Source: Republic Of Fiji
Bula Vinaka, everyone.
I’d like to wish all of our students well as they head back to class to start the new Term, and give a special welcome to all of our Year 1 students around the country who are just entering Primary School.
Any dream – big or small – begins with education. And I’ve always believed that funding our children’s education is the single best investment a Government can make. That is why I’m proud that this year is a billion-dollar year for our education system, as our last national budget saw education become the first sector to ever receive an over one-billion-dollar allocation.
To our students preparing for the start of the term, I want each of you to know that we – your parents, yout grandparents, guardians and friends – are all rooting for your success. We believe in you, we want you to do well, and we’re here to support you in every way we can so that you can perform to the best of your abilities.
As students, when you take responsibility for your education, you give yourself the opportunity to become the Fijians you want to be. The type of Fijians your family, friends and community can count on, and that our nation needs if we are to build on all of our great progress.
Taking responsibility for your education means respecting and listening to your teachers. It means being kind to your classmates. It means putting your best foot forward; working hard, reading, studying and asking questions. And it means thinking seriously about your future. Because, rest assured, no matter where you want to go in life, you will need an education to get there.
Tonight, I’m also speaking to all the families watching across the country. As parents and grandparents, as aunts and uncles, as community members, and as patriotic Fijians, you are our single greatest allies in educating our young people.
School in Fiji is free. Textbooks are free. If you cannot afford your students’ travel to school, we help cover that cost as well. That wasn’t always the case in our country, but my Government has finally made that the reality. Don’t let that chance for your children go to waste. Every family, everywhere in our country, must make sure their students are attending school every day they are able.
Every student in Fiji deserves to come home to a community that values their education. They should be given time to complete their homework and reflect on what they’ve learned each and every day. Someone at home should be checking in on their progress and encouraging them to succeed. Someone should always be present when required for parent-teacher meetings.
In a truly knowledge-based society, every student must have that foundation of support for their education. Every Fijian, every family, must put their children’s education first. Because when our children know we believe in them, they will find unimaginable belief in themselves.
My fellow Fijians, there has never been a better time in our history for any of our people to reach out and grab educational opportunities. I assure you, my Government will be there, every step of the way, to support our young people; from primary school to secondary school, and on to the tertiary level, where we’ve allocated record funding to loans and scholarships to help Fijians of all ages continue their journeys through education.
I wish all of our students a happy and successful start to the Term.
Today, you may be students. But one day you will be the doctors, the farmers, the nurses, the craftsmen, the entrepreneurs, the lawyers, the teachers and the leaders that take our country forward. You are our future. And you have the potential to make that future brighter, by learning together now, and by working together in all the years to come.