Fiji is proud of its diversity and recognises its rich heritage that embraces the cultures of the Pacific region and beyond, enriching our lives. Inclusivity is about valuing such diversity and recognizing that children bring to schools, cultures, experiences, knowledge and abilities influenced by such diversities.

What better time than this, to celebrate the festival of colours, ‘Holi’.

I convey my congratulations to most of the
schools around Fiji that had early ‘Holi’ celebrations today with much music,
sweets, colours and laughter. Living in a multi-cultural, multi-racial,
multi-lingual country like Fiji, we spread the joy of love, unity, harmony,
stability, and prosperity, firm foundations of the current government through
marking the national celebration.

Such festivals help children freely bring
out their cultural identity and showcase the richness and diversity of our
unique heritage. This embodies the philosophy of education advocated by the
National Curriculum Framework (NCF) that education is value based, recognising
that no education is culture free or value free.

Recently you all have witnessed an incident
which strongly displays that the truth will prevail.

The bullying incident happened last year and the students must have thought that they got away with it.

However, the truth was revealed and justice will prevail. However torturous this incident has been for the nation, it has taught us a lesson that evil does not reign forever and the truth will find a way and reveal itself.

Faith is one of the strongly advocated values addressed in the NCF. Myths and legends presented to children help to increase their knowledge and understanding of why a particular group celebrates this festival.

The mission of the Ministry is to ensure that children appreciate fully their inheritance which includes knowledge of arts thus this celebration sheds light on the origin of this festival, brought to Fiji by the ‘girmitiyas’ from the artistic nation of India.

A number of musical instruments, a rich part of Indian heritage and arts are used during the celebrations.

Indeed it is a festival of joy which includes the preparation, distribution and sharing of a variety of sweets and playing with colours  which are symbolic in nature as they show the beautiful ambience that mother-nature has on offer which must be celebrated.

The significance of getting everyone immersed in one colour is to show that there is no difference of race and religion and humanity is a rainbow of thoughts and ideas taking Fiji into the envisioned national direction.

Overall the festival of “Holi’ conveys the message of victory over evil, truth over lies, justice over atrocities, love over hatred, trust over betrayal and patience over restlessness.

This celebration today must remind us that we are not celebrating as individuals, as secluded religious groups or as a particular school but this is a national celebration and a reminder that our heritage and arts make a very concrete portion of the holistic education envisioned for our future.

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