1 Feb 2005

Landowners force students out of Fiji primary school

7:30 am on 1 February 2005

Nearly 300 students at a primary school in Fiji were forced to go home yesterday when traditional landowners took over their classrooms.

The Fiji Times reports that the Nawaicoba Primary School in rural Nadi has been closed indefinitely.

The landowners are demanding 33-thousand US dollars in premium from the ministry of education for the renewal of the school lease.

They say they will continue to occupy the school until they receive their money.

The landowners' spokesman, Vilikesa Tabuavou, says in July last year they had given the education ministry 14 days to pay the amount but nothing had been done.

The minister, Ro Teimumu Kepa, says a meeting will be held today to discuss the issue.

The school manager, Bala Dass, says it was sad the ministry did not act earlier and he had no option but to send the students home.