Minister for Education Rosy Akbar has urged politicians to refrain from using children and their education to score cheap political points. This comes after Opposition member of Parliament Lenora Qereqeretabua was quoted in the Fiji Times yesterday, claiming that the educational channel on Walesi was not accessible to all students – attributing to this high costs. It is already common knowledge that as per the Fijian Government Subsidy Scheme, a Walesi set-top box comes completely free of cost to any Fijian earning below $30,000 a year per household.
For families who can afford it, it costs from $89 – $99 FJD and not $149, as stated by the poorly researched NFP member of Parliament in the poorly researched article by the Fiji Times. 109,761 Fijian families have so far benefitted from the Fijian Government’s Walesi subsidy scheme and the free Walesi application (Android and iOS) has been downloaded over 400,000 times.
These facts, in conjunction with the fact that 93% of the Fijian population is online, means that a large number of students should have access to our content. We also urge parents to get involved in their child’s education and encourage them to watch the channel. As the Ministry of Education has said in previous statements, every single school will be provided with the supplementary materials covering the same subject matter for parents to pick up, meaning should a student not have access to Walesi, they should have access to the same materials.
The article also incorrectly states that we are holding classes over the Walesi television platform. We would like to reiterate, as we have done in every single release, that these are only supplementary classes which we are providing for the benefit of children and parents and none of these will be tested. Every child will still go through all of these curricula with their teachers once school resumes.
The Minister for Education is disappointed that at a time when Fijians should be showing solidarity and looking out for one another, some unscrupulous individuals and entities are trying to score cheap political points by peddling misinformation and fake news.