Education

Free textbooks delayed for schools, education officials to face charges

Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum announced yesterday there would be delays in delivering textbooks to schools, and officials in the education ministry would be taken to task. Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at a press conference in Suva yesterday. Photo: DEPTFO. Minister Sayed-Khaiyum, speaking at a press conference: There will be some delays in the delivery of […]

Calvin Prasad

January 24, 2016 3:00 pm

Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum announced yesterday there would be delays in delivering textbooks to schools, and officials in the education ministry would be taken to task.

Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at a press conference in Suva yesterday. Photo: DEPTFO.
Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at a press conference in Suva yesterday. Photo: DEPTFO.

Minister Sayed-Khaiyum, speaking at a press conference:

There will be some delays in the delivery of text books.

At this time, we are positively hoping it will just be a matter of a few weeks, as opposed to some few months that happened last year.

Minister Sayed-Khaiyum said there were a few civil servants undermining such a good policy.

This year, unfortunately, we discovered there’s some shenanigans going on at the ministry of education.

We’ve discovered the ministry of education, knowing full well that the school year starts on the 18th of January, sought quotations for printing of textbooks in December.

Minister Sayed-Khaiyum said the finance ministry received the quotations on the 15th of January, three days before the school term started. Education officials recommended three companies for the procurement following a request for waiver of the tender requirement.

We also realised that two of the three companies being recommended were the same as last year, where they also caused delays.

Now obviously this is competely unaccepatble.

We are reporting this matter to FICAC, reporting the officers involved in the ministry of education, and there may be some officers in Fiji Procurmeent Office who may need to be questioned.

Minister Sayed-Khaiyum said the request for quotations didn’t include timelines for the delivery of the textbooks.

Unfortunately, these printing companies, when they are asked to provide quotations, they were not based on timelines.  So they didn’t seem to be concerned about timelines.

The government announced early last year they would provide textbooks to all primary and secondary students at no cost.

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