Education

Education ministry’s Disciplinary Services Board disbanded

The Attorney-General & Minister for Civil Service, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, informed the Permanent Secretary for Education yesterday to immediately disband the Disciplinary Services Board within the Ministry of Education, citing concerns on the Board’s operations. The AG stated that the Board’s activities were out of line with the Constitution and that all disciplinary action sought against […]

Newsroom

November 5, 2016 5:22 pm

The Attorney-General & Minister for Civil Service, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, informed the Permanent Secretary for Education yesterday to immediately disband the Disciplinary Services Board within the Ministry of Education, citing concerns on the Board’s operations.

Attorney General Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with representatives from the Fiji Teacher’s Union and the Fijian Teachers’ Association.
Attorney General Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with representatives from the Fiji Teacher’s Union and the Fijian Teachers’ Association.

The AG stated that the Board’s activities were out of line with the Constitution and that all disciplinary action sought against civil servants must go through the Public Service Disciplinary Tribunal established under the Constitution to hear and determine disciplinary action.

“It is not the role of any one ministry or permanent secretary to determine disciplinary action against civil servants in its employ. Ministries have the legal authority only to institute disciplinary action. However, any such disciplinary action needs to be determined by an independent body. That is why the Public Service Disciplinary Tribunal was established under our Constitution, and that is why it must remain as the sole authority in hearing and determining disciplinary action. We need clear, coherent standards of conduct that are fair and by the rules of natural justice for all our civil servants, including teachers,” he said.

He further added that actions taken under the terms and conditions of an employment contract are separate to and distinct from disciplinary action.

The AG informed the Fiji Teacher’s Union and the Fijian Teachers’ Association of this decision in discussions held today, which covered a range of areas of concern in the education sector.

The AG said he would continue to hold regular meetings with several stakeholders to ensure that all Fijian civil servants are treated fairly, with natural justice and by law and that their concerns are given priority.

The AG also informed that Hon. Chief Justice, Anthony Gates has today appointed the three members of the Public Service Disciplinary Tribunal, who are Hon. Justice Seneviratne (Chairperson), Mr Jioji Boseiwaqa (Magistrate) and Ms Waleen George (Magistrate). The appointments are effective as of 4 November 2016 and will last for a term of three years.

The AG noted that this was the first time that the Public Service Disciplinary Tribunal will consist of a High Court Judge and two magistrates.

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