22 Sep 2016

Fiji's teachers union says gagging letter 'retracted' by ministry

4:36 pm on 22 September 2016

Fiji's teachers' union says the Education Ministry has retracted a letter it sent to all schools on Tuesday banning any unapproved speeches and interviews.

The letter, sent by permanent secretary Iowane Tiko, said all communications with parents, the media, and the community had to be approved after requests in writing with drafts were sent to the ministry.

The general secretary of the Fiji Teachers' Union, Agni Deo Singh, said he was astounded at the letter, but spoke to Mr Tiko today, who agreed to withdraw it.

He said it was clear no thought at all was given before it was sent.

But he said it was just one of a number of problems teachers faced.

"We have had our highest rate of teachers being disciplined or demoted or terminated in the history of this country and the rules have been applied in a ruthless manner and of course not always in a correct manner. We have serious problems with that and we are trying to address that."

Schoolchildren at Daku Village School, Fiji

Schoolchildren at Daku Village School, Fiji Photo: RNZI/Sally Round