Farmers are a strong pillar of the Fijian society, fuelling the economy and ensuring that affordable food is available to everyone in the country, Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama has said.
Speaking at the Centennial Anniversary of Sabeto Central School in Nadi on August 9, 2018, he said that many of the students who attend the School will take over farms when they enter adulthood or, perhaps, choose to different career paths for themselves, becoming teachers, counsellors, engineers, doctors, businesspeople, or even the Prime Minister.
“But whatever they decide to do, my Government’s goal is to ensure that their likelihood of success of achieving personal prosperity and finding happiness in what they do is maximised. I am very proud to say that today, if you put in the work and take advantage of new opportunities being created by Government, your odds of success in whatever you do have never been greater,” he said.
Established in 1918, shortly before the end of the Girmit era, the School has come a long way in providing education to children.
“The School started as Sabeto Indian School, when our country was very much demarcated along ethnic lines by the Colonial government, even in the education system. Most school managements, committees and parents were left to their own devices to offer and expand educational services. Unfortunately, this did not fundamentally change even after independence,” he said.
“But now, how things have changed! Today, we no longer have schools divided or identified along ethnicity. You have Sabeto Central School instead of Sabeto Indian School. Today, you have proper classrooms as opposed to having classes under mango trees in makeshift sheds and bures. You have a school that has Fijians from all backgrounds. You have free childhood, primary and secondary education, free textbooks, subsidised transportation to school and unprecedented scholarships and access to tertiary loans.”
Mr Bainimarama said that the School today accounts for 287 students in its Primary Section, 32 in Kindergarten – a milestone, for which the community is grateful to its leaders, parents and teachers. The School deserves special recognition for achieving progress despite paucity of finances, he said.
“The Founders had abundance of wisdom and foresight. This drive has helped generations of Fijians create better lives for themselves, and for this, the founders will go down in history as true pioneers. While your school has changed over the decades, it is clear today that one thing has remained constant, namely, parents’ desire to create a brighter future for their children through the light of education,” Mr Bainimarama said.
Securing Children’s future
He said that the Fijian government is dedicated to opening as many doors as possible to children and grandchildren, ensuring that these doors stay wide open throughout their lives.
“We are about creating opportunities, and giving you the necessary tools to succeed. That is why we invested more than F$ 1 billion in our education sector for the first time in Fijian history. Every year, the list of accomplishments coming from our ongoing education revolution grows. And for each year of growth, for each year that our students have another opportunity that was once unthinkable for Fiji, it becomes clearer that we are entering into new era of Fijian greatness,” he said.
Mr Bainimarama said the success of today’s students is central to the progress and development of Fiji as a nation.
“You are the future of our country. That is the reason your parents care after you and tell you to study. That is the reason your teachers spend their days supporting you and helping you learn. That is the reason my Government cares so much about our schools,” he said.
Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama (File Photo)