22 Sep 2016

Fiji education ministry gag on teachers 'outrageous'

4:02 pm on 22 September 2016
Fiji's Education Minister Mahendra Reddy.

Fiji's Education Minister Mahendra Reddy. Photo: RNZI / Sally Round

Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says an attempt by the government to muzzle teachers is outrageous.

Fiji's Education permanent secretary, Iowane Tiko, wrote to all school heads on Tuesday banning all public speeches and interviews that don't seek formal approval first.

The letter threatened suspension or termination for breaches, and defined "public" as including parents and the media.

All of Fiji's teachers are paid by the government, including those in private and religious schools.

The leader of the Fiji Labour Party, Mahendra Chaudhry said the letter was outrageous and the teachers' union must react.

"I think it's just outrageous and as far as I'm concerned I think the teachers and the union should come out strong on this, they should resist it and just don't obey this directive instruction."

Mahendra Chaudhry said the instructions were anti-free speech and also impractical.

The Fiji Teachers Union said the ministry retracted the letter today.

Fiji Education Ministry Circular to heads of schools September 2016

Fiji Education Ministry Circular to heads of schools September 2016 Photo: Fiji Ministry of Education