Kumar questions MOE appointments

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Parliament Opposition member Premila Kumar. Picture: FT FILE
Former education minister and Opposition parliamentarian Premila Kumar. Picture: REINAL CHAND/FILE

Former education minister and Opposition parliamentarian Premila Kumar has questioned recent appointments made by the ministry claiming they were done in an unconstitutional manner.

She said this in reference to the appointments of Losena Salabula and Mikaele Leawere as advisers to Education Minister Aseri Radrodro, Peni Senikarawa as the acting deputy permanent secretary for primary and secondary, and former Queen Victoria School principal, Joseva Gavidi to the Executive Support Unit of the ministry.

Mrs Kumar questioned if the appointments were based on merit.

“Where is the merit-based appointment as required under the Constitution?” she asked.

Mrs Kumar claimed the recent appointments made by Mr Radrodro “lacked transparency and are unconstitutional”.

“The Minister for Education and the three-legged stool Coalition Government is not following Section 123 (i) of the Constitution, which clearly states that recruitment and promotion are to be based on (i) objectivity, impartiality, and fair competition; and (ii) ability, education, experience, and other characteristics of merit.

“The guidelines, in compliance with the Constitution, clearly state that any acting appointments are made from within by calling for expressions of interest through fair competition. Any teacher or member of the ministry staff who meets the requirements can apply, and the best person is given the acting appointment before the job is advertised,” she said.

On the appointment of Ms Salabula and Mr Leawere as the minister’s advisers, Mrs Kumar claimed they were made to serve the interests of a few and she further claimed Government was “clearly creating jobs for Coalition supporters”.

“How are failed politicians and teachers who resigned being appointed now without following constitutionally compliant processes?”

Mrs Kumar claimed Mr Senikarawa and Mr Gavidi’s appointments indicated “favouritism and and political payback”.

She claimed Mr Senikarawa was terminated in 2018 for inflicting corporal punishment and Mr Gavidi resigned in 2021 while being investigated for misconduct.

Mrs Kumar also questioned the silence from teachers’ unions.

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