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Church Representatives Set To Meet Education Minister

Representatives of the Catholic Church in Fiji will meet Minister for Education Rosy Akbar tomorrow after she reiterated that all school head appointments will be based on merit. Ms Akbar
16 Jan 2019 13:08
Church Representatives Set To Meet Education Minister
Archbishop Peter Loy Chong is pushing for faith to be included in the open merit selection system because he says all faith-based schools hold a character which is important to the students. Photo: Simione Harnavanua

Representatives of the Catholic Church in Fiji will meet Minister for Education Rosy Akbar tomorrow after she reiterated that all school head appointments will be based on merit.

Ms Akbar said schools that wish to have faith-based leaders can privatise.

The Head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong, said they were not considering privatising their schools at the moment.

“The reason we are requesting for a meeting is to discuss and come to a mutual agreement on the issue,” he said.

The issue has been raised by the church after the ministry replaced two principals at its schools, Xavier College and Saint Thomas High School, with non-Catholics.

The church wants the two principals retained.

Earlier last week Archbishop Loy Chong wrote to Ms Akbar to reconsider having members of the church to head its schools.

Archbishop Loy Chong said that they are pushing for faith to be included in the open merit selection system because all faith-based schools hold a character which is important to the students.

“The people who established the school were faith-based. The school has a unique character so naturally we want to pass this to our future generation,” he said.

“We want to see that this is supported. This is the reason we are requesting a meeting to discuss and come to a mutual agreement on the issue.”

He said the Constitution stated that a religious community or denomination had the right to provide religious instruction as part of any education it provides.

“This right is given in the Constitution, but it is hard to practise that right if we don’t have the right teachers,” said Archbishop Loy Chong.

“In order to practise this right, schools should participate in the selection and appointment process.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

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