The talanoa-style meeting was held in good spirit, and the Hon Minister pledged to have an open, direct and mutually-respectful dialogue with the religious leaders as appointments are made going forward. The parties confirmed common ground in numerous ways to improve the appointment process –– methods that are both aligned to the open merit and recruitment selection guidelines, while also being mindful of the religious and spiritual values that drive Fiji's faith communities and the institutions they represent. In this context, it was agreed that appointments of civil servants, including heads of schools, would continue to be made by the Ministry based on merit as well as the candidate's compatibility and ability to support the ethos of the Faith and community schools.
Following previous meetings, it was re-affirmed that meaningful consultations will be held with faith communities in regards to hiring, and the Ministry will strive to ensure that a candidate's compatibility with the special ethos of the school is considered before an appointment is made. As previously proposed, the Ministry will also revise its job descriptions to reflect this desire to attract candidates with a commitment to and understanding of the ethos of a school along with the ability to support the ethos and traditions of a school, whether it be faith- or community-based. The Ministry committed to developing a formal policy to address these agreements in the longer term.
The Ministry and faith community leaders look forward to building upon the progress of this fruitful meeting in the weeks ahead, and to finding an educational framework that best serves all of Fiji's schools and, most importantly, the students who attend them.
1. I prefer Faith Communities to Faith-Based Organizations – community better reflects the churches and religious denominations. Community has a theological meaning whereas organization has a secular meaning.
2. In the meeting we agreed that appointments based OMRS to include the candidates compatibility to the school's ethos. In the other words compatibility with school ethos should be included as criteria for appointment together with OMRS