Uni Fiji: Students Wear Black Arm Bands, Demand Probe

If the issues are not resolved, students will strike and inform the Fiji Higher Education Commission and Government
21 Feb 2019 10:10
Uni Fiji: Students Wear Black Arm Bands, Demand Probe
From left: President of the University of Fiji Students Association Ratu Sailosi Raimoqe Dawai, and fellow students Achal Chand, Praneel Nand and Elizabeth Bola on February 20, 2019. Photo: Rohit Kumar

University of Fiji students wore black armbands yesterday as protest to highlight their grievances against senior staff of the institution.

The students, who dubbed themselves the Black Ribbon Movement, have among their grievances demanded that four of the senior executives in management must step aside to allow for independent and impartial investigations into allegations against them.

Movement president Ratu Sailosi Raimoqe Dawai said so far they have actually had negotiations and deliberation with the office of the Registrar of the University of Fiji.

“We have tried to come to an understanding, but we want to also seek the offices above the office of the Registrar to address the issues,” Ratu Sailosi said.

“The Registrar’s office is taking the concerns and issues seriously, but the senior officers are not.”

He said they had discussed almost 80 percent of the issues.

“The purpose of this Black Ribbon Movement is to get the attention of the governing body of the institution and the administrative body.

“If the issues are not resolved we will strike and inform the Fiji Higher Education Commission and Government.

“This movement is result of things not getting done.

“This movement is actually to have people who are supposed to do their work to do it.”

Bachelor of Arts student Elizabeth Bola said the main purpose she and her friends were supporting the movement was because of the alleged false promises made by the university to students like computers at the IT lab.

There were computers there, but more than half were not working.

She also complained about what she described as unreasonable tuition fee requirements.

“By the end of March if students have not cleared their arrears then we can’t sit for our exams. We can’t even attend lectures and tutorial,” Ms Bola said.

“The students association is trying its best to deal with the school management, however every time we ask them they will say they will get back to us.

“The students are binding together. We make the school run, so the power is ours and we have the right to proper education.

“We can’t be lacking some facilities in particular areas. Our parents send us to this university with the understanding that we will get better education and that we will go out to the professional field.”

Questions sent to management have not been answered.

Edited by Percy Kean


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