NATION

Appointment Of Indo-Fijian Principal In Predominantly Itaukei Schools Not New

When it was first done by Ratu Mara in 1984 at Ratu Kadavulevu School, there was no big public outcry. It became a success. What is the difference with Adi Cakobau School?
13 Jan 2020 10:56
Appointment Of Indo-Fijian Principal In Predominantly Itaukei Schools Not New
Amraiya Naidu and the new acting principal of Adi Cakobau School, Barti Singh.

Some people like SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula have short memories.

Mr Nawaikula has made a big fuss over the appointment of Barti Singh, the first Indo-Fijian acting principal of Adi Cakobau School.

He has conveniently forgotten and not mentioned that a similar move was made in 1984 by then Alliance Party Prime Minister, the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

Obviously Mr Nawaikula, again has used the issue of ethnicity to whip up racial feelings among the iTaukei to promote his party’s political agenda.

Ratu Sir Kamisese sent top performing principal of Labasa College, Amraiya Naidu, to Ratu Ratu Kadavulevu School to lift the academic standard there.

Poor external examination pass rates had caused alarm that needed urgent surgical intervention to arrest the serious decline.

Ratu Sir Kamisese ordered the Ministry of Education to identify the best principal and it recommended Mr Naidu.

He did not say “find a iTaukei principal”. It was clear to everyone that RKS was and stilll is a predominantly ITaukei school, one of the leading Government boarding schools in the country. Ratu Sir Kamisese was a smart and astute leader.

He was genuinely concerned about improving education standards, particularly iTaukei academic standards. He wanted the best candidate for the task.

He did not mind which ethnicity he or she belonged to because he truly believed in the concept of multiracialism which his party stood for.

He was an early advocate of doing things on the basis of merit.

His revolutionary action did wonders at RKS. Mr Naidu turned things around and soon after his appointment RKS was recording 100 per cent pass rates in its external examination results.

Ratu Sir Kamisese’s move was vindicated.

Change is good when it is needed.

ACS needs help to lift its standards. I am sure Ms Singh will implement changes that ACS needs without altering the character of the school in the same way as Mr Naidu did at RKS. The changes will, in fact, enhance the quality of education and lift the school’s profile

We should use the same analogy when we take a sick child to undergo a life saving surgery.

All parents would wish for the best surgeons irrespective of their race or background.

Race should not be part of the equation. It’s the outcome on patients that matter the most.

So it is with many issues we deal with everyday.

The RKS experience was not an experiment. It was a deliberate exercise with a predictable outcome in a controlled political environment.

Ratu Sir Kamisese knew he would be going against some of the racist and extreme political beliefs of the day.

But he had the political courage to execute his plan because he believed in it. And he was right.

Did RKS lose its character? Of course not.

At the end of the day we must remember that it’s our children’s education that is paramount not our narrow sectional interests or ill conceived and selfish racist ideas or political agenda.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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