No compulsory schooling, but project schools
There is no compulsory schooling in the Fiji Islands, but 98 out of 100 children between the ages of six and 14 attend school. The primary school lasts six years and this is followed by the secondary. Those who attend secondary school for four to five years after primary school are admitted to the university. But many children leave school again without graduating.
There are many schools in Fiji, over 50 are so-called project schools that are part of the UNESCO Network for project schools are connected, i.e. financed by UNESCO. But if you live in a remote area, it is difficult to get to a school, because most of the schools are in the capital Suva. The families have to come to Suva so that they can send their children to school without any problems.
The English language is the most important language in school. Few subjects are taught in Fijian. However, many children lose their culture and tradition because they speak their mother tongue too little. As important as English may be, at the same time the mother tongue is lost a bit.
Five majors are taught in the school, including math, English, social studies, science, and a subject that you might compare to our biology classes called Health Science. Health questions, but also questions about the structure of the body, come to the fore here. There are also other minor subjects. If you want to find out more about life at a school in Fiji, check out this article by Luisa about her school life.
Boys also wear skirts
Wearing a school uniform is compulsory in Fiji. This includes shirts and skirts. These not only attract girls, but also boys. The rock is called Sulu in Fiji and is nothing special. But conversely, women and girls are not allowed to wear pants, at least not in the villages, since that would be a violation of an important rule.
Strict rules for children
Often children are already working to support the family. The authority of the parents, their rules and laws, are not called into question. However, the children often do not develop trust in their parents, because in Fiji it is quite common to hit children. Domestic violence is still common. Schools are also very strict and those who are cheeky can expect blows from the teachers. Parents would never complain to the teachers, because that is completely normal in their understanding and is part of bringing up children.
The mountain of rubbish is growing
Even if Fiji often seems like a paradise with beautiful beaches, green trees and lots of sunshine all year round, the islands too are struggling with the consequences of our way of life.
For example, there is now a major waste problem. Because coconuts and banana peels can be disposed of without any problems, but with plastic waste and tin cans it is not that easy. The islanders just throw away the garbage, because many have no relation to garbage disposal, where from?
We haven’t had such a thing as waste separation for that long, and we had to learn it too. There is no garbage collection in Fiji and it is almost impossible to dispose of the garbage properly or even to recycle it (reuse). And many people have never learned the consequences of garbage. The effects can already be felt in the coastal regions.
It’s getting warmer in paradise
Due to the El Nino effect, it gets warmer, the sea level rises, the sea water penetrates the rivers and salty the fresh water. Thousands of fish species are being deprived of their livelihoods and fish is the basis of life for the Fijians. So it is for the residents to protect nature.
The severity of the hurricanes – called cyclones in the South Seas – is increasing. Again and again these violent storms destroy people’s livelihoods.