National Federation Party - Fiji
Education reforms an unmitigated disaster
December 17, 2015
The Minister for Education has completely torn to shreds the true meaning and value of quality education which is a prerequisite for our younger generation to moulding them into successful and responsible citizens of our nation.
The latest in the long line of bungling by Minister Mahendra Reddy has been the claim that all Year 13 (Form 7) students have passed their external examination. A day later he gives another version by saying there wasn’t a 100% pass rate but that “none of the students failed”, and all students are eligible to enter University or various technical colleges.
For the first time in history, any person associated with education has re-defined the meaning of pass and failure. In this tragically historic case, it happens to be the Minister for Education who has created more chaos and confusion for parents, students and teachers.
The Minister must clarify what is the meaning of attainment and its relevance to the pass or failure of the students. He should not use qualification for tertiary education loans and scholarship for entry into university or technical colleges to confuse the people about pass and failure.
Furthermore, questions that we have asked previously remain unanswered. Were the examination papers for all external examinations wholly marked manually or electronically or both? Are all examination results final?
We are asking for clarification because of the chaos and confusion caused by the Minister’s misleading statements for the last month.
Firstly, Year 6 results were provisional.
The Minister wrongly blamed students for not correctly filling their Index Numbers. This added salt to injury to the students. Secondly, we have confirmation that some schools still haven’t received Year 10 results two weeks after they were released. We have sighted result sheets obtained by students from the Ministry of Education’s Examination and Assessment Unit which states it is “unofficial result notice”. Yet the Minister has been telling the nation the results are final.
To add to this confusion, the Ministry’s website has posted results for all external exam results in accordance with different education districts as provisional. This is nonsensical. The Minister must clarify what is the reality.
Thirdly, there is confusion surrounding the enrollment of Year 8 students into Year 9 due to late release of results when schools have already closed for holidays. The Ministry first advised all secondary schools to enroll Year 8 students based on their Annual Examination marks. Following the release of the results, the Minister directed schools to enroll students irrespective of their marks as per designated school zones.
We are surprised that despite bungling, incompetency and mismanagement of the education sector, the Minister continues to wrongly claim that the reforms are working.
The reforms in the education sector so far have been an unmitigated disaster.