Free education program likely to continue to get appropriate funding

Free education program likely to continue to get appropriate funding

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 14/07/2021
[image: File]

Programs like free education and the bus fare subsidy are expected to continue to receive appropriate funding in the 2021-2022 National Budget despite the current circumstances.

However, this will be all be linked to how and when schools will be safe for re-opening and how much funding will be needed to ensure both students and teachers are able to effectively learn and teach from home with the necessary resources if the current situation continues.

There is also expected to be targeted assistance for schools still recovering from Tropical Cyclone Yasa although Australia has already stepped in to provide relief in that area in this financial year.

This was in the form of a grant of $19.7 million grant for the reconstruction of 9 schools damaged by TC Yasa in the Northern Division.

These schools are Lekutu Secondary School, Lekutu District School, Nukubulu Primary School, Maramarua District School, Dreketi District School, Bua District School, Dama District School, Wailevu West District School and Ratu Luke Memorial School.

In this financial year, there was a reduction in the free education grant and 13,000 plus teachers were not subjected to any pay cuts.

It was also announced that salary increments for teachers who obtain new qualifications will now be approved and paid in the next financial year.

As announced last year, those pay raises will be backdated.

The Ministry of Education was allocated $450.6 million for this financial year and despite the reduction, Education Minister Rosy Akbar made it clear that the focus will be making sure the quality of education is not compromised.

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