FTU: Safety, learning of students compromised

General Secretary of Fiji Teachers Union, Agni Deo Singh (standing 7th from left) with members of the Fiji Teachers Union after their 89th Annual Conference and AGM. Picture: LITIA CAVA/FILE

THE safety and learning of students in urban schools have been compromised because of their class sizes, says Fiji Teachers Union (FTU) president Muniappa Goundar.

In discussion with union members during its annual conference yesterday, the union noted the increase in teacher workload arising out of the changes in the assessment system and the rapid increase in class sizes especially in urban schools arising from internal migration.

Mr Goundar said one of the union’s resolutions for this year was for the Education Ministry to implement the recommendations of the 1993 Job Evaluation Exercise (JEE).

This will mean that the ministry must work to achieve class sizes of 30 and below for straight class, 25 for Year 1 and Year 13 and 20 for composite classes and also to remove the provision of multiple class teachings.

“FTU, therefore, proposes that teacher aids are appointed for urban schools so that this problem could be addressed,” Mr Goundar said.

Education, Heritage and Arts Minister Rosy Akbar, during her opening address at the Fijian Teachers Association (FTA) conference on Tuesday, acknowledged that this was an issue in the ministry.

Ms Akbar said the shortage of staff in the ministry was an issue and that the Human Resource Department in the ministry was working on ways to rectify it.

University of the South Pacific (USP) economist Dr Neelesh Gounder officially opened the FTU conference at Rishikul Sanatan College hall in Nasinu yesterday.

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