National Federation Party - Fiji
Education Minister’s insulting comments are the“Bane of education”
November 13, 2021
Labelling teachers unqualified and threatening to replace them is not only derogatory and insulting but a bane of education, said National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad.
Reacting to comments made by Education Minister Premila Kumar during a Talanoa with teachers in Lautoka, which have also been re-iterated in the media by Education permanent secretary Anjeela Jokhan, Professor Prasad said it was “stupidity of the highest order” to think that only teachers with Bachelor of Education Degrees would bring credibility to the education system.
“It is insane to even suggest that a new graduate with only degree qualifications can do a better job than a fully trained teacher with certificate or diploma who has many years of experience in teaching”.
“I am absolutely sure that like me and several thousands of others, the minister and her permanent secretary have been nurtured by vastly experienced teachers with certificate or diploma qualifications”.
“Does it mean that their education and learning was compromised just because degree holders did not teach them in early childhood education, classes, primary and secondary schools”.
“This is insulting, derogatory and a display of contempt against not only hard working teachers but their students and parents as well”.
“Since Independence, until 15 years ago, all governments have encouraged and supported professional development and skills upgrade of teachers, as well as providing security to their employment”.
“But the unfortunate exception has been the Bainimarama and Fiji First governments, which have deliberately ridiculed, undermined and even trashed every aspect of the noble profession of teaching including forcing them into contractual employment”.
“This has resulted in exodus of experienced teachers, both through premature retirement as well as migration to take up lucrative job opportunities. It even resulted in teacher shortage a couple of years ago with the then Minister confirming that senior students were given responsibility for taking classes in some subjects in secondary schools”.
“This government simply won’t listen to our repeated calls for an Education Commission. And it has gone ahead to unilaterally change curriculum of some subjects and even distorted history to promote its way of governance and rule of law”.
“The future of education of our many thousands of students must be protected from the haphazard manner this government has treated teachers, students and parents”.
“The establishment of an independent and highly credible Education Commission to undertake an holistic review of education including the curriculum and job security of teachers will be a priority of NFP in government”.
“This is long overdue as the last such review was almost 22 years ago”.
“We will provide teachers with permanent employment to ensure retention of experienced teachers that is critical for quality of education and dignity to the profession”.