‘Appointment to remote areas challenging’

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Timoci Bure. Picture: REPEKA NASIKO/FILE

There are a few rural schools that do not have any pure science subject teachers, particularly physics.

Education Ministry acting permanent secretary Timoci Bure said this while answering questions regarding concerns by some parents that some schools did not have all the required pure science teachers and “children were teaching themselves”.

He said appointment to rural remote areas was quite challenging because some teachers were hesitant to take up rural or remote posting, and that these schools did not have head of department positions to make it more lucrative.

“A shortage of science is already experienced, especially with physics,” Mr Bure said.

“Some teachers have been identified and they have yet to complete their registration with Fiji Teachers Registration Authority (FTRA) and are not trained teachers.

“We have made an agreement with FTRA so that untrained teachers can still be registered.

He said one of the affected schools was Ratu Finau Secondary School but “an officer was currently doing his FTRA registration and would travel once a boat was available”.

He also said that experienced teachers were taking job offers from overseas.

“We are planning towards giving these positions some incentives so that more trained and experienced teachers can take up such postings.

“Since the last 10 years, trained physics, maths, science and primary school teachers are resigning to take up teaching jobs in Australia and New Zealand.

“This shortage of maths and science teachers is experienced throughout the Pacific Island countries.”

Mr Bure said that while the extension of the retirement age has helped, improvement of working conditions and environment was another key to addressing the teacher shortage in Fiji.

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