Stop the Mess at the Ministry of Education in the Appointment of School Heads
February 17, 2022
The Ministry of Education under the leadership of the current Education Minister and her Permanent Secretary have lost the plot.
After attacking the curriculum, the ministry is now hell-bent on throttling the careers of experienced principals by eliminating them from their positions under new qualification requirements.
The Minimum Qualification Requirements were imposed in 2017 after a Job Evaluation Exercise and Heads of Schools were appointed. Even at that time some anomalies arose as a result of new appointments.
To her credit the former Minister for Education Honourable Rosy Akbar after the 2018 general elections consulted the teacher unions on the issue. That was the right thing to do.
This brought some semblance of balance and brought both qualifications and experience into the Minimum Qualification Requirements. At that time all the Heads of Primary Schools were promoted under the revised criteria. They did not even have to sit the job tests or attend any interview.
But Honourable Akbar’s successor and her permanent secretary have gone on a rampage. With no thought, input and consultation from teacher unions, they have changed the MQR in respect of appointment of school principals, resulting in massive uncertainty.
Many experienced Principals have been eliminated as a result of the imposed process. Senior Principals, who were appointed and who previously recognised teacher training qualifications such as Secondary Teacher Training Certificate (STTC), Diploma in Tertiary Teaching (DTT) and Bachelor of Education, have been eliminated.
These qualifications are provided at Government-owned Fiji National University. Is the ministry now saying that these qualifications provided by FNU are irrelevant and worthless?
We are told that the Permanent Secretary herself is interviewing candidates and we question whether these are properly constituted interview panels. The instability and mess in the appointment of teachers and school heads continue unabated under the Fiji First government.
We call on the Ministry to immediately put a stop to this new process of appointments and go back to what the former Minister for Education Rosy Akbar had rightfully put in place in consultation with the unions.
The elimination of experience principals with proven good performance over several years will have a disastrous impact on the quality of education. This is a matter of serious concern to parents, students, school managements and stakeholders in the country.