29 Dec 2009

Free text books now being delivered in Fiji's Eastern Division

4:28 pm on 29 December 2009

Fiji's Ministry of Education has begun its free textbook initiative with distribution to primary schools in the Eastern Division.

The distribution is starting here because of the geographical isolation of the islands in this division and the challenges they face in getting educational resources from the main centres.

The interim Education Minister, Filipe Bole, says the essential texts are being printed in Fiji.

He says the interim government is backing the effort as part of its drive to make education accessible to all, especially economically disadvantaged families:

"No doubt there's going to be quite a cost to it, but we have worked it out and we think that we can do it in two years, the primary in two years and maybe two years for the secondary, it will take about four to five years."

Mr Bole says the government already pays tuition fees and bus fares for students, although he says the transport support may have to be means tested next year as it is intended for families facing the greatest financial challenges.

Fiji's interim regime plans to hand out primary texts in the Northern Division next, followed by the Western Division.