| || || Raiyawa, Tomasi Vasulailai.|
| || || Affirmative action : implementation of centres of excellence in Fiji : a case study of Ratu Kadavulevu School, Levuka Public School and Indian College|
Author:Raiyawa, Tomasi Vasulailai.
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Call No.: Pac LC 213 .53 .F5 R35 2007
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: The issue of Affirmative Action is an ongoing debate globally because of its association with the distribution of wealth. Critics and proponents have their own interpretation based on the theory of Social Justice. Affirmative Action Policy in Fiji is legislated as an instrument of development in the constitution. It is legislated through the Social Justice Act of 2001 and covers a total of 29 programmes. Out of the 29 programmes, 5 are for the indigenous Fijians only; 5 for Fijians and Rotumans; 2 for Indians and minority groups; and 15 for all persons in rural and peri-urban areas; 1 for ex-prisoners; and 1 for the disabled The Fijian Education Blueprint, an offspring of the AAP targets the Indigenous Fijians and Rotumans. This was put together as the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua government intended to address the deficiency in Fijian education as early as 1910. The Action Plan for the advancement of the education of indigenous Fijians has a ten-year period of life span implemented on affirmative action policies. The critical area in the Plan needing assistance is the neglected state of many Fijian schools and their lack of educational resources as highlighted in the Education Commission 2000 report. This calls for increased government intervention through funding, management, staffing and monitoring. This study however critically analyses how the policy is used to improve education amongst the indigenous Fijians and Rotumans through a programme called the Centre of Excellence, which emanated from the Fijian Education Blueprint. The programme is implemented in government schools with the purpose of producing quality graduates. Three schools were selected as case studies. Two of them are government schools and were declared Centres of Excellence in 2003. The third school which privately owned by the Indian Association is not a Centre of Excellence, but has been producing quality graduates for some time. The commonality amongst the three schools is the dominance of indigenous Fijian students studying in them. The study shows that the Centre of Excellence programme has never produced expected results since 2003. It is the opinion of this study that the programme will never work in government schools. The reason is that the management structure is a major constraint since the schools are government institutions. Any decision making to affect development will always be subjected to government regulations and policies. Likewise all funding and budgetary exercises are all confined to the Ministry of Finance policies. In addition party politics in Fiji allows politicians to scrutinise and even criticise the programme. The political reactions generate a compounding effect that restricts the programme objectives from developing. This has been proved globally which compelled countries like New Zealand for instance to reform its public schools. In conclusion the study recommends that the programme to be tendered publicly allowing private schools to bid. Schools that win the tender are to ensure that they produce an agreed number of graduates with quality results. Another suggestion is to privatise government schools allowing parents and old scholars to manage the schools with minimum government intervention. In addition the study reveals that the disparity in education between indigenous Fijians and other ethnic groups was also a result of education policies implemented in early 1900s to suppress indigenous Fijians from pursuing educational advancement. A result of that is currently evident in the poor performances of Indigenous Fijian students in English language and science subjects.