The Labour govt. was fully cognisant of the special needs of indigenous education but had a different approach to that of other governments.
The FLP said in reply to an editorial comment (21/1/10) titled “Welcome Revolution” in the Fiji Times. The paper claimed that all governments had focused on the “supposed need” to increase assistance for indigenous education except for the Labour Coalition.
This is not quite true. The Labour Coalition Government was fully aware of the need for special focus in education for the indigenous community. Hence, it did not in any way dilute the emphasis, and allocation, given to helping the indigenous community, as implied by the Fiji Times
At the same time, we were aware of the need to remove discriminatory practices that existed where minority communities were concerned in line with the provisions of the 1997 Constitution which required affirmative action to be based on needs and not race.
Obviously the operative phrase in the Fiji Times editorial is “supposed need” – the implication being that the policy of continually increasing funding may have been misplaced.
And that is true. There was a need to focus on the quality of education available to the indigenous community as opposed to simply increasing funding. This is where the People’s Coalition Government had concentrated heavily on – improving facilities and the quality of teaching, in rural schools in particular.
(A letter in response to the editorial was sent to The Fiji Times but has not been published to date)