Education Minister Concedes

All future principals and headteachers at a school run by a faith based organisation will have a clause in their job description which declares that “the head of school uphold and foster the ethos of the school and the school community.

This was one of the three policy agreements struck between the Minister for Education Rosie Akbar and leaders of faith based organisations at a meeting on Monday.

Led by the Archbishop Peter Chong, head of the Catholic Church in Fiji, the faith based organisations managed to get what they were after from the Ministry since the debate on the issue started.

In a message to his church, Peter Chong says the Minister of Education has in principle agreed to their three requests.

The first agreement will make it compulsory for the Ministry to consult.

Consult with the management of a faith communities before appointing a head of school conducted by that faith based organisation,” Archbishop Chong wrote in his message.

Include in the job description for the head of school of a faith based organisation the requirement that the head of school uphold and foster the ethos of the school and the school community,” he added.

The third agreement will allow the Ministry of Education to assess candidates how much they knew about a faith, or a faith-based school where they possibly could be posted.

When assessing the skills and abilities of applicants for head of school managed by a faith community, the interviewing panel have regard for the applicants’ skill and ability at maintaining and fostering the ethos of the school consistent with the school’s history and religious affiliation,” Archbishop Chong wrote.

The Ministry of Education has agreed to put these agreements in a policy.

We will work with the Ministry of Education through dialogue and through win-win approach to see that our requests are fulfilled,” he wrote.

Faith based organisations which attended the meeting with the Education Ministry included the Catholic Church, the Methodist Church of Fiji, Sangam Fiji, Sanatan Fiji, Arya Samaj of Fiji, Assemblies of God and the Seventh-Day Adventist church