On November 20, 1982, The Fiji Times quoted a senior government official as saying that a teacher should accept part of the responsibility of his pupil’s success or failure later in life.
That official was the secretary for education, Epeli Kacimaiwai, who made the statement at the opening of the headteachers’ first seminar at the Nasinu Training College which was attended by about 200 primary school teachers from Fiji and Rotuma.
The article highlighted the secretary’s hopes of further strengthening the role teachers had on students.
“Success or failure in life is measured not only in terms of the pupil’s ability to get jobs, but in acquiring a strong sense of personal worth and a sensitive awareness of their environment and the people they live with,” Mr Kacimaiwai said.
Teachers were reminded of their role as public servants and he emphasised their duty to serve, and enforcing the implementation of government policies within the education sector and contribute to national development through educating children.
“Early childhood is the most impressionable time of a child’s life and is widely accepted as a factor which you are fully aware of.
“I do not wish to belabour the point, but I do wish to stress that on your shoulders rests much of the responsibility of organising and supervising the kind of learning environment and experience that would develop the type of future citizens we hope to have in our country.
“That is, citizens who are not only knowledgeable in many areas of life and competent in the skills of learning, but citizens who are able to make responsible decisions, exercise self-control and maintain a personal code of conduct,” Mr Kacimaiwai also highlighted the importance of the school curriculum, and that a head teacher’s effectiveness and success depended on how it was effectively implemented.
He said a headteacher should know all the areas of the curriculum and what was happening at every level of his school.
Mr Kacimaiwai stressed the responsibility headteachers had in being aware of what teachers were and were not doing and their role in responsibly organising effective measures to deal with problems that would affect the successful operation of a school as a learning institution for students.