12 Jul 2006

Thousands of Fiji students dropping out of school early

12:58 pm on 12 July 2006

A study in Fiji has found that about 17,500 students drop out of school every year because their parents cannot afford to keep them there.

The Fiji Sun reports that the study by the Fijian Teachers Association found that the parents of these students earn an average income but this is diverted to other obligations rather than education.

The Fijian Teachers Association's project manager, Josefa Nainima, says children leave school as early as Class One and the result shows up later in secondary schools where few students make it up to Form Seven or to university and other tertiary institutions.

He says this is because traditional obligations and donations to churches frequently take priority over meeting the costs of education.

Mr Nainima says as a consequence children often become victims of wrong decisions that result in high dropout rates and poor academic performance.