NEWS

ECREA Wades In With ‘Neutral’ Intentions

The Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy (ECREA) has waded in on the growing demand by faith-based organisations to have only teachers of their faith to head their schools.
26 Jan 2019 10:00
ECREA Wades In With ‘Neutral’ Intentions
Students of Suva’s Dudley High School, which is operated by the Methodist Church in Fiji.

The Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy (ECREA) has waded in on the growing demand by faith-based organisations to have only teachers of their faith to head their schools.

And while it maintains that it is not looking at politicising the issue, it intends to rally support from Non-Government Organisations to sign a petition, which it intends  to hand deliver to all 51 Members of Parliament when Parliament sits on February 11.

ECREA, which is also a faith-based organisation, has organised a meeting at the Pacific Theological College on January 30.

Confirming this, ECREA executive director Josevata Naviri said the purpose of the meeting was to negotiate with the Ministry of Education on having dialogue.

Mr Naviri also added that ECREA’s intention was neutral.

However, he did not disclose that initial planning is being done to present a petition against the Open Merit Recruitment System, which states that every Government paid appointment should be done purely on merit.

Mr Naviri said that it was also to open the door for dialogue from “both ends” so that faith-based schools could continue to voice their opinions and feeling in having faith as part of their criteria. Also sharing information and ideas on what they believed in and making final decisions.

However, as of last night, no invitation had been extended towards the other party, to the issue the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts.

“At the same time, they need to know that the Government has their stand, the constitution to follow and that they are bound by that. We do not like to have it as a political movement.”

Mr Naviri emphasised that they would like to involve all the religious bodies and faith-based schools including the Latter-Day Saints to come together and share their opinion.

“Some voice their opinion through the dailies which is good but now we are trying to bring them together so that we have a strong voice. Hopefully that can help the Government see everybody.”

When questioned on their intention in parliament next month, Mr Naviri said it was to get a wider perspective or a wider voice so parliamentarians could feel that many people are involved.

“We will continue to pray for this because the end result is the students who are more important.

“The union fights for the teachers but the students are the most important thing. If we have that in mind, we should do everything that we can, our utmost focus is on the students because at the end they are the end result.

“People involved would know that it is not about the teachers or employment but about educating the children who will become the leaders at the end.”

Edited by Susana Tuilau

Feedback:  selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

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