Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry has questioned the presence of the Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at Natabua High School on Monday, taking up two hours of the Year 13 students study time to lecture on non-academic issues.
Chaudhry has asked why was the Minister allowed to take up valuable study time of the students to talk on subjects about which information was already generally available.
The FLP Leader says he believes it was nothing short of campaigning among the students who would be qualified to vote at the next general elections.
The former Prime Minister says the subjects covered by the Minister were: careFiji app, information technology, TELS/Toppers, first home buyers grant – information on all of which is readily available through the media or the government website and its publications.
Chaudhry says schools must be left free of political patronage and influence by the government of the day.
He says persons other than academic staff should only be allowed to speak to students on special occasions, and that by invitation only.
The FLP Leader claims in this case, the students were told earlier in the day to report to the Assembly Hall after lunch to hear the Minister speak.
Chaudhry says they had no idea what he was going to talk about.
He says such practice of using schools as political platforms must be roundly condemned.
Chaudhry also says in the lead up to the 2014 general elections, the government had issued notices stopping opposition politicians from speaking at the schools’ end of the year prize-giving ceremonies, despite being invited to do so by the school managers.
We have contacted Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
He is yet to comment.
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