20 Nov 2003

Outrage at Fiji Education Ministry freeze

7:45 am on 20 November 2003

There's outrage in Fiji over the education ministry's decision to freeze the development of new educational establishments next year.

Fiji TV reports that a ministry memo sent to schools says there will be no new forms 7 next year, no additional classes, no added subjects and no new schools.

This is despite the education ministry budget being increased by almost 10-million US dollars in 2004.

The secretary of the Fiji Teachers Union, Agni Deo Singh, says this is the opposite of what should be happening because schools around Suva and other major urban areas are already overcrowded and need extra teachers and classrooms.

Mr Singh says the decision means putting education out of reach of the poor and he is waiting for a face-to-face meeting with edcuation ministry officials to seek an explanation.

The education minister, Ro Temumu Kepa, was not aware of the instructions sent by her officials and said the decision will be reviewed by the end of the year.