NEWS

Tears Of Joy Over New Boats, Engines

Naceva District School in Kadavu manager Mikaele Jiwa was in tears when he described how their new boat and engine would benefit students.
23 Jun 2022 15:15
Tears Of Joy Over New Boats, Engines
Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Premila Kumar on June 21, 2022, handed over six boats to six maritime island schools. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Students from six schools will not have to walk or pay for boat rides after the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts donated boats and engines on Tuesday.

The six schools are Yadua Village School near Sigatoka, Vione Primary School in Gau, St Terese Liseux College in Nadroga, Naceva District School in Kadavu, Koroinasolo Village School in Bua and Kaba Primary School in Tailevu.

Naceva District School in Kadavu manager Mikaele Jiwa was in tears when he described how their new boat and engine would benefit students.

“Our school is located in the interior and when there is a meeting or we try to get equipment to school from the wharf that comes to Kadavu it is hard. I thank the Government for helping us. This means a lot to me,” Mr Jiwa said.

“There are about 140 students from the four villages that attend Naceva District School. These students walk about one mile to reach the school.”

Vione Primary School trustee Samisoni Delai said: “The boat will help our students a lot. It takes 30 to 45 minutes for the students to walk from Vione Village to the school but not anymore,  thanks to the Ministry of Education.

“This is the first time we are receiving a boat and engine. The school faces a lot of problems when it comes to transportation.”

St Terese Liseux College chairman Orisi Madraiwiwi said: “There are students from two villages that had to hire a boat when it rained or it was  high tide in order to get to school.  But now they don’t have to. This is a big help to parents as they don’t have to worry about their children’s safety.”

Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Premila Kumar said the reason they were giving boats and engines to schools was because over the years students had to cross rivers and streams and travel long distances. She said they were tired when they reached school.

“These problems really arise in remote and rural settings where we don’t have RSL (Road Service Licenceor proper bus services so in that situation to transport students from one place to another we surely will need a boat and an engine,” Ms Kumar said.

“This is a government initiative that started in  2014 and from 2014 we have given out a total of 107 boats and 114 engines worth around $1.6million to various schools. This is how we are helping remote and maritime schools.

“The Government has spent roughly around $165million so far from 2014 in transportation assistance which goes to bus companies and RSL (Road Service Licence) providers. Now that is a huge burden taken off from the parents. Otherwise every morning the parents will be looking for some coins and some money to pay or give their children to pay their bus fare to be in school on time.”

Ms Kumar warned the representative from the six schools to not misuse the boat and school heads must come up with a usage policy.

“We have also come across cases where boats and engines have been abused by the school management committee members. You cannot use these boats and engines for any other purpose because they are only for the transportation of our students.

“Regarding fuel and maintenance that would be met through the education grant so I request the school managers and head of schools to ensure that the boats are in seaworthy condition at all times.”

 

Feedbackwati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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