The Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy has said that Opposition member Viliame Gavoka’s petition to Parliament meant to rescind the original idea to set up a Technical College as a sign of ignorance.
“This news is shocking because Mr Gavoka should know better. He is from the province and the Nadroga Provincial Council – the representative of the people have approved the conversion of the school into the Technical College in principle,” Minister Reddy said.
This is after an effective presentation, discussion and dialogue between the Ministry of Education and the Nadroga/Navosa Provincial Council on 12th June, 2015.
The Chairman of the Nadroga Navosa Provincial Council, Ratu Waka Vosailagi said that the school would be converted into a Technical College and it was only proper that the Council inform the church in their capacity as landowner, of the change.
The Deputy Chair of the Council, who has extensive technical experience, commended governments new policy direction to set up Technical Colleges in all divisions and to close vocational centres attached to secondary schools as it was beneficial for the province.
This is at the very heart of the Ministry of Education’s reform which is to provide alternative pathways to students and create opportunities for themselves in Fiji’s industrial economy.
“This issue is shocking because Mr Gavoka has decided to criticize the programme designed to increase the skilled base programmes of our nation and benefit every Fijian. To date, the Ministry of Education has established Technical Colleges in Suva, Nadi and Labasa and we want to create opportunities for the students of the Nadroga/Navosa Province.
“This skilled based programme is meant to grow the nation and raise the living standards for all Fijians. The petition also shows that Mr Gavoka is misguiding the people and he is attacking the very people whose welfare he was claiming to represent by undermining their ability to improve themselves.
“Apart from this, Mr Gavoka has not understood the link with this wider global labour reform now taking place in Fiji and abroad. What this MP suggests is that Fijian young people be deprived of the opportunities this network is providing for their benefit and this is what he wants to abandon in this initiative,” Minister Reddy said.
The Minister for Education wants to make it clear that the Bainimarama Government has a commitment and a vision for a new Fiji and we want to re-landscape Fiji’s new intellectual climate by training our young people through up skilling and empowering them in the labour market, building a stronger economy and increasing opportunities for the prosperity of everyone.
Minister Reddy added that it would have been beneficial and constructive both in the short term and the long term if Mr Gavoka had prior discussion and consultation with the people and the Provincial Council before misleading the Parliament and the nation, showing his ignorance to govern.
“For the benefit of the Honourable Member and those who may want to indulge in this issue, this matter has been part of the resolution of the Nadroga/ Navosa Provincial Council to convert Nadroga/Navosa Provincial School into a Technical College and a letter of unconditional support was corresponded to the permanent secretary for Education dated 23rd of June 2015,” Minister Reddy said.