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The Catholic Church in Fiji has warned it is prepared to close all of its schools if the government continues to insist on the appointments of non-Catholics to head them.
But Archbishop Dr Peter Loy Chong has insisted this would only happen if the Church and the government aren't able to agree on three other options being explored.
The four options decided on after a meeting held last Thursday, include:
- To initiate a critical self-reflection and an organisational review of Catholic education in the areas of identity, character, quality of teachers and planning; e.g. the plan to upgrade Corpus Christi to a Catholic university
- To continue partnership with faith-based communities and work towards partnership with the Government.
- To take an aggressive and urgent stand on the Church's request to consider faith as a merit when considering appointments of Heads of Schools
- Archdiocese considers civil disobedience, which would include an open-air Mass, and to close the 44 primary and 19 secondary schools.
The South Pacific country's education ministry recently appointed two non-Catholic principals at Xavier College in Ba and Saint Thomas High in Lautoka.
Education Minister Rosy Akbar defended the decision and stated it was in line with the ministry's Open Merit Recruitment System.
She added that organisations unhappy with the ministry's policies could choose to privatise their schools.
Rev Epineri Vakadewavosa, president of Fiji's largest church - the Methodist Church, has called for more dialogue between the Church and government.
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