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Momo na Tui Sabeto
School Manager
The Head teacher
Minister Parveen Kumar Bala
Ex students
Ladies and Gentlemen

Bula vinaka and good evening.

It’s my great pleasure to be here among you all this evening as Sabeto Central School marks its centennial anniversary. Reaching this day is truly an achievement worth celebrating –– and I’m happy to say that we have 100 reasons to do just that as we gather here tonight.

The Sabeto Indian School was founded in 1918 just before the formal end of Grimit and when our country was very much demarcated along ethnic lines by the colonial government. The colonial government divided us on ethnic lines 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.

But now, how things have changed! Today we no longer have schools divided or identified along ethnicity. Today, 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. Today, you have a school that has Fijians from all backgrounds. Today, you have free childhood, primary and secondary education. Today, you have free textbooks. Today, you have subsidised transportation to school. Today, there are unprecedented scholarships and access to tertiary loans.

With 287 students enrolled in primary school and 32 more in kindergarten, it brings me great joy to see that a school with a history as rich as yours is not just surviving, but thriving, as you mark 100 proud years of teaching and learning. To the community leaders, parents and teachers who should be thanked for reaching this milestone; you have helped make this a facility that brings pride to all the communities that it serves. And I want to give special recognition to the visionary leadership that members of this community had 100 years ago when they pushed for progress through education, resulting in the school’s founding. They did not let a lack of money or their own lack of formal education hold back their forward thinking. Because despite not having much, what they did have was an 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.

Indeed, while your school has changed over the decades, it is clear today that one thing has remained constant since its founding: parents’ desire to create a brighter future for their children through the light of education.

Ladies and gentlemen, I know that many of the students who fill your classrooms come from families who depend on farming for a living. Our farmers are truly a pillar of Fijian society; they fuel our economy and ensure that affordable food is on the table of Fijians throughout our nation. Many of the students who attend Sabeto Central School will take over these farms when they enter adulthood –– or, perhaps, choose to different career paths for themselves, becoming teachers, counselors, 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. And 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.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s because my Government is dedicated to opening as many doors as possible for our children and grandchildren, and to ensuring that those doors stay wide open throughout their lives. We are about creating opportunities, and giving you the necessary tools to succeed. It’s why we invested over $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.

As tonight is a night for celebrating, I’ll leave you all on this note, by speaking directly to the students of Sabeto Central School. I’d like to let you in on a secret: as your Prime Minister, a school’s age alone doesn’t even matter that much to me. What truly matters, and what truly makes a school special, is your success. You are the future of our country. That’s the reason your parents care after you and tell you to study. That’s the reason your teachers spend their days supporting you and helping you learn. That’s the reason that my Government cares so much about our schools. I’m here today because I have very big expectations for you; I want to see you become the greatest generation that Fiji has ever seen. So please, study hard. Take your classes seriously. Respect your parents and teachers when they are trying to help you with your classwork. Because, just like me, they can’t wait to see the person you grow into with a proper education. We know that with a proper education, you will exceed in whatever career you will choose.

And with that, my fellow Fijians, I thank you all for having me tonight. For Sabeto Central School, may the next 100 years be even better than the last.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

© 2018 Ministry of Communications