• The High Commissioner of Tuvalu to Fiji: His Excellency Temate Melitiana
  • Members of the High Commission of Tuvalu Delegation
  • Roving Ambassador Esala Teleni, Representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ministry for Employment, Productivity & Industrial Relations Staff
  • Ladies and Gentlemen
Good morning and Bula Vinaka to you all!
It is my pleasure, this morning, to officiate at the signing of this renewed Agreement, between the Fijian Government and the Government of Tuvalu, on the engagement of our retired Fijian Teachers under the Fiji Volunteer Service (FVS) in Tuvalu. 
Following the earlier agreement that was signed on 25th April 2017 and which expired in April 2019, the Fijian Government has endorsed the continuation of this assistance under this renewed assistance Agreement in the education sector.
The Fijian Government is also grateful to the Government of Tuvalu in continuing to engage our Fijian volunteer teachers’ following the expiry of the Agreement in April 2019, at the middle of the school academic calendar, to ensure that students’ learning was not affected.
Since the inception of the Fiji Volunteer Service programme in 2012, the Fijian Government through the Ministry of Employment Productivity and Industrial Relations has signed agreements with a number of regional countries, namely the Republic of Nauru in 2017, the Republic of Marshall Islands in 2017, the Government of Vanuatu in 2016 and the Government of Tuvalu in 2017 for placement of retired volunteer teachers and nurses.  
The reports that had been submitted by the Tuvalu Ministry of Education on our retired volunteer teachers’ highlights their performance and the positive impacts it has in Tuvalu and this is something that the Fijian Government is proud of.  
Fiji has a long history of teacher training, and the establishment of a system of schools under the grant in aid scheme for more than a hundred years.
For many years, Fijian teaching training institutes have contributed to the training of professional teachers from primary to secondary schools’ level, not only for Fiji but for many of our small island neighbors, including Tuvalu.
It is only right, that many of our smaller island neighbors look towards Fiji when it comes to education, especially teacher training, and now for assistance through trained and experienced retired teachers.
Today’s event is a testimony of Fiji’s commitment to continue to assist our neighboring island nations to capacity-build our human resources, our most valuable assets, for our small island nations of the Big Blue Pacific.
Volunteer and re-employment schemes for retired workers, particularly from professions like teaching, nursing, and often from specialists’ areas in the civil service is common across the world.
Usually the schemes are made between countries like Fiji with a high number of and highly qualified cohort of retirees and its neighbours or regions that require such expertise.
It is a win-win situation and one that needs to be expanded to ensure our retirees continue to contribute within their area of expertise, only this time to another of our island neighbours.
This means that there is a meaningful exchange of expertise for work, and a situation where our smaller Pacific island neighbours benefit from Fiji’s brains trust.
My Ministry has started consultations with other Government Ministries towards further employment opportunities for our retired personnel with the Government of Tuvalu.
Meetings were also held with diplomatic missions based in Suva to explore possible opportunities for joint-initiative arrangements to ensure that such collaboration between our small island nations remain sustainable into the future.
I look forward to the continuation of this scheme and its expansion in the years to come.
I thank His Excellency and the team from the Tuvalu High Commission in Fiji, and other stakeholders for your contributions this morning.
Vinaka Vakalevu and God Bless.