CONVERSATIONAL FIJIAN TO BE TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 11, 2000 – Fiji’s Daily Post)---Non-Fijian students around the country will soon get a chance to learn conversational Fijian.

Minister for Education Pratap Chand made the comment yesterday at the official opening of the Fijian Teachers Association symposium at the Suva Civic Auditorium.

He said the program will be implemented in about 200 primary schools around the country.

Mr. Pratap said it is vital that different ethnic groups in Fiji be able to communicate with one another to promote tolerance and understanding.

"The development of curriculum materials and their trials have been taking place these last three years," he said.

"Already 200 Indian primary schools have been given the conversational Fijian materials after their teachers attended in-service courses.

"The training of teachers to teach conversational Hindi to Fijian students will begin this year," Mr. Pratap said.

The minister added that Fiji has inherited a system of education that separates schools along ethnic lines.

He said it is not necessary to continue running the schools this way if the people of Fiji are to improve their understanding of one another.

"Our teachers, our greatest resource, are so divided along these lines.

"I intend to continue integrating our staff in the schools in consultation with the management and unions.

"Indeed we're seriously considering ways and means which will provide incentives for schools, whenever this is possible to integrate," Mr. Pratap said.

The minister hopes the teachers’ symposium during the week will seriously consider the issue.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fiji Live.

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