Opposition spokesperson for Education, Premila Kumar claims the recent appointments made by Minister of Education, Aseri Radrodro lack transparency and are unconstitutional.
Kumar in a statement said it started with the appointment of the unsuccessful candidates of SODELPA as the Minister’s advisors in his office.
“The advisors are Losena Salabula and Mikaele Leawere, clearly creating jobs for Coalition supporters. These appointments were made to serve the interests of a few.”
“Recently, the failed PAP candidate, still claiming to be the General Secretary of FTA, Paula Manumanunitoga, through his Facebook page, guaranteed job security and promotion assistance to its members.”
“The Minister of 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.”
Kumar said teachers have been raising their concerns with them that appointments are made without following the established procedures in accordance with the Constitution.
“It lacks credibility, and teachers are losing trust in the appointment process.”
“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.”
“When did this rule change that teachers and staff of the Ministry are not aware of? And how are failed politicians and teachers who resigned being appointed now without following constitutionally compliant processes?”
“The Minister recently announced the appointment of the former Principal of Ratu Kadavulevu School, Peni Senikarawa, as the Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary for Primary and Secondary (there is no DPS position in the Ministry’s establishment) and the former Queen Victoria School Principal, Joseva Gavidi as the Executive Support Unit of the Ministry. Gavidi was rehired to his substantive position after he resigned in 2021.”
“Both appointments are questionable, lack transparency, and do not even meet Section 123(i) of the Constitution. Favoritism and political payback are so obvious in these cases.”
“Peni Senikarawa was terminated in 2018 for inflicting corporal punishment. He was charged by the DPP with one count of assault causing actual bodily harm. He is also a failed SODELPA candidate.”
“Joseva Gavidi resigned in 2021 while being investigated for misconduct. It is rather strange that he is rehired to his substantive post after his resignation without any due process of giving equal opportunity to other teachers.”
“Which guidelines did the Ministry of Education use to make such appointments? Why are teachers’ unions silent on this? Is it because position holders in the union have been promoted, so they now turn a blind eye to the lack of transparency and adherence to proper and due processes?”
She added the recent appointments are non-compliant with the Ministry’s guidelines, which were developed in accordance with the Constitution and these appointments have caused confusion and uncertainty among the teachers, who are disappointed, frustrated, demoralized, and demotivated.