1. EDUCATION IS FREE: GOVERNMENT WARNS SCHOOLS AGAINST MISLEADING PARENTS – The Ministry of Education permanent secretary, Dr Brij Lal has reminded schools and parents on the recent announcement by the Prime Minister that education for students in 2014 will be free.
2. VETERINARY SERVICES RESUME AT SEAQAQA OFFICE – The Ministry of Agriculture has resumed its Veterinary Services in Seaqaqa in Vanua Levu.
3. FOOD PROCESSING TRAINING AT NAVOSAI – The Food Product Development Laboratory of Koronivia Research Station recently conducted a two day-training on how to use basic crops for the women of the Navosai Methodist Church Circuit at Narere near Suva.
4. 15 SENIOR POLICE OFFICERS TO TRAIN IN CHINA – The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Fiji today hosted a ceremony for 15 senior police officers who will undergo training in China for three weeks.
5. AWARDS SUPPORT SME ENTREPRENEURS – The 10th Fiji Development Bank Small Business Award recognized Fiji’s aspiring Small and Medium Entrepreneurs on Thursday night at the Studio 6 in Suva.
6. FNU BEGINS WORK ON MULTI MILLION DOLLAR VANUA LEVU CAMPUS – The Minister for Education National Heritage Culture and Arts, Filipe Bole officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony at Fiji National University Naiyaca Campus in Labasa yesterday.
1 EDUCATION IS FREE: GOVERNMENT WARNS SCHOOLS AGAINST MISLEADING PARENTS
The Ministry of Education permanent secretary Dr Brij Lal has reminded schools and parents on the recent announcement by the Prime Minister that education for students in 2014 will be free.
Dr Lal was reacting to recent reports on newsletters issued by schools for parents to make advance payments on school levies for 2014.
“I want to make it very clear that no one whether the management nor the head teachers and principals should be charging advance payment for 2014 school fees. The Prime Minister of the country has clearly announced in the 2014 budget that all school fees for 2014 will be paid by the government and no school should be burdening the parents on this,” remarked Dr. Lal.
“The only fees that management can collect from parents now are the outstanding levies for and before 2013.There has been newsletters circulated to parents to make advance payments now on the 2014 school fees and refunds will be made to them when grants are paid out by the government. I wish to inform teachers sending such newsletters that this is an act of insubordination. As civil servants, we should be giving our full support to all new initiatives undertaken by the government,” commented Dr. Lal.
“The Minister has been saying it and I am confirming it now that parents should not be coerced into making advance payments for the 2014 school fees. A circular will be released soon to all schools on this issue,” added Dr. Lal.
“I also wish to notify all school managements and school heads that any previous approval of school fees before the 2014 budget by the Permanent Secretary for Education has been revoked and should not be used on parents to make advance payments on the 2014 school fees. The circular that will be circulated to schools will define the boundaries of this new initiative by the government,” said Dr. Lal.
Schools sending newsletters to parents on the advance payment of fees are advised that this is not acceptable and will not be tolerated by the Ministry of Education.
“The government is pursuing all avenues possible to reduce financial burden on the parents and to ensure that all Fijian children have access to quality education. Stakeholders of the education fraternity should adhere to this dream and ensure that this is realized in all schools for a better and improved Fiji,” concluded the Permanent Secretary.
2 VETERINARY SERVICES RESUMES AT SEAQAQA OFFICE
The Ministry of Agriculture has resumed its Veterinary Services in Seaqaqa in Vanua Levu.
The Veterinary Services in Seaqaqa started in early 2012 when a Livestock Officer was appointed to Seaqaqa Agriculture Station.
The Ministry’s principal agriculture officer Animal Health and Production, Napolioni Seru, said internal changes had limited the availability of services.
“Veterinary Services resumed from the mid of this year at Seaqaqa Agriculture Office on part time basis,” Mr Seru said.
Livestock Officer, Dharmen Prasad will be available at the Seaqaqa Extension office on Tuesdays and on Fridays.
“On the other three days of the week, he will be available at the Dreketi Agriculture Office.”
Livestock farmers can contact Mr Prasad during the given time for drugs sales, vet cases and farm visits.
During emergency cases he can be contacted on 9224609.
3 FOOD PROCESSING TRAINING AT NAVOSAI
The Food Product Development Laboratory of Koronivia Research Station recently conducted a two day-training on how to use basic crops for the women of the Navosai Methodist Church Circuit at Narere near Suva.
The training which ended this week focused on Food and Income Security, Poverty Alleviation, Import Substitution Program and Export Promotions Program.
Director for Crop Research at the Ministry of Agriculture Miliakere Nawaikula said the training was on value adding processes with the view to teach the women how to use basic crops to earn income and provide better food for their families.
“Some of the value adding techniques that we have taught the women of Navosai included making Cassava roll, Coconut salad, Plantain chips, Peanut sauce, Pawpaw pickle, Fish pineapple pickle, Kumala ice-cream, Lemon sauce, Ginger/Pineapple Hot drinks and Tamarind leaf Juice,” Mrs Nawaikula said.
One of the participants at the training, Asenaca Cavalevu was very appreciative of the training and said that it will enable them to utilize local produce in creative ways for their family to use.
“Now we can make our own products out of the crops we grow instead of buying them from the markets,” said Ms. Cavalevu.
“We are grateful to the Ministry of Agriculture for teaching us how to do value adding from the crops that we plant which will help us save money.”
“It is also a healthy source of food for our families,” Ms. Cavalevu said.
4 15 SENIOR POLICE OFFICERS TO TRAIN IN CHINA
The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Fiji today hosted a ceremony for 15 senior police officers who will undergo training in China for three weeks.
The Embassy’s political councillor Mr Yang Zhaohui said this is a good opportunity for the police force from both countries to exchange and learn from each other.
“The Chinese police are the biggest in the world with 2.5 Million efficient staff maintaining social stability and national security.”
Since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of police co-operation between China and Fiji in 2011, there has been a rapid progress in police teamwork.
The Acting Commissioner of Police Ravi Narayan thanked the People’s Republic of China for their co-operation and assistance rendering not only to the Fiji police force but to Fiji as a whole.
“This assistance and co-operation that we are getting from the republic of china is a area we have been looking forward to carry the MOU forward and it gives the Fiji police force an opportunity to grow in terms of leadership, co-operation, exchange, network, building our capability, knowledge and skills,” said Mr Narayan.
Mr Narayan wished the team well in their assignment and advised them to gain as much knowledge and skills they can get to bring back home as well as enjoy the hospitality of the Chinese counterpart.
5 AWARDS SUPPORT SME ENTREPRENEURS
The 10th Fiji Development Bank Small Business Award recognized Fiji’s aspiring Small and Medium Entrepreneurs on Thursday night at the Studio 6 in Suva.
The Bank’s chief executive officer Mr Deve Toganivalu said the importance of the SME’s has grown in stature since the Awards inception 10 years ago.
“In the time since, the importance of SME’S has increased in Fiji. They are considered to be the cogs that drive the wheels of Fiji’s economy,” Mr Toganivalu said.
Mr Toganivalu said SME’s is a reliable source of employment and financial opportunities for the majority of Fijians.
“SME’s is particularly importance to those who have limited or no access to employment that offers a regular wage or salary,” Mr Toganivalu said.
Mr Toganivalu commended the Government of the day for creating an enabling business climate for SME’s in the 2014 Budget announcement.
“The announcement of the $500,000 threshold now eligible for tax exemption,” Mr Toganivalu said.
Thirteen awards were given on different categories during the FDB Small Business Award this year.
Awards were presented in various categories that promoted Agriculture, Livestock, Wholesale, Manufacturing, Tourism, Professional Business and Best Risk Management.
The overall winner was Mr Richard Devendra who owns Dreamz Wedding Planner of Ba.
Mr Devendra also received the Professional Business Services Award. His business included wedding planning, catering and decoration of wedding venues.
As an incentive to small and medium enterprises, in the 2014 national budget Government has increased the tax exemption threshold from $300,000 turnover to $500,000 for small businesses in the country.
6 FNU BEGINS WORK ON MULTI MILLION DOLLAR VANUA LEVU CAMPUS
The Minister for Education National Heritage Culture and Arts Filipe Bole officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony at Fiji National University Naiyaca Campus in Labasa yesterday.
“This ground breaking is a testament of government’s firm commitment towards the goal of making Education affordable and accessible to its people,” said Ambassador Bole in his opening remarks.
“The government has allocated a capital grant of $4.5 million for the construction of Naiyaca and Navua Campus,” added Ambassador Bole.
“This is good news for the people of Vanua Levu as they will not have to be financially burdened to travel to mainland to pursue tertiary education,” said Turaga Tui Macuata Ratu Williame Katonivere.
“This will be a state of the art campus for Fiji as it is entirely built with its own design with accommodation facilities, lecture theaters, sporting facilities and a gymnasium” said Dr. Chand the vice chancellor of FNU.
“Naiyaca Campus will be declared green campus as energy will be generated from renewable energy sources. FNU is committed to environmentally friendly and sustainable development projects, added Dr. Ganesh Chand.
“Parents should ensure their children go beyond secondary education as the government has introduced Tertiary Education Loan Scheme at low interest rates payable once students have received employment,” concluded Ambassador Bole.
The Naiyaca Campus will offer a range of programmes in Business, Commerce, Basic Hospitality Courses, Teacher Training Programmes, Sports Science, Engineering Studies at a lower level and even Basic Maritime Studies.
The fully fledged Naiyaca Campus is expected to be completed by 2018; however classes will begin come 2014.