NEWS

Ministry, Faith Heads Reach ‘Common Ground’

We will express the common ground and agreements, things that we will work together on and the future of the operation between the Government and the faith-base schools - Archbishop Peter Loy Chong
05 Feb 2019 13:07
Ministry, Faith Heads Reach ‘Common Ground’
Archbishop Peter Loy Chong after the faith based school and Ministry of Education meeting at Senikau House Suva on February 4,2019.Photo:Simione Haravanua.

After weeks of debate on the appointment of school heads in faith- based schools, a “common ground” was agreed to by Education Minister Rosy Akbar and heads of religious organisations.

This new development comes after a meeting Ms Akbar called at her office yesterday.

Speaking to the Fiji Sun, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Fiji Archbishop Peter Loy Chong said they were happy.

However, he preferred to wait for a joint press statement to be released signed by religious heads and Ms Akbar.

“We will express the common ground and agreements, things that we will work together on and the future of the operation between the Government and the faith-based schools,” Archbishop Loy Chong said.

“What we are trying to do is work with the Ministry of Education and to see this as a cooperation and we have our part to play and they have their part to play. It is a matter of reconciling in the interest of what is common to both, that is, the Government and the faith-based organisation which is education.

“This is not only about Catholic schools, but about all the schools run by faith-based communities. We are really happy that there is a lot of common ground.”

What is expected:

On January 8, three main things were offered to the faith- based schools by the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts. All this was finally agreed to yesterday.

Update:

Today February 05, 2019, the Department of Information issued the following Joint Statement.

“Yesterday morning, at the invitation of the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts, leaders of Fiji’s faith based organisations (FBOs) met with the Minister of Education Rosy Akbar to candidly discuss the issue of appointments of heads of school.

 “The Minister recognised the important role that FBOs had played, and continue to play, in education and emphasised that the Government was guided by academic education within which the culture and ethos of schools are promoted.

” The talanoa-style meeting was held in good spirit, and the Minister pledged to have an open, direct and mutually-respectful dialogue with the religious leaders as appointments are made going forward.

“The parties confirmed common ground in numerous ways to improve the appointment process –– methods that are both aligned to the open merit and recruitment selection guidelines, while also being mindful of the values-based mission that drives Fiji’s many FBOs and the institutions they represent. In this context, it was agreed that appointments of civil servants, including heads of schools, would continue to be made by the Ministry based on merit.

 “Following previous meetings, it was re-affirmed that meaningful consultations will be held with FBOs in regards to hiring and the Ministry will strive to ensure that a candidate’s ability to uphold and foster the ethos of the school is considered before an appointment is made. As previously proposed, the Ministry will also revise its job descriptions to reflect this desire to attract candidates with shared ethos to each school along with the ability to support the ethos and traditions of a school, whether it be faith- or community-based. The Ministry committed to developing a formal policy to address these agreements in the longer term.

 “The Ministry and FBO leaders look forward to building upon the progress of this fruitful meeting in the weeks ahead, and to finding an educational framework that best serves all of Fiji’s schools and, most importantly, the students who attend them.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

 



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