FORCED RETIREMENT LEADS TO FIJI TEACHER SHORTAGE

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Permanent replacements yet to be identified

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 23, 2009) – The Fijian Teachers Association says hundreds of teachers forced to retire in April have still to be replaced.

About 940 teachers retired on April 30 after the country's interim government slashed the retirement age from 60 to 55.

It was part of plans to cut government spending.

Association president Tevita Koroi says many of the positions have been temporarily filled by trainee teachers.

He says the situation has compromised the quality of the service, and work was still under way to find permanent replacements.

"It's a question of...meet(ing) that number we have lost; but also the quality - particularly, we're having people who have not obtained their teaching qualification," he said.

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

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