Front L-R: Dr Mesake, Deputy Head of SOEd; Mr Hem Chand, Director Primary Education; Professor Govinda Lingam, Head of SOEd; Mr Parvin Nath, Divisional Education Officer Central and Mr Ronald Krishna, Senior Education Officer Primary with the staff of SOEd.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Education (SOEd) will commence the Untrained Teachers project on 27 November, 2017 in order to improve the quality of education of children in Fiji.
This follows a successful meeting between a team of senior staff from SOEd led by Professor Govinda Lingam, Head of School with officials from Fiji’s Ministry Education (MOE) led by Mr Hem Chand, the Director Primary Education (DPE).
Mr Chand’s team shared relevant statistics on teacher quality at both primary and secondary school levels with the staff of SOEd.
Professor Lingam stated that sharing of educational statistics on the quality of teachers is vital as it helps the SOEd to prepare plans to address the issue.
“It is our professional responsibility to respond to the needs of countries in the region. We have the capacity to help the education ministries with the training of untrained teachers and in addressing other issues in education,” Professor Lingam said.
Recent statistics show that over 1000 teachers in Fiji’s education system are untrained and having untrained teachers in the system will adversely affect children’s education.
Professor Lingam stressed that proper education and training of teachers is necessary to raise the standard of education and at the same time, provide enriching learning experience to the children.
He noted that this initiative of training untrained teachers in Fiji will run alongside the Untrained Teachers Project in the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Niue.
“The initiative is well aligned with the mission and objectives of the SOEd, in particular to provide programmes of excellence for teachers through in-service education,” he said.
A Certificate in Primary and Secondary Teaching will provide this group of teachers the necessary credentials to achieve qualified teacher status, and the knowledge and skills gained from the programme would help them negotiate learning at these levels.
The MOE and SOEd have mapped out an in-country plan to facilitate flexi-schools with face-to-face delivery of training in six different venues, namely, Sigatoka, Lautoka, Tavua, Savusavu, Labasa and Laucala.
“A decentralised approach to delivery would be cost-effective and also increase the participation of untrained teachers in the programme,” Professor Lingam added.
“To facilitate this initiative a Coordinator will be based at the Fiji MOE who will be working closely with staff from the SOEd, Mr Chand confirmed.
Professor Lingam thanked the MOE team for bringing the issue to their attention and commended the MOE for its vision to have well qualified teachers at all levels of the education system.
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