memorial School, Praveena Sailo said: “It is a blessed opportunity for the Prime Minister to be among us in our conference this year. His empowering message is also for women and school students to gain academic achievement and to progress in life.”

Former church president Reverend Tevita Banivanua said he was very impressed with Mr Bainimarama’s speech because his focus was also on education and that was one of the areas they were working on.

Mr Bainimarama said only a few years ago, the Fijian education system fell well short of the required standard.

He said: “High quality education was a privilege in this country, it was not a right. It was not enjoyed by the many, it was enjoyed only by those who could afford it, those with the right background, the right family name, or the right connections. And when you have divides such as those in education, that worsens the divides that already plague our society, it keeps power in the hands of the powerful, it keeps wealth in the hands of the wealthy and it keeps privilege in the hands of the privileged, creating cycles of poverty and inequality that are extremely difficult to break.

“I remember those days well. I recall the faces of those young Fijians who were uncertain whether their families had the money to pay for their education. I remember that heartbreak. I remember the tears of parents who could not afford their children’s school fees, or who could not even pay for their students journey to school.

“I remember many bright students not being able to attend university because their parents couldn’t afford it or they did not have the right connections. I remember the great sacrifices families would make to send as many of their children to school as they could. I remember the pleas of our people for something better; their great hope that their children would one day enjoy opportunities they themselves never had the chance to know.

“I know many here can recall those days as well. But – thank God – they are only memories, because today, no Fijian family knows that same struggle, because those days ended the very moment we made education free throughout Fiji. That was the moment we unshackled every student in the country from the financial burden of attending school. Ending that heartbreak of Fijian families who had to consider the financial costs of educating their children, as we know it was often young girls who were left at home while their brothers attended school – those days are over.

“That revolution in education was driven forward by our introduction of free textbooks, free milk for Year 1 students and subsidised transportation to school. “Policies that not only put more Fijian youngsters in the classroom, but that gave them basic tools, comforts and security to perform at a higher level.

“Today, we’ve achieved free education for early childhood, primary school and secondary education in Fiji.

“The reality is this should have happened 20 or 30 years prior. It was achieved only because we finally had leadership in this country that cared enough to make it happen, a Government that finally brought stability to the country, that brought record growth to economy, and that put our nation in a position to fund the educational aspirations of all our young people.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback:  wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj




Fijisun E-edition
Total Excellium
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper