Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar has today stressed that the Permanent Secretary for Education appointment is done by the Public Service Commission while school head appointments are done on merit.
This follows comments by some people who are saying that they want a Methodist to be the Principal of Lelean Memorial School instead of Acting Principal Mohammed Feroz Khan, a iTaukei to be the Principal of Adi Cakobau School instead of Acting Principal Bharti Singh and the Fijian Teachers Association General Secretary, Paula Manumanunitoga wanting a local to be the next Permanent Secretary for Education as he says it was difficult to understand former PS, Alison Burchell and she did not consult with them on any issues.
Some ACS ex-students have even said that the school Principal’s post should only be given to a iTaukei based on their foundation and ethos.
Akbar says we should not bring in race and politics when it comes to our children's education.
She says we need to be focused on the outcomes, and there is no room for racism or divisiveness.
Akbar has also made it clear that all heads must and will respect the culture and ethos of the schools they serve.
She also stresses that the appointments of the new Acting Principals of Lelean Memorial School and ACS is based on the Open Merit Recruitment System.
However Methodist Church of Fiji President, Reverend Doctor Epineri Vakadewavosa says they want a Methodist to be appointed as the Principal of the Methodist Church run, Lelean Memorial School.
Secretary of the Lelean Old Students Association, Sakiasi Ditoka has also said in a statement released to all Lelean ex-scholars that Mohammed Feroz Khan, a non-Christian, has been appointed as Lelean’s Acting Principal. Ditoka says towards the end of 2019, the previous Permanent Secretary of Education, Alison Burchell, had confirmed that the then Vice-Principal of Lelean, Marika Sovaki, was to be the new Principal.
Ditoka says the central tenet of Lelean Memorial School has always been Christ, taught in the methodical way of Wesley. They say that the appointment of Khan was done without any consultation with the church leadership as has been done in all previous appointments of leadership in the Methodist Church schools.
He says it is not a personal objection whatsoever against Khan but it is a matter of principle that the government has seen fit to totally and absolutely violate. Ditoka says Lelean has always welcomed teachers of other faiths and ethnic backgrounds into its fold with open arms but at the same time, it has always reserved the leadership role for a member of the Church.
Methodist Church President, Reverend Vakadewavosa says that they have written to the Education Ministry and want the Acting Principal to be changed.
Minister Rosy Akbar stresses that there was no arrangement with the previous Permanent Secretary to appoint the Vice Principal as the Principal this year.
Akbar says the Ministry also has the right to appoint the heads of schools based on merit.
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