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MInistry of Lands and Mineral Resources permanent secretary Malakai Finau, Dr Mahendra Reddy, the Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, and Vuetasau Buatoka after the handing over of the new boat to Naikeleyaga Village School on Kabara,Lau. Both Mess
THE Ministry of Education’s giving a new fibreglass boat for Naikeleyaga Village School could not have come at a better time, says a former student Vuetasau Buataka.
Mr Buatoka clearly remembers the days when his father, a retired teacher, used to paddle their canoe for more than half an hour to reach school.
The former permanent secretary for three ministries, who is now an engineering consultant, said it was an experience that helped shape them and helped them to what they achieved.
“I remember my father always took us by canoe to school when the weather was fine weather. When it is raining, we would walk to school.
“Back then there was not much pressure, life was laid back but education did not allow us to be laid back and my father, since he was a strong disciplinarian, made sure we attended school.
“Over the years there have been incidents of drowning where I lost a few relatives.
“This donation is very relevant and appropriate to maritime islands as most of our movements and mode of transportation is using the sea,” he said.
Minister of Education Dr Mahendra Reddy when handing over the $19,000 boat and outboard engine and safety requirements to the school management, said one of Government’s initiative was improving transportation and ensuring children were safe and protected.
“Government has been allocating a dedicated amount of money in the national budget to purchase boats and engines for numerous schools. These are not only for schools in the islands, but also in the interior areas where children have to cross rivers to go to school,” Mr Reddy said.
He said they would continue to provide assistance to remote schools because of the additional disadvantages they faced.
“This is not the end of assistance to your school. We are continuously looking at how we can provide additional assistance to your school.
“Two months ago we gave 2000 to 3000 mattresses to interior schools where there are hostels,” Mr Reddy added.
The school is on Kabara in Lau.
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