The death of a 7 year-old student of Natoaika, Naitasiri, over the week-end while playing with his peers by the river, has prompted the Education Ministry to call on parents to take extra care for their childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s activities and whereabouts.
Last week, the Education Ministry in association with Police and other stakeholders launched its drug-free school concept, in support of the Blue Ribbon Campaign Ã¢â‚¬â€œ an initiative to stop all forms of child abuse in Fiji.
It must be noted that child abuse cases not only include verbal, physical and sexual abuse, but also child negligence. Children, when left unsupervised, can resort to activities which could either result in injury or suffering. A lot of times, things are taken for granted and little things like watching over the kids at play seem trivial.
Report on the Natoaika accident that was obtained by the Ministry from the Police indicated that a 26 year-old man was playing with the children.
It was unfortunate that somebody, whom the kids looked up to for support and care, was the culprit behind the tragic accident.
In the past, the Education Ministry has been very vocal in its child protection policy- that the Ministry and schools shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect children from all types of bodily or emotional violence, injury or cruelty, neglect or careless treatment, ill-treatment or abuse, including sexual abuse, while in the care of teachers, administrative and auxiliary staff, parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of children.
Finally, the Ministry calls for more quality family time, where parents could talk with their kids and sort matters of interest and concern. Students too need to be very selective of the kind of friends they have.
The friends they choose have a big influence on the way they conduct themselves in and outside school.