25 May 2009

Student teachers ending studies early to fill gaps in schools

11:10 am on 25 May 2009

Fiji unions remain angry at the removal of nearly one thousand teachers a month ago when the interim government forced civil servants to retire at 55 instead of 60.

The regime implemented the policy at the end of April in an effort to cut the costs of the civil service.

The President of the Fijian Teacher's Association, Tevita Koroi, says some student teachers have been released early to teach fulltime and those trained to teach junior level students have been asked to take on senior classrooms.

"It will affect the quality of education. It will affect the quality of the administration and management of schools. People have not been prepared well to leave schools. I have had experiences in the last two days where teachers have called to say they need guidance in some areas."

Tevita Koroi says the shortfall in teacher numbers is affecting classroom attendance, students' level of understanding, quality of work and their preparation for examinations in a few months.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Education is reassuring the public that all schools are expected to be fully staffed by next week.