Caption: Dr Apolonia Tamata speaking on the International Mother Tougue Day at the iTaukei. Photo: MINFO
1 CENTRAL DIVISION EARMARKS MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS
A total of 4.5 million dollars has been allocated for the Public Sector Investment Projects (PSIP) program focusing on improving public infrastructures and facilities in the central division.
Commissioner Central Laisenia Tuitubou highlighted that the different PSIP works that are planned for this year are also expected to drive economic growth in the country.
“PSIP works on infrastructure development in the Central Division this year will include the Beqa seawall, Navunituba Circular Road in Naitasiri, Mataisuva Eco-tourism electrification and water projects, the improvement of Naqelewai to Nasoqo road, Serua seawall projects, Natila village access road, ginger farm road, Veinuqa farm road, Wainadoi road drainage, 3 Irish crossing in Tailevu, 1 in Namosi and 1 in Rewa”.
He pointed out that PSIP works will include the Raviravi Nursing Station in Beqa, Namosi Government Station, Raviravi Nursing Station, Namosi Government Station and Mataisuva Eco-tourism electrification and water supply in Rewa.
The Central Division is one of the largest divisions in Fiji because it covers 5 provinces namely Naitasiri, Serua, Namosi, Tailevu and Naitasiri.
2 MORE VOCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES TO BE OFFERED FOR STUDENTS
The Ministry of Education will continue to strengthen programs to promote Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in secondary schools this year.
The ministry plans to provide quality vocational training centres in 13 secondary schools around the country which will cost a total of $200,000.
Director TVET at the Education Ministry, Ms Alumica Tuisawau said that to enhance technical vocational education, secondary schools have been provided with free TVET textbooks, tools, equipment and machines.
“This is to top up their existing equipment inventory. A portion of the MOE tuition grant that is given to secondary schools annually are meant specifically for TVET subjects,” Ms Tuisawau said.
“MOE had in 2012 introduced the mainstreaming of vocational courses in 62 secondary schools whereby students preparing for their Form 6 and Form 7 exams were given vocational skills training.”
Ms Tuisawau said that this had been gainful to the students as they gained a trade certification as well after the completion of the exams.
She added that more than 60 schools are set to introduce the course this year while the rest of the schools would come on board in 2014.
“All Secondary school students are exposed to some TVET subjects in schools at Form 3 and 4 levels. Some may choose to continue at higher forms while some choose other subjects. With the introduction of Mainstreaming of Vocational Courses in secondary schools, all students at Forms 5, 6 and 7 will go through vocational skills training whilst they pursue their Fiji School Leaving Certificate and Fiji Seventh Form Examination.”
The ministry has also assisted students who wish to further their TVET training at tertiary level, in paying their training fees.
“We do not get direct feedback from the universities on the students’ interest in regards to TVET courses but we are aware that quite a number of our vocational courses in schools are franchised to the Fiji National University (FNU).
“Many students enroll into these courses simply because once they are enrolled, they are assured of a place at FNU once they successfully complete their courses in school. In most cases, they complete stages 1 & 2 of a Trade Course in school and then complete at FNU,” Ms Tuisawau highlighted.
Stressing on the benefits of this training, the director said that students gain lifelong skills through TVET courses.
“These skills would be useful at home, in their communities or to pursue further tertiary qualification. TVET students are also being taught entrepreneurship where they are taught how to start a small business.
“With the trade skills they gain, if they are not able to find employment, they could start a small business from home in automotive, baking, carpentry and joinery depending on the trade they have acquired while in school,” Ms Tuisawau added.
3 TIMELY DONATION FOR FISHERIES DEPARTMENT
The provision of fisheries equipment to the Ministry of Fisheries by the Korean Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forest will improve service delivery to local fishing communities.
While receiving the timely donation worth $155,000 in Lami this week, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests, Inia Seruiratu said the gesture by the Korean Government will improve the two countries’ broad co-operation.
The donation includes a new SUV vehicle, office equipment including 15 computers, laptops with two photocopiers, life jackets, ice-making machines, spin dryers, sterilizers and a number of sports gears for badminton, baseball and football.
Minister Seruiratu said since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Fiji and Korea in 1971, the two countries have maintained close, amicable and cooperative relations.
He said that through these relations, a number of fisheries personnel have benefitted by way of capacity building and technical trainings in recent years.
“Fisheries personnel benefitted through short term fisheries technical training, mainly at Pukyong National University, Busan over the years for Human Resource Development through training opportunities,” Mr Seruiratu said.
“The capacity building of the personnel was further boosted last year when eight Fisheries staff attended five weeks training in fisheries education and technology while two officers went to pursue Masters Degree.”
Korea has also assisted in expanding human networks in the fisheries sector in Fiji and the South Pacific through the 2012 Korea-South Pacific Fisheries Forum held at the University of the South Pacific four months ago.
Meanwhile, Korea’s Ambassador to Fiji H.E Hae-Wook Cheong said the donation demonstrates his government’s commitment to strengthening friendly and constructive engagements with fisheries’ related authorities of the Pacific island countries.
“Fiji is strategically located in the centre of the South Pacific and has the potential to become the hub of transshipment, processing and export of fish and marine resources which will improve the income and quality of life,” H.E Hae-Wook Cheong added.
4 TIMELY GIFT FROM GOVERNMENT MOTIVATES WOMEN
The Naivurevure Women’s Group in Naitasiri province expressed its gratitude to Government for providing sewing machines as it will now be a source of income for this group.
The Minister for Women Dr Jiko Luveni presented the sewing machines to the group this week during a visit to the Naitasiri province.
Mrs Asilika Vosabalavu, the president of soqosoqo vakamarama Naivurevure says the sewing machines are a blessing for her group and one that will develop their sewing skills and earn income through tailoring.
“Today is very special day for us, as this is the first time for any minister to visit us. Given that we have over 100 school children in our village we will now be able to sew their school uniforms right here at our homes. Sometimes these children don’t have proper school uniforms because the parents can’t afford to pay high prices for the uniforms.
“Women can also sew for wedding and special events in this village. The sewing program will help us to become financially independent,” she said.
Mr Koroi Sigananivalu, mata-ni-tikina (district representative for Waidina) acknowledged government’s continued effort to raise the profile of women in Fiji.
“Women are usually placed in the kitchen and when they come to village meetings they are seated at the back. The rural women face lot of challenges while looking after the needs of their families. We are fortunate to have a Minister who is passionate about developing womens’ needs and motivates them to work hard”, she said.
Mr Sigananivalu said the Naivurevure people support the present government and its initiatives.
“We appreciate the work carried out by this government especially in developing the rural communities through agriculture, fisheries, improvement in infrastructure, roads, health facilities and increased social welfare assistance for the elderly and poor,” he added.
In a similar event this week Dr Luveni also distributed two sewing machines to Volivoli Women’s Group in Sigatoka. She said that sewing program has good economic potential for women.
“Apart from building skills for saving family income and the income generation potential of tailoring, the program enables us to build our network with as many women’s groups as we can. As of today we have covered almost 900 women’s groups and distributed about 1900 sewing machines throughout Fiji,” the Minister said.
5 MINISTRY CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL MOTHER TOUNGUE DAY
The International Mother Tongue Day was commemorated this week at the Ministry of iTaukei headquarters in Suva with a strong emphasis placed on strengthening mother tongue languages.
The Chief Guest was iTaukei linguistic Dr Apolonia Tamata from the University of the South Pacific who reiterated the importance of the event.
“We must ensure that our mother tongue is not only being used through the media but in other new medium too and of course in our communication within the family or community,” Apolonia said.
“United Nations International Mother Tongue Day theme is “Books for Mother Tongue Education” she said.
“Let us use our mother tongue in our everyday greeting with families and friends, let’s use our mother tongue in writing notices in our homes, let’s use our mother tongue to record our history and our culture and tradition,” she said.
She pointed out the importance of language classes and highlighted that the compulsory learning of these languages is a positive step for all Fijians.
“Now that the Ministry of Education will be enforcing the learning of intake and Hindi languages in all schools in Fiji from next year, it is a commendable move,” she said.
International Mother Tongue Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
6 PRESIDENT URGES STUDNETS AND PARENTS TO BE ADVOCATES OF HIV/AIDS
Students of Dilkusha Methodists High School have been encouraged to learn more about HIV/AIDS and to communicate openly with their parents to effectively understand about it.
This was conveyed this week by the His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau during a visit to the school this week.
“HIV/AIDS education begins at home that is where it must begin and should begin from your parents,” President said.
30 new cases were recorded in June last year with 70 percent of new cases from the central and eastern division.
“Your parents have the responsibility to teach you the facts of life and how HIV/AIDS is very much of factor in our society.”
The head of state said for the past 30 years HIV/AIDS has become part of society and we should act to eradicate this disease.
“We can still fight this deadly disease if we combine efforts with families, communities and society.”
The President highlighted that stigmatisation and discrimination amongst people living with the disease remains a global concern and one that Fiji is strongly addressing.
“We need more advocacy programs with families and health centres should provide more awareness to communities to reach out to those in the outer islands,” the head of state said.
Meanwhile the Dilkusha Methodists High School principal Mereoni Motieliu urged the education ministry to strengthen the awareness programs on HIV/AIDS in the school curriculum.
“Talking about HIV/AIDS still is sensitive issue our at our homes because of traditional taboo however we need to change our perspective towards this issue because the younger generation are victims,” Mrs Motieliu said.
Mrs Motieliu reiterated the president’s statements and encouraged parents to talk with their children and become advocates at home and in their own society.
7 ST GILES INSTITUTE UNDERGOES FACELIFT
The treatment of patients at the St Giles Institute that suffer from mental illness should improve through new specialised care services and newly renovated wards.
This was emphasised by the Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma today during special tour to the institute to oversee renovations currently being undertaken at the institute.
As part of the ministry’s capital project for 2013, the $300,000 facelift will focus on providing an enabling environment to assist in patient recovery and rehabilitation.
“There is alot more complications in lifestyle diseases and the models of mental health approach have changed. We are seeing alot more cases of anxiety, cases of depression with related cases of Non-communicable diseases,” Dr Sharma said.
“We need more awareness on mental illness in our communities and people need to change their mindset towards these people because in the past stigmatisation has always been an issue.”
“We will now have wards for the acute patients that will undergo treatment from specialised doctors; separate wards will be constructed to treat mentally disturbed patients and those that are physically challenged.”
Dr Sharma stressed that through specialised treatment, patients and their families should expect improved and efficient services that will greatly assist in the recovery process.
“Post graduate programs have been offered in our local universities to up skill doctors and nurses in this specialised area,” Dr Sharma said.
“Mental health decree is beneficial not only to mental health patrons but also to those practicing mental health care to ensure the mental well-being and prosperity of Fiji’s population.”