Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar says false claims made by SODELPA MP, Ro Teimumu Kepa that there has been a reduction in the boarding grant, amongst other things, has disappointed the Minister.
Akbar says in the case of RKS, the total boarding grant for term 1 was $203,702.47, while the term 2 total grant was $203,704.65. She says contrary to what Ro Teimumu says, there has been a considerable increase in boarding grant.
The Minister says RKS students enjoy healthy and nutritious meals daily. She says this includes crops that they grow because the Ministry wants to teach the young ones the value of hard work and give them life skills to make them self-sustainable, while at the same time, healthy.
Akbar says to tell an outright lie like there is a reduction in food grant is both irresponsible and dangerous and Ro Teimumu should have known better, and at the very least attempted to understand what she was talking about.
She further says in fact, the boarding grant is far in excess of anything that students received under Ro Teimumu Kepa’s tenure as Education Minister.
Akbar has also clarified that there has been no interference whatsoever by the Ministry in religious activities and teachings in any school around Fiji, and Ro Teimumu insinuating otherwise is a blatant attempt to mislead Fijians.
She says as she clearly told Ro Teimumu in parliament, there is a chaplain at RKS and at all Government boarding schools, provided by the Methodist Church who, in agreement with the Ministry, is facilitating their wages. The Minister says that if there are staff quarters free, it is made available to chaplains.
The Education Minister says they followed a due process in the RKS issue which ended in involved students being counselled and set to return to school in Term 2. She says all student grievances are taken very seriously, but they still must be highlighted through proper channels.
Ro Teimumu Kepa had earlier said that the ministry needed to urgently resolve the impasse.
She said the stance taken by the ministry would further escalate the impasse and jeopardise the future of the school.
Ro Teimumu had claimed the root cause of the matter was the failure to respect and uphold the principles and traditional values of the renowned school. She also claimed that one of the most pressing issues brought to their attention is the reduction in food budget for boarding schools.
The SODELPA MP had also said that spiritual life which includes regular church services by the school chaplain, is of great value to students. Ro Teimumu said curtailing or interfering with important components of their daily program brings disaster and resentment.
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