In Fiji, schooling is compulsory for eight years from the age of six. Then follows a voluntary stage of three years. Almost all children start primary school and four out of five continue to the secondary school. Almost all Fijians can read and write.
However, poverty in rural areas means that some children there are hardly any education at all. Although the first eight school years are free of charge, it is expensive for many families to keep children with books, school uniforms and supplies.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Fiji, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Schools are usually run by local organizations or religious communities. All schools receiving state aid must receive both Fijian and Indian students in ethnically mixed classes. In practice, however, children usually leave the various ethnic groups, especially in rural areas, in different schools. Teaching in the lower classes takes place to some extent in Fiji (Itaukei) or Hindustani, but English then takes over. The Constitution provides that Fiji and Hindustani are compulsory subjects in all primary and lower secondary schools.
The level of education is generally lower among the Fijians than the Indians, despite major efforts that have gradually narrowed the gap. There is a shortage of qualified teachers, not least because of the emigration of highly educated after the 1987 coups.
The higher education is quite well developed. A university, the University of the South Pacific, was founded in 1968 in collaboration with eleven neighboring states in the Pacific. The university’s main area is in Suva. The private University of Fiji was founded in 2004 in the city of Lautoka. In 2010, six colleges were merged into Fiji National University, which is run under state auspices with branches around the country.
- Topmbadirectory: Offers information about politics, geography, and known people in Fiji.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
97.2 percent (2016)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
14.3 percent (2013)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
14.3 percent (2013)