Church-Run Fiji Schools Should Be Private; Not Expect Government Support: Minister

Reddy says schools should privatize if they wish to recruit teachers from specific faiths

By Luke Rawalai

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, May 2, 2017) – Faith-based school managements having special preferences for their teachers should privatise their schools, says Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy.

Dr Reddy made the comment during the School Managers Workshop in the North yesterday.

He was responding to a request from Holy Family secondary and primary school manager Paul Tierney for the recruitment of Catholic teachers in Catholic schools for reasons of faith.

Mr Tierney was speaking during a talanoa session chaired by Dr Reddy in Labasa yesterday.

Dr Reddy said schools with special preferences should be privatised so that managements and religious bodies take over teaching expenses for the schools

"Once you privatise your schools you can appoint your teachers, you pay their salary, you look after the school and we will not interfere with you on whom you appoint or who is your teacher," Dr Reddy said.

"That not only applies to you but also applies to Sanatan, Islam, Seventh-day Adventist or Methodist schools."

Mr Tierney told Dr Reddy he understood there was a memorandum of understanding between the director of Catholic Education and the ministry, particularly with the appointment of principals or head teachers in Catholic schools.

"First of all the MOU is not binding not like the memorandum of agreement (MOA) and secondly the MOU was signed sometime back and does not have indefinite life," Dr Reddy said.

"We have been very open in terms of appointing teachers to schools of a particular faith whether it is Hindu, Islam, Catholic, Methodist or SDA schools, if the head teacher or principle is the best on merit."

Dr Reddy said the ministry could not refuse to appoint someone to a particular position because of their faith, race or gender.

"That is Government's job. We advertise saying open recruitment merit system, equal opportunity to get employment and it does not say for a particular post that only Christians can apply or only Catholics can apply," he said.

Fiji Times Online.
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