NON-STATE ACTORS IN EDUCATION

1. Terminology

2. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision 

2.2 Non-state education provision 

2.3 Other types of schools 

3. Governance and regulations

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education

3.2 Multi-level regulations 

3.3 Supplementary private tutoring 

 

  1. Terminology

The Education Act 1978 and Higher Education Act 2008 (as amended in 2017) refer to a person, body of persons, institution or organization” as non-state actors operating in the education system, which are “responsible for the management and…for the establishment” of “non-government schools” in Fiji. The Education Act 1978 additionally defines an "aided school" as “any school aided by way of a recurrent grant out of public funds, while “private schools” are defined in the Policy in Establishment and Recognition/Registration of Schools 2011, as schools that offer programs that are not sanctioned by the MoE and pay for its entire staffing. This includes private kindergarten, primary, secondary or a combination of two or all three levels of education”. The Constitution of the Republic of Fiji 2013 additionally refers to religious, social, or cultural communities which have “the right to establish, maintain and manage places of education whether or not they receive financial assistance from the State”.

  1. Typology of provision

2.1 State education provision

State schools

Less than 2% of primary (ages 6 – 13) and secondary (ages 14 – 18) schools in Fiji are owned by the state, with almost all education provided by communities and faith-based organizations, which receive the majority of their staff and operational funding from the state. According to the Compulsory Education Regulations 1997 and subsequent orders issued for different districts, education is compulsory for all children aged 6 – 15, which is primarily provided to students with Fijian citizenship through annual tuition-free grants in primary and secondary schools across the country.

Non-state managed, state schools

No information was found.

Non-state funded, state schools

No information was found.

2.2 Non-state education provision

Independent, non-state schools

Private schools are a few (3%) non-state schools in Fiji that are independently funded and operated by individuals, corporations or faith-based organizations. These schools usually teach their own curriculum (with prior approval from the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts), with some international schools following international curricula and examination systems. Private schools can be day schools or boarding schools. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji 2013, while private schools are required to be recognized by the state and maintain any standards prescribed by the law, they are not eligible for registration with the state if all standards have not been met.

State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools

The majority (96%) of schools in Fiji are government-aided schools (also referred to as “committee schools” or “non-government aided schools”), which are non-state schools run by faith-based organizations and communities that are primarily financed by the state through per-pupil grants covering costs in infrastructure, staffing, textbooks, and management. These schools are closely regulated by the state, as they are required to teach specific compulsory subjects set by the MoEHA (including iTaukei and Fiji Hindi languages) and must be managed by committees that have been pre-approved by the state. Faith-based organizations may offer non-compulsory religious instruction in these schools, provided that the majority of their courses are secular, and teachers and students are not required to participate in any religious class or ceremony. Government-aided schools are free to Fijian citizens, with tuition costs covered by the state through tuition-free grants. Government-aided schools also include a few (17) specialized schools, which cater to children with special educational needs.

Contracted, non-state schools

No information was found.

2.3 Other types of schools

Homeschooling

According to the Compulsory Education Regulations 1997, any child deemed by the Permanent Secretary of education to be in “special circumstances” (which includes having no school within walking distance or a specific kind of sickness) may be exempt from compulsory school attendance, with the parent making other arrangements that are deemed suitable by the MoEHA for the home schooling of the child.

During the COVID-19 school closures in March 2020, the MoEHA delivered home-based learning programs to students through online resources, and radio and television programs. All teachers were additionally encouraged to prepare teaching material for home-based educational activities and support.

Market contracted (Voucher schools)

No information was found.

Unregistered/Unrecognized schools

Private schools in Fiji can be distinguished between “recognized” and “registered” schools, with only schools that have fulfilled all the minimum government requirements being eligible for full registration. Some private schools (including international schools) operate entirely unrecognized by the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts (MoEHA). In 2010, out of 19 private schools operating in Fiji, only 2 were recognized by the MoE.

 

  1. Governance and regulations

The Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts (MoEHA) governs all education from early childhood to secondary level in Fiji (including state and non-state provision), while the Higher Education Commission (HEC) is responsible for all higher education in Fiji. According to the Policy in Establishment and Recognition/Registration of Schools 2011, the establishment of schools is the sole responsibility of the MoE.  The MoE is specifically responsible for the establishment, recognition, full registration and monitoring of all schools in Fiji from early childhood to secondary level to ensure institutions conform with the minimum requirements.

District Education Offices are responsible for the direct supervision and administration of state and non-state schools within their districts.

Vision: According to the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji 2013, non-state actors such as religious, cultural, or social communities have the right to establish, maintain and manage educational institutions in Fiji with financial assistance from the state, provided that these institutions are recognized by the state and maintain minimum standards prescribed by law. The Education Sector Strategic Plan 2015-18 explains that “a history of partnership exists between the community and the MoEHA, with the majority of schools being community-owned". The government specifically plans to “strengthen” these partnerships by “developing a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities for all - students, parents, community, community leaders, School Committees, Teachers, Head Teachers/ Principals and empowering everyone to play their part in ensuring a responsive and sustainable education system”. Both “public” and “private” stakeholders (the latter of which include private businesses, civil society, and faith-based organizations) are encouraged to “contribute to the education system for cost effective service delivery and to provide direction to ensure that education meets the needs of the 21st century”.

 

3.1 Regulations by distinct levels of education
 

Early childhood care and education (ECCE) services are exclusively provided by non-state actors in Fiji and are mainly categorized into kindergartens (half-day services for ages 3 – 5) and infant schools (ages 3 – 8), with full-day services for ages 6 – 8. According to the Strategic Plan 2019-2023, the state plans (wherever possible) to attach all ECCE services to primary schools.

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: See Multi-level regulations.

Licence: No information was found.

Financial operation

Profit-making: See Multi-level regulations.

Taxes and subsidies: See Multi-level regulations.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: See Multi-level regulations.

Teaching profession: See Multi-level regulations.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: See Multi-level regulations.

Admission selection and processes: See Multi-level regulations.

Policies for vulnerable groups: See Multi-level regulations.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Reporting requirements: See Multi-level regulations.

Inspection: See Multi-level regulations.

Child assessment: See Multi-level regulations.

Sanctions: See Multi-level regulations.

 

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: See Multi-level regulations.

Licence: No information was found.

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)The Policy in Establishment and Recognition/Registration of Schools 2011 requires all non-state educational institutions to adhere to minimum infrastructure standards, which include having proper sanitary facilities with one toilet for every 15 children (separated by sex) and safe drinking water for all children. Institutions are additionally required to comply with the Fiji School Health Policy 2016 and Policy in Occupational Health and Safety in Schools.

Financial operation

Profit-making: See Multi-level regulations.

Taxes and subsidies: See Multi-level regulations.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standards: See Multi-level regulations.

Textbooks and learning materialsAll government-aided schools in Fiji are provided with free textbooks and learning materials.

Teaching profession: See Multi-level regulations.

Corporal punishmentAccording to the Policy on Child Protection in Schools 2015, corporal punishment is banned in all schools in Fiji, while the MoEHA issued a circular in 2019 stating it had a “zero tolerance” policy on corporal punishment and that teacher contracts were being terminated if they had been discovered to administer any corporal punishment to a child in school.

Other safety measures and COVID-19 WASH standards for all schools were heightened as institutions planned to reopen following the COVID-19 school closures in 2020. All non-state schools were required to maintain their sanitary facilities safe and clean (with regular checks and routine cleaning procedures). Schools were additionally required to follow a revised curriculum and syllabus, which was simplified and focused on concepts.According to the Policy in Establishment and Recognition/Registration of Schools 2011, “All educational providers shall ensure that school infrastructure including the security of premises, facilities and equipment comply with minimum standards and relevant regulations such as those prescribed by MoE, as well as OHS requirements”.

Equitable access

Fee-setting: See Multi-level regulations.

Admission selection and processes: See Multi-level regulations.

Policies for vulnerable groups: See Multi-level regulations.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

School board: All managers and assistant managers of non-state institutions in Fiji must be registered and approved by the Permanent Secretary upon registration, including all members of the School Management Committee which are responsible for overseeing the daily operation of the institution. All schools in Fiji (irrespective of ownership) are required to establish a School Management Committee (SMC) according to the Education Act 1978, which states that “the management of every registered and recognized school or group of schools shall be vested in a properly constituted controlling authority which shall appoint a manager and submit his/her name, and, if a manager is appointed ex-officio, his/her title, to the Permanent Secretary for Education, Heritage & Arts (PSEHA) for registration”. Individual school governance arrangements are set out in the school’s constitution and the 2020 Handbook of School Management which define a “School Management Committee” as a “group of people who are elected or appointed by the trustees as per the school constitution (which) are responsible for registering the school and providing oversight in the management of the school”. The composition of each SMC (in addition to how members are elected and appointed) is determined by the school constitution, with the requirement that parents are always represented and that “gender equality is considered”, with committees encouraged to ensure diversity in terms of gender, age, religion, and disability. There are also student councils for secondary schools representing the student body.

Reporting requirements: See Multi-level regulations

School inspection: See Multi-level regulations

Student assessment: See Multi-level regulations

Diplomas and degreesNo information was found.

Sanctions: See Multi-level regulations

 

Most tertiary education in Fiji is provided by the three state universities (covering over 90% of enrolments), while 7 registered higher education institutions received operational grants from the state in 2016.

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: According to the Higher Education Act 2008 (as amended in 2017), any institution or body corporate that plans to establish a non-state higher education institution (HEI) in Fiji must make an application to the HEC. All applications must be accompanied by a registration fee, list of staff and their qualifications, and any other required documents listed in the Higher Education Regulations 2009 (as amended in 2016). The HEC will then inspect the institution’s financial capacity, as well as the proposed facilities and programs to determine whether they meet national standards.

License: If the HEC is satisfied that the minimum standards are met, a certificate of registration will be issued that remains valid for five years.

Financial operation

Profit-makingNo information was found.

Taxes and subsidiesAll registered HEIs may apply to the HEC for grants, which administers grants based on specific factors which include the institution’s  programs, management, financial statement, and fees levied.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standardsAccording to the Higher Education Regulations 2009, the structure and content of all programs offered by non-state HEIs must be approved by the HEC upon registration, while all institutions are required to notify the HEC if any changes are made to the courses offered. HEIs are additionally required to apply to the HEC for the accreditation of all programs offered.

Teaching professionAll academic staff employed in non-state HEIs must possess qualifications higher than the level which they teach, which must be approved by the HEC upon registration.

Equitable access

Fee-settingFees levied by non-state HEIs are only taken into consideration by the HEC upon the institution’s inspection and when determining grant allocations.

Admission selection and processesThe Quality Standards for Fiji Higher Education 2019 state that admission policies in non-state HEIs must be applied “systematically and fairly”, but does not provide any details on how this could be achieved.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Board: While all non-state HEIs are required to list all their administrative and management officers upon registration, there was no regulation found on any specific management structure that all institutions must comply with.

Reporting requirements: All institutions are required to submit annual reports to the HEC on their finances and activities. These reports must additionally be made available for public examination at the location where the institution operates at all times.

Inspection: All non-state HEIs in Fiji are evaluated every 7 years by a Review Committee appointed by the HEC and are subject to periodic assessments through site visits. According to the Higher Education (Qualifications) Regulations 2010, all institutions must comply with the Fiji National Qualifications Framework implemented by the Fiji Qualifications Council, which aims to ensure the international compatibility of national qualifications and standards.

Assessment: The assessment strategies of all institutions must be submitted and approved by the HEC upon registration.

Diplomas and degreesThe Higher Education Act 2008 strictly prohibits non-state HEIs from conferring any awards unless the institution and its programs have been registered and approved by the HEC. If any institution is found to not comply with this regulation, the owner will be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding 20,000 Fiji dollars (9,815.96 USD) for an individual or 100,000 Fiji dollars (49,079.82 USD) for a body corporate and/or up to 5 years of imprisonment.

Sanctions: If any institution is found to not be complying with minimum standards, its registration may be revoked or suspended by the HEC (with no specific mention on involuntary institutional closures). If a non-state HEI is found to not be registered under the HEC, the owner will be liable upon conviction to a fine of up to 50,000 Fiji dollars (24,539.91 USD) for an individual or 250,000 Fiji dollars (122,699.55 USD) for a body corporate, or imprisonment for up to 12 years.

 

3.2 Multi-level regulations

This section covers regulations for non-state institutions from early childhood to secondary education in Fiji, which are all covered under the  Education Act 1978 and its subsidiary legislations.

Entry/Establishment

Registration and approval: According to the Education Act 1978 and the Policy in Establishment and Recognition/Registration of Schools 2011, which covers government aided and private institutions of learning wishing to offer educational programmes at the kindergarten, infant schools, primary, secondary and vocational level of education, any foreign or local individual or organization that plans to establish a non-state ECCE centre or school in Fiji must make an application to the Permanent Secretary of Education through the relevant District Education Office (DEO) based on a prescribed form. All applications must be accompanied by the required non-refundable application fee of 500 FJD (246.85 USD), site inspection report, land lease, and an assessment report of the proposed curriculum (all of which will be verified by the DEO). All educational institution must comply with the minimum infrastructure and building requirements included in [Appendix F] of the Policy in Establishment and Recognition/Registration of Schools 2011.  If all minimum requirements (including infrastructure standards, land size, classroom size, and financial feasibility) are met and the proposed manager is deemed fit to establish and maintain the institution, the Permanent Secretary will approve the application. License: Once approval for establishment has been granted, the applicant is required to apply to the Permanent Secretary for a certificate of registration or recognition. Registration only applies to state schools and government-aided schools and means ongoing approval to operate and maintain the educational institution subject to government regulations and guidelines. Approval (recognition) applies to non-aided private schools that have been granted approval for establishment by the MoE, but the school management will be responsible for financing the cost of establishing the school. All applications must be accompanied by an additional fee, list of staff, and a Certificate of Registration of Business for Private Establishments. If the Permanent Secretary is satisfied that all the requirements for registration have been met, the applicant will be issued a certificate of registration and the institution will be classified based on the education provided. If a school does not meet all the requirements (such as curriculum standards), but the Permanent Secretary is satisfied that it serves a useful purpose, the applicant may be granted a certificate of recognition.
 

Financial operation

Profit-makingThere was no regulation on profit-making found. Education providers are only required to comply with the standard financial regulations and guidelines issued by the MoE or relevant authority.

Taxes and subsidies: The state provides financial and operational assistance to the majority of non-state institutions in Fiji, which are offered various grants to cover costs in establishment, and in the case of registered institutions, educational material, teacher salaries (including the appointment of government teachers), and facility maintenance. According to the Education (Grants and Assistance to Non-Government Schools) Regulations 1977, institutions that apply to receive aid from the state may be subject to certain conditions set by the Permanent Secretary, which if not complied with, may result in the suspension or cancellation of the institution’s aid.

Quality of teaching and learning

Curriculum and education standardsWhile non-state educational institutions may follow their own curriculum (subject to approval by the Permanent Secretary), they are required to teach specific subjects relating to health, civic education, and issues of national interest, while all primary schools must teach iTaukei and Fiji Hindi languages as additional compulsory subjects. In the case of ECCE centers, the Policy in Early Childhood Education 2013 states that all programs must be conducted in the children’s vernacular (Vosa vaka-viti, Hindi, Rotuman, Urdu) based on the Na Noda Mataniciva philosophy, with English being introduced as a second language at age 5. According to the Education Act 1978, non-compulsory religious instruction may be provided in any school, but the majority of subjects must remain secular, otherwise the institution is not recognized by the state as a “school”.

Teaching professionAccording to the Policy in Establishment and Recognition/Registration of Schools 2011, all teachers employed in non-state institutions from early childhood to secondary level in Fiji are required to have an appropriate teaching qualification from a recognized institution that is approved by the Permanent Secretary and complies with the Fiji Teachers Registration Board Promulgation. According to the Teachers Registration Act 2008, all teachers in Fiji must be registered to teach (through the Board). Institutions are additionally required to administer professional teacher development on an annual basis and have any staff changes approved by the Permanent Secretary. The appointment of teachers in private schools is the responsibility of the school’s management, except for kindergartens where appointment is carried out in consultation with the MoE. Teachers in state schools are considered public officers and are covered under the Public Service Act 1999 (which includes provisions on salaries, wages, retirement, and leave), that does not apply to private school teachers. The Employment Relations Act 2007, which stipulates fair and minimum labour practices for “all persons” employed in both state and non-state sectors includes provisions on wage protection, working hours, and leave.

Equitable access

Fee-settingAccording to the Education Act 1978, any fees levied by government-aided institutions in Fiji may be regulated by the state, which has the authority to set the minimum or maximum fees levied in each institution as one of the conditions for granting aid.

Admission selection and processesAccording to the Education Act 1978, art. 9 and the Education (Establishment and Registration of Schools) Regulations 1996, “while a registered or recognized school may, when selecting pupils for admission give preference to pupils of a particular race or creed, no pupil shall be denied admission solely on grounds of race or religion”. Moreover, no pupil may be admitted to the first year of formal education in a registered or recognized school after the first two weeks of the school term without the prior approval of the Permanent Secretary.

Policies for vulnerable groupsThe Social Justice Act of 2001 requires the state to provide increased grants to registered, government-aided institutions located in rural or semi-urban areas, or institutions which serve disadvantaged populations, such as students from lower-income households or students who are physically and/or mentally impaired. Moreover, all registered non-state institutions receive Free Education Grants for all Fijian pupils aged 5 – 18 attending the school, which cover the tuition costs for those students and must be used solely for the purposes of infrastructure maintenance, and facilitating learning and teaching.

Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability

Reporting requirements: According to the Schools Standard Monitoring and Inspection Policy 2014, institutions are required to submit self-assessment reviews to their DEO, which conducts inspections to verify the submitted results at least once every three years.

Inspection: Besides establishment and recognition requirements, all schools are subject to site visits and inspections to ensure standards are maintained, which according to the Schools Standard Monitoring and Inspection Policy 2014, is the “cornerstone of the quality assurance system in schools”. All non-state educational institutions in Fiji are subject to external evaluation by officers authorized by the Permanent Secretary, which may enter and inspect an institution at any time (with or without notice) to ensure minimum standards are being maintained.

Assessment: According to the Education Act 1978, the Permanent Secretary may determine the assessment and examination standards in all registered schools, while all non-state educational institutions are required to obtain the prior approval of the MoEHA in taking part in national examinations.

Sanctions: If any institution is found to not be complying with the required health and safety standards or curricula standards, or if the institution is operating without being registered or recognized by the MoEHA (following an official warning), the Permanent Secretary may cancel the institution’s registration certificate and/or order the closure of the school. Moreover, if any non-state institution is maintained without being registered or recognized by the Permanent Secretary, the manager(s) will be liable upon conviction to a fine of up to 1,000 Fiji dollars (490.80 USD) and (if not paid) imprisonment for up to 6 months. Finally, if any institution is managed by an individual that has not been approved the state, they will be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding 200 Fiji dollars (98.16 USD), and if not paid, imprisonment for up to 6 months.

 

3.3 Supplementary private tutoring

 

Entry/Establishment

No information was found. 

Financial operation and quality

No information was found. 

Teaching profession

No information was found. 

 

Dernière modification:

mar 30/11/2021 - 17:36