SPEECH AT THE OPENING OF NAGIGI SDA PRIMARY SCHOOL NEW CLASSROOM BLOCKS

I’m delighted to be with you all on this important day for the NagigI Seventh Day Adventist Primary School – a major upgrade of the school’s facilities and one that will benefit every student.

It’s wonderful to see so many bright young faces before me this afternoon. There are now 162 students here compared to a roll of just 20 when this school was established in 1960. And before anything else, I want to say something to each of you young people.

As I keep telling students all over the country. There has never been a more exciting time to be a Fijian. In fact, you are growing up with more opportunity in 2014 than any child has had in Fijian history.

My Government has taken the pressure off your parents and is providing free schooling for the first time. They don’t have to pay your fees any longer here at the primary school or at high school. There is absolutely no reason for any Fijian student to now not finish High School. And if you want to go on to University to become a doctor or a teacher, or to a technical college to become a farmer or a carpenter or a mariner, we will pay for that too. You’ll be able to get a loan from the Government for this and pay us back when you start work.

But if you study hard and become one of the top 600 students, no matter who you are and who your parents are, you will get a scholarship which you do not have to pay back. We also, under the Tertiary Education Scheme, provide living subsidies for those from low-income families.
It’s all about providing a better opportunity for you to gain the knowledge and skills you need when you get older to look after yourself and your own family. But it’s also for the benefit of our nation – part of my Government’s vision to make Fiji a clever country and compete better against the rest of the world.

In return, I ask all of you to work hard at your studies. For your parent’s sake, for your country’s sake but especially for your own sake. Because if you work hard here, all sorts of doors will open up to you and a world of opportunity will be at your feet.

I want you children to think of yourselves as part of a team – Team Fiji – in which we all work together as a nation like a sporting team to make Fiji Great.

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from in the new Fiji. We all have the same chance to get on in life. And I want you to think far beyond your home.

I want more people from Vanua Levu and the rest of Fiji to also go out into the world, to expand their horizons and get jobs in other places.

If you have a good education, the world can be your oyster. So I urge all of you to dream big dreams and to work as hard as you can at school. We are giving you great opportunities. It is up to you to make the most of them. To pick up the ball and run.

For you, it all starts here, in the Nagigi Primary School, which suddenly becomes a much better school today because of the two new classrooms that have been built for you.

I’m very pleased that my Government was able to fully fund this work totaling more than $47,000. But I’m even more delighted because these facilities will immediately improve the quality of teaching and learning in this remote part of Fiji.

For too long, rural and remote school students have been deprived of good facilities but under my Government, all that is coming to an end. Yes, we have some work to do. But we are determined to enhance the learning experience for every child in Fiji. And that means providing schools with proper resources and investing in the future of our young people. Investing in the future of our beloved nation.

Once again, a big thank you, a big vinaka vakalevu for the effort of parents, teachers, staff and the entire community. And I now have much pleasure in officially declaring the two new classrooms open.

Vinaka vakalevu and thank you.