Posts tagged Education

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.

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama Officiates Corpus Christi College Graduation

Fijian Prime Minister Bainimarama’s Speech at the 2013 Graduation Ceremony of Corpus Christi College

I’m delighted to be here as Chief Guest at the 2013 Graduation Ceremony of Corpus Christi College – one of the great institutions of Fijian education.

The College was founded 55 years ago and this is the 53rd graduation ceremony.

So for more than half a century, the Roman Catholic Church has been training primary school teachers here for Fiji’s schools and I want to thank it for its service to the nation.

I especially want to direct my comments today to those of you who are graduating as teachers. Because you have the good fortune to be doing so at the most exciting moment for education in Fijian history.

In the 2014 Budget last Friday, I was proud to announce that for the very first time, we are introducing free education for primary and secondary students and a loans scheme for tertiary students.

This commitment of more than half a billion dollars from a total budget of just over two billion dollars is one of the most important things we have ever done as a nation.

It is more than just relieving the burden of education on ordinary Fijian families, generations of whom have gone to bed at night worried about how they will pay their children’s school fees.

It is the best investment we can make as a nation in the future of our young people, the quality of our schools and the quality of our teachers. And it is the best investment we can make to fulfil my Government’s vision of Fiji as a clever country, a nation peopled by those with fine minds and fine skills.

Any nation that is willing to invest almost a fifth of its national budget in education is a nation that takes education seriously. No Fijian child is going to be left behind. Poverty will no longer be a barrier to education. Everyone will get a primary and secondary education. And no-one who wants to go to University or learn a trade will be prevented from doing so because they can’t afford it.

Put simply, we are positioning Fiji not only to be a smarter country to improve our own living standards but to assume a leadership role in the region and improve the living standards of all Pacific Islanders.

So to all you graduates here today, this is the vision we want you to embrace, to share. This is the task that, together, we can accomplish.

In the process, your own careers are going to be a lot more satisfying as you see more resources pumped into the education system. And of course, we hope that over time, this investment attracts many more people of quality into the teaching profession.

Of all the vocations, teaching is among the most noble. As you all know, it is not simply about imparting knowledge – vital as that may be. Young children, especially, need to be taught a range of broader life skills and values – to think creatively, to develop a spiritual dimension, to be considerate of others, to be caring, to regard themselves as both individuals and members of a team.

In the new Fiji that we are building together, we also want more emphasis on genuine fairness – the notion that every Fijian, whatever their background, is the same as anyone else and deserves the same treatment. While we respect and celebrate our different cultures and beliefs, we are all equal under our new Constitution, with the same rights and obligations. And we are One Nation, with opportunity and justice for all.

This is the basis of all the great democracies, which we intend to become ourselves when we hold our election next year. And so is the notion of patriotism, of being instilled with a love of country. In our case, always putting the nation’s wider interest before our own – putting Fiji First.

You have a solemn duty as teachers to instil these values of nation- building in our children. Here at Corpus Christi, the values of care and inclusiveness are already part of the fabric of this institution. Take them out into the nation’s classrooms with you as you leave.

In conclusion, I want to again congratulate the 34 students who are about to graduate.

The entire nation joins me in thanking you all today for dedicating your lives to the teaching of our children.

Always be compassionate and caring but also firm in instilling the highest standards of personal behaviour.

Above all, teach them well. They are our nation’s future and the bedrock of our vision to make Fiji Great.

Vinaka vakalevu – thank you.

EDUCATION IS THE WAY FORWARD

Prime Minister at Corpus Christi Graduation11/14/2013

Dedicating almost a fifth of the entire national budget to education demonstrate Government’s seriousness towards making Fiji a nation led by bright and young individuals.

And for this, Prime Minister Josaia Bainimarama was congratulated by head of Catholic Church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong in the move towards availing primary and secondary education to all for free.

Speaking at the Corpus Christi Teachers’ College graduation, the Prime Minister told the graduating teachers that the education budget was the best investment “we can make to fulfil my Government’s vision of Fiji as a clever country, a nation peopled by those with fine minds and fine skills”.

“Any nation that is willing to invest almost a fifth of its national budget in education is a nation that takes education seriously. No Fijian child is going to be left behind,” the head of Government said.

“Poverty will no longer be a barrier to education.”

The archbishop said this was important to the church because education has been an integral part of the church’s mission from the early days.

Two of the 34 graduates of Corpus Christi Teachers’ College, who will soon join the ranks of the rest of the teaching fraternity, said they were happy with the move to make primary and secondary education free.

For 22 year old Lavina Reddy of Labasa the happiness she feels for her future students is tinged with a bit of sadness.

“When I heard the Prime Minister speaking today on free education I had tears in my eyes because I remembered how hard my parents worked to send me to school especially since they are farmers,” she said.

“I just wished the Government’s in the past had the foresight to do that but I am happy that parents will no longer struggle.”

Another inspired youth, Amenatave Rokodave from Naitasiri believes that there should be no school dropouts now, which was prominent in the past.

The proud teacher said he was happy that the profession he has entered will help the nation by educating young people who lead the nation in the future.

The 2014 budget has allocated $541.5m to education and Corpus Christi, which is managed by the Church, has received a grant of $150,000.

PRIORITISE YOUR STUDIES

10/19/2013
PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has impressed upon students the importance of dedicating time and prioritizing their studies over other activities.

Speaking to students from military background at the closing of a seven week revision session organised by the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Wives and Mothers Club, Prime Minister Bainimarama said education was Government’s priority because it envisions a nation led by a smarter group of people in the future.

He said the 15 telecentres opened in schools around the country was a testimony of the priority and commitment Government had made towards education and it will continue to open more such centres for the benefit of the students living in rural areas.

The Prime Minister said Government not only wants more educated youth in the job market, it also wants to see youth who create employment whereby providing jobs for 10 to 15 more people.

“We don’t only want educated people who are looking for work, we want people who can create jobs and employ 10 to 15 people themselves. This is how we will grow our economy,” Prime Minister Bainimarama told the students, parents and teachers at Ratu Sukuna Memorial School.

He commended the students for sacrificing their Saturdays.

PM Bainimarama’s Office Opens New Kindergarten in Tailevu

The Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister Office, Pio Tikoduadua has urged parents and guardians of Matacaucau village to be conscious of their children’s educational needs.

Opening a new kindergarten in Matacaucau in Tailevu which was funded by the PM’s Office at a cost of $9000 this week, PS Tikoduadua pointed out that government’s educational reforms is designed to assist all Fijians.

“Bainimarama government in its commitment to easing access to education and removing barriers to learning has made education affordable with the provision of free text books and bus fare assistance schemes,” Mr Tikoduadua said.

The permanent secretary also added that people must change their attitudes and mindset towards education.

“Investing in your children’s education will assist them in making sound decisions later in life and also become good citizens,” Mr Tikoduadua said.

“Having an education not only means getting white collar jobs, there are also initiatives put in place by government to encourage young people to take up farming.”

While urging parents of the school and the vanua of Matacaucau to make good use of the new kindergarten, Mr Tikoduadua said “you must work together to increase the school roll in years to come”.

Commending the assistance by government, Matacaucau’s Turaga ni koro (village headman), Sakeasi Mateituka said that the villagers were thankful for the timely assistance provided.

“I wish to thank government for listening to our humble plea of assistance in the opening of a new kindergarten classroom block,” Mateituku said.

“I can also see the delight and excitement today in the faces of our children and I am sure that these new kindergarten will go a long way in assisting with their education.”

School teacher, Rafaela Aditamana shared similar sentiments and said that she was pleased with the assistance by government as this will mean having a new classroom for her pre-schoolers.

The kindergarten has a school roll of 19.

Fijian Prime Minister Voreque Bainimarama’s speech at the Launching of the Dairy Industry in the West

Yalalevu, BA

The CEO and Staff of Southern Cross Foods;

Distinguished Guests which includes our Farmers;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Ni sa Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

I’m delighted to again be in Ba – one of the most vibrant and progressive commercial centers in Fiji – and especially for this event, the opening of the first chilling center in the Western Division and handing over of cows and milk cans.

Nothing is more important to Fiji’s future than for us to become self-sufficient in food production.

This is especially so in the case of the Milk Industry, where our reliance on imports is unacceptably high.

As a nation, we consume around 77 million liters of milk annually but we produce only 10 or 11 million liters.

There is a huge shortfall which provides a fantastic opportunity for farmers and investors to make sustained livelihoods and profits from milk production.

My Government has provided various incentives to encourage investment in farming and in this instance dairy farming by way of tax breaks, reduction in tariff rates and specific funding through the Ministry of Agriculture.

However, today’s event of the opening of the first such chilling plant in the Western Division has been made possible because my Government has facilitated private sector investment.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we always need to think outside the box – not be constrained unnecessarily by the practices of the past but to actively seek new ways of doing things.

We need to modernize and become efficient without losing sight of the need to provide sustained livelihood and opportunities for all.

This philosophy underpins my Government’s economic program.

Such an approach assists the poor, creates jobs and opportunities and sustained livelihoods that flow from encouraging investment through a transparent system.

Following the reform of Rewa Dairy Co-Operative Limited and which saw the name change to Fiji Dairy Limited and the separation of the processing arm from the production, which led to the formation of Fiji Dairy Co-operative Limited, Southern Cross Foods Limited following a bidding process, purchased the processing arm.

This reform, Ladies and Gentlemen, meant the end of corruption, mismanagement, outdated technology, stagnation and inefficiency. It now, amongst other things, means focused attention on milk production and animal husbandry by the Ministry of Agriculture and the farmers, it means the introduction of new technology and it means the expansion of the Dairy Industry into new areas of Fiji.

This is how we are here today. Another chilling center we understand will soon be commissioned in Yaqara.

The draft Constitution on which you had consultations here in Ba yesterday, incorporates a number of first time provisions including an extensive Bill of Rights. The proposed Bill of Rights includes a number of first time socio-economic rights. For example, the right to economic participation means that every Fijian will have the right to freely and fully participate in the“economic life of the nation which includes the right to choose their own work, trade, occupation, profession and other means of livelihood.”

While the expansion of the Bill of Rights will place an obligation on future elected governments to cater for these rights, my Government has already started work in this area – a manifestation of that is today. By expanding the Dairy Industry to the Western Division and providing the resources to our citizens, we are increasing their ability to participate in the economic life of our nation.

We of course want a just society, a prosperous society, a caring society, one in which all of us enjoy equal opportunity for ourselves and our children and are judged on our merits as individuals.

I take this opportunity to urge you all to make your submissions on the draft constitution. A constitution needs to be finalized very soon so we can have elections by 30 September 2014.

I wish to pay tribute today to the work of both Southern Cross Foods Limited on its collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.

I encourage more Fijians to take advantage of this exciting collaboration. With the diverse opportunities created by this collaboration, dairy farming can provide a healthy return for those willing to invest in just a few cows, let alone a big herd.

So I’d encourage more Fijians to take up dairy farming and more Fijians to buy local milk products rather than choose the imported varieties.

By choosing Fiji Dairy Products, you buy Fijian and make your own little investment on and contribution to our economic future.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

PM Voreqe Bainimarama Opens Taveuni South Secondary School

PM Bainimarama Opens Lamiti Crossing

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s Speech at the Opening of Taveuni Secondary School

Ni Sa Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

Of all the many events on my current tour of the Northern Division, I’ve been especially looking forward to this – to celebrate the opening of the South Taveuni Secondary School.

Nothing is more important to me as your Prime Minister than to ensure that our young people get the head start in life that a proper education provides.

Every one of you students are the building blocks of the new Fiji we are striving to achieve – one based on equality and merit.

We want to give you the opportunity to acquire knowledge, gain new skills and prepare you for the challenges of a modern world that is much more competitive than it was when I was sitting in your place.

Just as no-one owes you a living, no-one owes Fiji a living.  We have to all work harder and be smarter, to see opportunities when they arise and seize them, as individuals and as a nation.

The role of Government is to provide you with as many opportunities as we can – not only with schools like this but with skills training after you leave school to best equip you for the workforce.

Some of you will have the ambition to go to university. Work hard to pursue that dream. We are here to help poorer students who previously couldn’t fulfil that dream with our new 2.2-million dollar Tertiary Education Loan Scheme.

I am currently looking at revamping the current loan and scholarship schemes so that any Fijian who wants a tertiary education can get one. So no Fijian student who gains university entrance will be prevented from taking up their place because they can’t afford it.

But apart from becoming teachers, doctors and a whole range of other professional roles, there are lots of other worthwhile jobs for people who don’t go on to university.

Fiji badly needs more skilled trades people, so much so that I want you all to know that I believe a plumber or an electrician is as important to the country as a doctor or any other professional.

That is why the Government has embarked on a major program with the Fiji National University to train a new generation of trades people.

The same goes for farmers, who are the backbone of our country and need better training in farming methods to achieve our vision of Fiji becoming self sufficient in food production.

I recently launched a new program – also through the Fiji National University – to train a new generation of farmers. Many of the young people in the first intake come from poor families. So it was very inspirational to see them embrace the opportunity they’d been given. Their enthusiasm proves that poverty doesn’t have to be a barrier to success.

So I urge all of you to strive to fulfil your dreams through better education and grasp the opportunities my Government is providing.

Of course, your journey is in the here and now. And I am grateful lto everyone who has had a hand in the construction and establishment of  the South Taveuni Secondary School.

The school draws its pupils from fifteen communities along the Vuna Road, including Vatuwiri, Nalovo, Kanacea, Ura Estate, Navaca, Qarawalu and Waioboa.

The feeder schools are the four Primary Institutions of Navakawau Catholic School, Vuna District, Salialevu Primary and South Taveuni. The parents of the children there will be relieved that they don’t have to travel nearly as far now for their secondary education.

For the first time, secondary education is being brought to your doorstep. So I urge all of the residents of South Taveuni  not to use the excuse of distance or isolation to avoid sending your children to high school.

 

Of course, funding for the construction for the school has come from the Ministry of Education, which is also providing $198-thousand this year for a new science laboratory.

But any school is only as good as the community around it and the support it gets from teachers, parents, local businesses and the students themselves.

To the staff here, I say: Be good role models. Fire the imaginations of your pupils. Open up a world of possibilities for them in the new Fiji and beyond our shores. Encourage them to be good citizens. Teach them well and care for them, especially the more vulnerable.

To the 171 students here, I say:  Care for each other.  Respect your teachers and listen to their advice. Make good use of the new buildings and facilities. Keep them in good order for yourselves and future generations here. Take pride in your school and strive to develop a school spirit, of teamwork and healthy competition in the classroom and on the sports field.

You can feel proud to be the pioneering students of South Taveuni Secondary School. In future years – maybe when your own children are here – you can say “I was the first” and together, we began to build a reputation for excellence.

Good schools are built gradually and that is what is happening here. At the moment, you have forms two, three and four. I urge you to work hard to achieve our aim to have level seven by 2016.

To the School Management, parents, guardians and the South Taveuni community, you should feel proud of your achievement. Because building this school is an important part of building our nation, of providing opportunities and fulfilling dreams.

We all need to work together, to be more considerate of each other as citizens, to see ourselves as equals, to treat people on their merits instead of which family they happen to come from. And we also need to be more patriotic, to take pride in being Fijian, which is what we now all are.

Once again, thank you for your efforts and your contribution to education and the nation as a whole. May God bless you all and especially the students and staff of the South Taveuni Secondary School.

I now take great pride myself in officially declaring the school open.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.