25 Jan 2006

Chaos marks beginning of school year in parts of Fiji

11:13 am on 25 January 2006

Serious problems have plagued the start of the new school year in Fiji this week.

The Momi Indian School near Nadi is under police protection following a threat from landowners to close it down because of land lease problems.

This is despite the Native Lands Trust Board renewing the school's lease for another 50 years for a goodwill payment of 6-thousand US dollars.

The landowners say this was done without their consent because they did not want the lease renewed.

At Muaniweni College in Naitasiri, classes were disrupted yesterday as angry parents forced out the school principal who was escorted from the premises under police guard.

The principal of the prestigious indigenous Fijian Queen Victoria School has also been forced out following a demand from disgruntled parents.

Elsewhere, hundreds of students and teachers are stranded, unable to reach their schools because of a lack of shipping services.

As well, there are delays in the processing of some important public examination results in the ministry of education, so promotion to higher forms for large numbers of students is held up.