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Suva (June 21, 2000 - Daily Post/PINA Nius Online) - A mass resignation of schoolteachers is expected as a result of the on-going political crisis.

Fiji Teachers Union general secretary Agni Deo Singh said many teachers, especially those teaching in secondary schools, have been making arrangements to leave the country.

"Many secondary school teachers will be resigning and we will be left with a shortage of teachers in the near future," Mr. Singh said.

"This has been happening throughout, as was the case in 1987. They are those with qualifications who can find jobs overseas."

The story is the same at the University of the South Pacific where a bulk of the teaching staff has indicated their desire to leave the country.

Vice Chancellor Esikia Solofa had said earlier that he expected some of his teaching staff to go but could not establish the exact number of people.

The university has been closed for the past month and many expatriate lecturers have since left.

Secretary for Public Service Anare Jale said the scale of resignations in the civil service is yet to be determined, as time-consuming procedures have to be followed by those wishing to resign.

He said civil servants are required to give 30 days notice of resignation and the resigning officer's department is required to establish the person's leave entitlement before sending the information to the Public Service Commission.

He said if the person is occupying a departmental post, the officer's department accepts the resignation and later asks the PSC to publicize it in the Fiji Gazette.

"In this context, we have yet to establish the level of resignations resulting from the political crisis, but we believe resignations, if they were to occur, would run over a period of time rather than an immediate reaction," said Mr. Jale.

He said if there is a mass resignation in the civil service, vacant positions in essential services such as health, education, water and sewerage will be filled first.

"Under normal circumstances, when officers go on leave, study or are sick for long duration, other organizations take on the responsibility on an acting basis.

"If the situation worsens, given the financial and human resources, the Commission might review the level of service it will offer to society," said Mr. Jale.

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

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