With the new school term just three weeks away, the Fiji Teachers Union is urging the Ministry of Education to prioritize the mental health of teachers facing increased stress from aggressive students and limited disciplinary options.
Union General Secretary Muniappa Gounder highlighted the growing strain on teachers facing aggressive students and the limitations of traditional discipline methods.
Gounder believes there is a need for increased support and resources for educators.
“There may be some unit set up which can sort of counsel these teachers, whereby the teachers can undergo some type of treatment. Rehabilitation programs must be carried out so that these teachers go back to their normal state and then they can be back in the classrooms with the normal duties.”
Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary Selina Kuruleca is urging the districts to work very closely with the heads of schools to identify teachers who are struggling.
“When such cases are identified, do a medical ensure that the staff who are sick get adequate rest. Make sure that the rest is following your processes, where you apply for your sick leave, et cetera. We also encourage, you know, all the applications that came to us for staff retreats for their schools. We approved all of them because we think you must take care of your physical health and your mental health. “
Schools around the country will open on January 29th for teachers while students will officially start their classes the following day.