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By Samantha Matai

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, Sept. 13) – Students in Fiji’s rural schools are performing very poorly in their external examinations, said the Prime Minister.

The reason for this, he said, is because there is no electricity and water supply in these schools. "

Added to these problems are the long distances and the remote and isolated location of many of these rural schools, discouraging many good teachers from serving in them for reasonably long periods," said Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

Because of the poor conditions in rural secondary schools, many students move to urban schools at the end of their primary school education.

"There is also the drift of young people to urban centers in search of employment because their education has not equipped them with practical skills to apply their talents and energies in pursuing opportunities for their livelihood in their rural communities," said Qarase.

The Education Commission also discovered that out of the average of 21,000 students who start at class one, or year one, fewer than 12,000 would succeed in going through to year 14, or Form 6. Of the dropouts, the majority of them are in rural areas.

While there are many reasons for the poor conditions and standards in rural schools, Mr Qarase said the largest contributing factor is the history of education in Fiji.

"During the Colonial era, the British Administration was largely interested in very good schools in Suva and Levuka for the Europeans and part-Europeans. They did build some very good secondary schools such as Queen Victoria School. But, in the main, for the local communities, it was left largely to religious, cultural and community organizations to build and run their own schools."

September 12, 2004


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