We would rather walk out on a school day than during the school holiday although we do not want to disrupt learning in the classrooms.
This was stressed by the Fijian Teachers Association General Secretary Paula Manumanunitoga when asked by FijiVillage to elaborate on his comment on his preferred plan to have the protest on a school day where students may be left unsupervised and lose a school day.
Manumanunitoga says it is unfortunate that the Fiji Trades Union Congress nationwide protest is during the students’ school holidays and the protest is coming on a day that is not really good for the teachers.
He says teachers are there for a purpose which is to educate and supervise, but they are also workers.
He says all the protests conducted in the past by the two teachers’ unions were always held on a school day to create an impact.
He confirms that the FTA members will be taking part in the nationwide protest despite it being a day that teachers are to report to school.
Manumanuni-toga says that their members will not be gathered at a particular place but they will refrain from going to work on Friday.
This Friday is part of the teachers’ only day to prepare for the new school term and all teachers are required to be at work.
Meanwhile in a circular to all Ministry staff, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education Alison Burchell had earlier said that although this falls during the school holidays, any such protest will be unlawful, any participation in such protest will also be unlawful, any incitement or encouragement to participate in such protest will be an unlawful act, and if any Ministry employee participates in the proposed protest, having taken leave or being on school break, their participation will still be unlawful and may be subject to possible disciplinary action or other legal action under a relevant law.
We are currently trying to speak to Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar.
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