Fiji: Rehabilitation work proposed for schools

The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) will recommend to Cabinet next week to improve the physical status of schools in cyclone prone areas.
Akapusi Tuifagalele, a senior NDMO official, said if the proposal is accepted, the rehabilitation programme will begin in the Northern Division.

The NDMO in consultation with the education ministry, has recommended that all schools in cyclone-prone areas are to be fitted with water tanks, flush toilets for classroom blocks, teachers quarters and cyclone-resistant buildings.

Mr Tuifagalele, who is heavily involved with the Disaster Management Committee (DISMAC), said the socio-economic benefits of this work will be far fetching across all sectors especially, in the rural areas where development will be immeasurable over decades.

"Quality education will be transferred to rural schools as the improved living conditions and school facilities compared to urban schools will encourage teachers to teach in rural schools. Exam results will improve and more rural students will continue with secondary and tertiary education resulting in a workforce that has a compatible rural to urban ratio," Mr Tuifagalele said.

"We can only wonder at the continuing benefits it will have on the economy apart from sustaining the water supply in schools during adverse weather conditions," he said.

In addition, he said by undertaking this, government will not only rehabilitate cyclone victims but, improve rural output through rural educated citizens who will be innovative to utilise abundant resources to optimum levels.

DISMAC completed phase one of its relief programme on February 13 . It included mostly emergency rations supply after a lapse of the 30-day emergency period.

Mr Tuifagalele said phase two of the programme involving the supply of rations and the initiation of crop and housing rehabilitation will begin next week.