NEWS

Stop Politics In Education, Ministry Tells NFP Leader

“If we had decided to keep schools closed, he would have then criticised the Government on that. Whatever the Government does, his resolve is to go against it without any justification or facts.”
13 Jan 2022 13:28
Stop Politics In Education, Ministry Tells NFP Leader
Minister For Education Premilla Kumar.

COVID is not going away anytime soon, and we cannot be folding our arms and waiting for things to settle down to reopen schools.

This was the statement made by the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts in response to comments made by National Federation Party Leader Biman Prasad.

Mr Prasad claimed that the Government’s decision to ignore what he called sound advice and risk unvaccinated students even as young as four to five years old to COVID-19 was negligence.

He added that the education minister was brandishing a World Health Organisation report to claim children contracting COVID-19 have milder systems.

The ministry, while responding in a statement, stated that it was concerned with the comments by Mr Prasad on the reopening of schools.

The ministry said it was unfortunate that Mr Prasad criticised the research by competent international organisations whose research and data, are followed by the whole world.

“The ministry has always taken advice from local and international experts and organisations, which are based on evidence and science. The ministry certainly will not pay attention to utterances that are smear campaigns, to say the least,” the ministry said.

“If we had decided to keep schools closed, he would have then criticised the Government on that. Whatever the Government does, his resolve is to go against it without any justification or facts.”

The ministry added that positive cases recorded so far in schools reflected what was happening in the community.

The ministry said there were COVID-positive cases in the community, which meant that students and teachers would also have COVID-19.

“The ministry has been very clear that the decision on whether to send their children to school or not rests with parents. The ministry has also made it clear that parents of children with pre-existing conditions must get advice from their doctors,” the ministry stated.

“We fully respect the choice that many parents have made to not send their children to school. But we have also asked these parents to remain in touch with the school heads for other options of learning such as collecting learning materials for their children.

“The ministry reiterates that we follow science and data and will do our best to educate our children as their future is more important to us.

“At least in the schools, there is a higher degree of control in terms of following COVID-safety protocols. Rather than just focusing on schools, we all need to follow and practice stringent COVID-safety protocols in communities. As communities become safer this will be reflected in schools.

“In addition, schools are training the children on COVID-safety protocols, so they can practice this at home. We have developed communication resources that have been widely circulated on COVID safe measures.”

The ministry added that Mr Prasad’s comments attacking the FijiFirst Government by talking about all sorts of issues unrelated to child safety was a clear smear campaign to win votes.

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