TC Winston

Education minister tours Northern schools

The Minister for Education Dr. Mahendra Reddy, and Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji, Karinda D’Aloisio visited Naweni District Primary and Nasavusavu District School in Vanua Levu today. The two schools, Naweni District Primary, and Nasavusavu District School are among the 26 schools announced schools that need repair in support of the Australian Government through AQEP. Australia’s Deputy […]

Peni Shute

April 11, 2016 7:10 pm

The Minister for Education Dr. Mahendra Reddy, and Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji, Karinda D’Aloisio visited Naweni District Primary and Nasavusavu District School in Vanua Levu today.

Education Minister, Dr. Mahendra Reddy with Australia's Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji, Karinda D'Aloisio with students of Naweni District School today. (Peni Shute)
Education Minister, Dr. Mahendra Reddy with Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji, Karinda D’Aloisio with students of Naweni District School today. (Peni Shute/Newswire)
The two schools, Naweni District Primary, and Nasavusavu District School are among the 26 schools announced schools that need repair in support of the Australian Government through AQEP.

Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji, Karinda D’Aloisio and her team also donated literacy and numeracy kits to the schools.

Today we donated some literacy and numeracy kits to the Naweni and Nasavusavu School and this contains teaching resources for the teachers here. To help the children learn to a little more about literacy and numeracy and just to provide them with some additional resources and the same will go to the other school that we are supporting through the ‘adopt the school program’.

We have agreed to adopt 26 schools. Today we were able to visit the different schools and have a talk with the Principals. With our visit a team will go back and do their assessments and from that we will have a look in what we can do.

(L-R) Naweni District School Head Teacher, Mr Penivula Waqalevu, Minister for Education, Dr. Mahendra Reddy and Australia's Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji, Karinda D'Aloisio during a tour of the school today. (Peni Shute/Newswire)
(L-R) Naweni District School Head Teacher, Mr Penivula Waqalevu, Minister for Education, Dr. Mahendra Reddy and Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji, Karinda D’Aloisio during a tour of the school today. (Peni Shute/Newswire)

We will go and see what else we can provide into the future but we are very committed to the long term recovery effort and the immediate response phase through our Australian Defence force and other non-governmental partners. We are looking at it now of how we can assist Fiji as we move through the recovery phase.

Education Minister Dr. Mahendra Reddy said he is grateful to the Australian government’s support.

You would have noted following Cyclone Winston we were supported very strongly by development partners and the Government of Australia has been a leading role in that particular project to assist Fiji to bounce back quickly from the effects of Cyclone Winston. Within two weeks we were able to get classes resumed in temporary building spaces with the help of the government of Australia, government of New Zealand, UNICEF and other development partners.

The government of Australia has also assisted us to ensure that children’s support infrastructure are not affected with respect to stationery and other materials which are required to enhance their learning. The government of Australia and other governments have also provided assistance to ensure that children are fed when they are in school while their parents are spending time to organise their homes and organise extended family members in the villagers.

Dr. Reddy said close to a total of 300 schools need to be repaired and Australia is in talks in Canberra to adopt another 40 schools.

I hope all the schools to be adopted for example Australia has adopted 26 schools that I’m looking at and we are looking at other 40 or so, no they are still discussing in Canberra and we got NZ who are adopting school in Vanua Balavu and so my opinion is that there is a lot of organisation outside in Fiji and a lot of people outside and organisation and Fiji that are going to adopt the school. It needs construction work. Well, we are looking close to 300 schools.

Newswire spoke to the Head Teacher of Naweni District School, Mr. Penivula Waqalevu said he was grateful to the assistance of the Australian government in adopting the school.

We have three classrooms blown away and we have put one class together and the other two are filling in the computer lab. Attendance weren’t good for the first two weeks and we understand that.  Management estimation of the infrastructure and the teacher’s quarters will be $120,000.

Naweni District School Head Teacher, Mr Penivula Waqalevu. (Peni Shute/Newswire)
Naweni District School Head Teacher, Mr Penivula Waqalevu. (Peni Shute/Newswire)

We are happy, it’s the first time for it to reach Naweni, last year it was only to adopt the school program and we received a phone call last two weeks and that they will adopt this school and I am happy to see the turn up of the communities in trying to help this school to recover.

Mr. Waqalevu said 148 students from 2 villages and 13 settlements attends Naweni District school with 7 teachers.

Mr. Jeffrey Fielden, an engineer, was also part of the team that visited the two schools in Vanua Levu, he said a lot of work is needed to be done to reconstruct damaged schools around the country.

Well there is rehabilitation work needed to be done, well we carry out our detail assessment work. Put together an agreed detail of work and then award contracts to construction companies that can carry out the work and we hope that this works finishes by July this year. I have been personally been to six schools. There is a quite significant variation between them and we need to sit down and see what can be done to them and identify the work and agree that with DFAT and the Fijian Government.

Meanwhile, Dr. Reddy revealed that the estimated recovery costs for damaged schools around the country is at $62million which includes two of the Fiji National University (FNU) properties.

The Ministry of Education estimation recovery cost is $58million and plus add another $4million to that project we have with two FNU properties, which is now staged to $62million but with Cyclone Zena, it did not have any effect but with the flooding ensure after that.

The Head Teacher of Nasavusavu School for Special Education, Mr. Isoa Qeleni during a tour of the school with the Minister for Education Dr. Mahendra Reddy today. (Peni Shute/Newswire).
The Head Teacher of Nasavusavu District School, Mr. Isoa Qeleni during a tour of the school with the Minister for Education Dr. Mahendra Reddy today. (Peni Shute/Newswire).

There was no structural damage although it caused a lot of inconveniences in many schools and there was a lot of cleaning up after that, cleaning up after that you know the disruption of classes.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.