This Fiji Times report begs the question - who is going to pay for ALL these "good initiatives"? In developed countries where such "free" textbooks and transport schemes are part of the elected government's programme, THE TAXPAYERS PAY HEFTY TAXES. Thus, the government is able to keep up with the developments needed by the people, as it is PAID FOR BY THEM since their PAYCHECKS are also in line with their tax bills.
Now, do we as a country have all these systems in place - employments that provide GREAT pay, thus, we're able to pay hefty taxes, which in return will be delivered back to us by such "free" schemes? As it is of now, we don't see any correlation to the LACK OF NATIONAL FINANCES to warrant such schemes as a long term solution. Because the interim regime members are busy building their little empires (e.g. new houses) for the public to have the appropriate finances that will determine that these grandiose schemes will be sustained in the long run.
Monday, February 22, 2010
CLOSE to 7000 students dropped out of the school system before they reached Form 6 in 2008, research has shown.The data gathered by the Foundation for the Education of Needy Children in Fiji (Fenc) showed that of the 21,072 students that enrolled into Class 1 in 1997, only 14,089 made it up to Form 6 in 2008.
About 34 per cent or 6983 students dropped out of school before they reached Form 6 in 2008.
The Ministry of Education confirmed these statistics, saying it was a "big" number which had to be arrested immediately by addressing issues that were promoting the trend.
The ministry said that as of 2008, there were between 203,000 and 205,000 students right across the country.
Data collated by Fenc revealed that in the four years to 2008:
* 2920 students dropped out of school between Class 1 and Class 4, and
* 863 students dropped out of school between Class 5 and Class 7.
Fenc national executive co-ordinator Irshad Ali said poverty was the main reason for the trend.
"We must invest in our children because they are our future," he said. Head of Education Filipe Bole agreed that financial difficulties was one of the reasons why parents were pulling their children out of school early.
He said another reason was the external examinations.
Mr Bole said external exams de-selected students from progressing to the next level.
He said numbers decreased because those who failed exams never returned to school.
"That is one of the main reasons why we have abolished examinations," Mr Bole said.
"In 2012, selection will be entirely based on internal assessments so hopefully, that'll have a big impact on students going forward.
"And any drop-out from 2012 will be the choice of parents and the students.
"This is also where the financial situation of parents will play a larger part where they will need to ensure their children are well-fed and clothed because (school) fees will be gone, textbooks will be the responsibility of the State and transport,"he said. PARENTS WILL FIRST NEED PAID JOBS FOR THESE (FEED AND CLOTHE CHILDREN) TO HAPPEN.
Mr Bole said this strategy was expected to be effective and more and more children would be able to attend school right up to Form 6 and Form 7.
"Parents will no longer have an excuse not to send their children to school," he said.
Mr Bole called on parents all over Fiji to encourage their children to attend school.
"They should have the mindset that education is a priority area. Children must go to school," he said.
He stressed the importance of parents looking after their children's health by ensuring they are fed and clothed well, and to assist them wherever possible with their school work.