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 Bula vinaka and good morning to you all.
I am honoured to be here today to inaugurate this new four-classroom block, which will ease classroom crowding at Rampur Primary School and help improve the quality of education here.

The children must always come first, and I thank this community’s communal effort and your sacrifices in the construction of this block for your children.

As you know, my Government has put a priority on improving education in Fiji and making it more accessible. That has meant improving facilities, freeing parents of the many financial burdens that they once had to bear, improving the teacher pay, the quality of teaching and improvement in the learning environment throughout the country. As part of the education reform, the Attorney-General has been holding roadshows whereby a lot of rumors and misinformation have been removed and teachers are happy and support this reform. We are also doing other reforms to increase the student-teacher ratio. We are also bringing development everywhere including the Rampur- Nakaulevu area. We will be installing street lights along the Rampur- Nakaulevu area that will be completed in this financial year and after the installation of the street lights, we will be upgrading and installing new footpaths along Rampur – Nakaulevu.

Fiji must be a knowledge – based society to compete in the world. But it is also vitally important that every Fijian have the education to lead a productive life, be a responsible citizen, raise a healthy family, and appreciate art, music and literature. That begins with primary school.

We don’t offer those opportunities to our children if they are crowded into classrooms and the teachers can’t give adequate attention to each student. I know that it is a great frustration for a teacher to have to teach a crowded class room. Four new classrooms here should ease that burden. This will also increase school attendance and decrease school dropouts.

It is my fervent hope that smaller classes will lead to a better pass rate at this school. This is not because I am so interested in statistics. It is because every child who doesn’t pass as a result of the lack of quality education tools is a child we have failed. So I also want to urge this community—which has shown throughout the years its commitment to this school—to take an active part in the education of your children. Don’t just leave it to the teachers. Work with the teachers. Make your homes an extension of the classroom. Get engaged with your child’s lessons and homework.

There are 900 students at Rampur Primary School, and each one of them carries great potential for himself or herself—and for the future of this country. Each one of them represents—and deserves—a happy adult life. We cannot guarantee that, but we can set them on that path and give them the tools to succeed. Then it is up to them.
With these 900 students and the population increasing rapidly in this area, we will have to pay close attention to the need to build more schools, but for now we continue the tradition that this school established 75 years ago, when the Rampur Education Society secured this land to build this school. So I thank you. It is a fine example of a community coming together for the common good and for the country.

That tradition continues today, because Mr. John McDonald contributed $37,000 to top up the $219,000 provided by my government for this project. Many people would just throw up their hands and leave it all to government, but Mr. McDonald stepped forward with a generous contribution to the community because he cares about children. For that, we are grateful.

To the students of Rampur Primary School, I believe you are fully aware of your parents’ struggles to provide a decent education for you. They do that because they love you, and the only way in which you will repay that love is to try hard and do your best at school. Listen to your teachers, do what they ask you to do, and let them know if there is something you don’t understand.

Always remember what your teachers and parents have taught you—and what you learn in church, mosque or the temple— because all religious teachings in their pure form teach us to do the right thing such as being honest, being compassionate and loving one another. And therefore, always choose to do what is right.

And now, I wish to sincerely thank all of you who have toiled hard to make today what it is, and I wish the school the very best in its future undertakings.

Vinaka vakalevu and Dhanyavaad.

© 2018 Ministry of Communications