Bakhodir Burkhanov: Launching of the Fijian Parliamentary Education ResourcesMar 16, 2017
Honorable Speaker of the Fijian Parliament, Dr. Jiko Luveni;
Honorable Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, Dr. Mahendra Reddy;
Ambassador Mark Ramsden, New Zealand High Commission;
Ms. Emmanuelle Guiheneuf, Head of Economic and Social Sectors, EU Delegation for the Pacific;
Mr. Tsuguyoshi Hada, Charge d'Affaires, Embassy of Japan;
Mr. Peter Raab, Acting Development Counsellor, Australian High Commission;
Mr. Iowane Tiko, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts;
Mrs. Viniana Namosimalua, Secretary-General to Parliament;
Students and teachers:
Yadra vinaka and Namaste to you all!
Let me begin by saying that it is a great pleasure to see many of you – students and teachers alike – attending the launch of the Parliamentary Educational Resources for Schools this morning.
On behalf of UNDP, I would like to congratulate the Honorable Speaker for her leadership in achieving another milestone, which avails another opportunity for the Fijian citizens and these young men and women sitting here today, to learn about Parliament – its role and how it works, to increase their awareness and hopefully their interest in the work of this supreme legislative and oversight body.
Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen:
At UNDP, we have been quite privileged to have had the opportunity to partner with your Parliament to develop these resources for use in both primary and secondary schools. We have also had the privilege of working closely with the Ministry of Education’s Curriculum Advisory Services and selected school teachers from all over Fiji. They have reviewed and given feedback on these materials. This is the culmination of over two years of work, and all these partners should be proud of what they have achieved together.
Why are these materials important? Across the park is the Parliament building. It is not the Parliament of the MPs who are elected to office, or the staff currently working there. It is your Parliament and the Parliament of all Fijians.
All Fijians, especially younger citizens, need to know how Parliament works and what it does. One day, you will be voting to decide who should be sitting in that Parliament representing Fiji and its people. I very much hope that the materials we are launching today will help you understand the role of Parliament in the society, and to make more informed choices as citizens.
As you have heard from the Honourable Speaker, the Fijian Parliament has undertaken many outreach activities around the country – from the Meet the Speaker and the Parliament Bus programs, to Youth Parliaments and the Practice Parliament for Women initiatives, as well as trainings for civil society organizations on how they can be involved in the work of Parliament. UNDP and our partners have been honored to support many of these outreach activities through the UNDP Fiji Parliament Support Project.
At UNDP, we remain committed to supporting your Parliament in making its work more open and accessible to the general public – and especially to you as Fiji youth and future leaders.
Before I close, I would like to say that our support for these educational resources would not have been possible without the generous support from our donors: the European Union and the Governments of New Zealand, Japan and Australia. I thank them for their support to the Fiji Parliament, and am glad that they are here with us today for this launch.
Once again, congratulations to you, Honorable Speaker, to the Secretary General and to all Parliament staff for producing these educational resources.
Thank you, vinaka vakalevu and dhanyabaad.
*Mr. Bakhodir Burkhanov is UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji's Country Director and Head of Pacific Regional Policy and Programme.