E-ticketing hurdle

THE Education Ministry is looking at how best they can work within the school hours — 8am to 4.30pm — to ensure students can travel home using their subsidised e-ticketing cards.

Education, Heritage and Arts Minister Rosy Akbar made the comment in response to a question that was raised by this newspaper regarding the use of e-ticketing bus cards by students who take part in extracurricular activities.

During the 2019-2020 National Budget announcement last month, Government stated that subsidised cards for students were being abused by parents and students, and as a result Government will restrict the use of the card to 4.30pm.

“We’ve had a few meetings with Vodafone, the Fiji Bus Operators Association (FBOA) but haven’t come to a conclusion as to how it will work. But there has been some recommendations put forward which we should be able to finalise maybe in a couple of weeks,” she said.

“That is something that we have to discuss with our divisions, our school heads to ensure how we can best restrict school hours from 8am until 4 or 4.30pm

“But then there are exceptions when we have sporting activities, when we have extracurricular activities, we are thinking about all that to see how best we can ensure that by 4.30pm our children can go home,” she added.

The education sector was allocated more than $800 million in the 2019-2020 budget, a reduction of $200m from the 2018-2019 budget.

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