The Education Ministry is currently in the discussion phase for the drafting of the first-ever teacher protection policy.
This decision stems from the absence of a legal policy safeguarding teachers at work as concerns have been raised about the significant risk teacher’s face due to student misbehavior.
The stakeholders have for long advocated for a policy ensuring a safe teaching environment.
Fijian Teachers Association President Netani Druavesi emphasizes the urgent need to strike a balance between the rights of students and teachers.
“The ministry is very concerned about the child protection policy. The child on the other side is the teacher too. And we are trying to see within the ministry that the teacher protection policy has to be there too.”
Fiji Teachers Union General Secretary Muniappa Gounder highlights the challenges faced by teachers due to the absence of a protection policy.
“Now, teachers need to be protected from hostile, aggressive students. Just last year, there was a case in Rakiraki where a student assaulted a teacher. Now, if there was a teacher protection policy, the teacher, being a victim, would have been given some sort of help.”
Permanent Secretary Selina Kuruleca states that internal discussions are underway to address various aspects that need consideration.
“It’s going to take a bit of time, actually. What do you mean by that? Are you talking about remuneration? Are you talking about health insurance? Are you talking about life insurance? Are you talking about the ill-discipline of a teacher?”
The Education Ministry is calling on the stakeholders to contribute to creating a comprehensive teacher protection policy which aims to enhance diverse perspectives for formulating a relevant and effective policy.