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                                                                                     THE HONOURABLE MINISTER FOR YOUTH AND SPORTS
                                                                                                             LAISENIA TUITUBOU

                                Address at the Awarding of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Bronze Certificates and Medals, Ratu Finau Secondary School, Lakeba – LAU
                                                                                                              05th October 2018

The Principal,
Teachers,
Students,
Award Recipients
Parents
Invited guests
Government Officials
Ladies and Gentlemen
_____________________________________________

Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

It is indeed my pleasure to have been invited to be here this morning to officiate in the presentation of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Certificates and Medals to the 10 (Ten) students of Ratu Finau Secondary School.

I am indeed honoured and exceptionally pleased to be here today as the Minister for Youth.

I would also like to acknowledge all who are present here today, the Teachers, parents and students of the school which have gallantly supported the 10 students who will be presented with their Certificate and medals. Without your never ending support and encouragement shown towards these students, their efforts in the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award would not have been successful. For that I thank you!

Ladies and Gentleman, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is available to all 14 to 24 year olds and we will be witnessing today 10 vibrant young people who have joined the Foundation in inspiring over 8 million of young people across the globe. The Award is internationally recognized and is the world’s leading youth achievement Award.

Government continues to provide advocacy programs targeted at creating sustainable livelihood for each young person. With the Ministry of Youth and Sports being the lead Ministry in Non-formal education, programs such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is targeted at empowerment trainings specifically in developing the young minds of our future leaders.

Not all learning takes place in the classroom. Young people need experiences outside the classroom to become committed, responsible and fulfilled citizens of Fiji. The Award’s non-formal educational model provides an alternative way for young people in the rural and maritime area that are not in the formal education system to gain a sense of self-esteem and achievement.

Both the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Ministry of Education through the Award programme, wishes to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills which ultimately improves the student’s academic performance.

I have witnessed the significant impact shown through the strong partnership between the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts. I am also aware that a National Trainer for the Award is teaching at the school which is an added advantage to the school and the island of Lakeba.

Teachers, Award Volunteers and youths have to be commended for their full participation in the extra-curricular Award activities.

I am sure the nearby villages and communities have seen and recognized the good work our young people have positively contributed to society. As a Minister for our future lads, I am aware that the Award promotes and teaches self-confidence, self-awareness, self-motivation, and self –belief that increases your capability in tackling any task or situation that life has to offer.

Through this Award, many of you have learnt new things and developed skills that will provide you with a sense of leadership and responsibility. The Award also provides you with an opportunity to establish new friendships that could last for a lifetime.

Ladies and Gentlemen the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award was founded by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh with a German educationalist Kurt Hahn in 1956.

This was based on their concern that young people’s development was lacking in certain key areas especially in life skills and character development.

The Award was introduced in Fiji in the early 60s at the then Derek Institute in Suva, later became the Fiji Institute of Technology and now the Fiji National University before it was coordinated by the then Ministry of Education, Youth & Sports.

Since the early 1990s the Ministry of Youth & Sports has been the National Award Operator coordinating the program in conjunction with the Ministry of Education through the respective participating Secondary Schools and youth clubs.

In September 2017, the Ministry of Youth and Sports was issued a three years Full License to coordinate the Award as the National Award Operator in Fiji. To date, we have registered 75 Award Units referring to Secondary schools and youth clubs, 117 Award Leaders and 1438 young people.

Ratu Finau Secondary School, Ladies and Gentlemen is the first school in the Eastern Division or in the Maritime Zone to receive the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. It is an achievement and something we should all be proud of!

To the students who will be awarded with the Bronze Award, you are still two steps away from reaching the Gold level.

I urge you to keep going and to complete the last hurdles of the challenge.

You are not to stop here but to continue to share with your peers how the Award has provided opportunities with the lifetime experiences. I challenge you, students of Ratu Finau Secondary School to have more recipients under this Award program and applying the same concept learning through the non-formal and formal education system.

It is important that we continue to dedicate our efforts and support Government’s initiatives towards the nurturing of young people at all times.

Before I conclude, I wish to reiterate Government’s unwavering commitment to the development of youths in the country. The Fijian Government has always placed significant emphasis on the growth of our nation, whether it is from an economic perspective, social, health or from a political perspective. Government recognizes that for our nation to reach the pinnacle of success and to maintain a holistic and sustainable growth, we must channel substantive and consistent effort towards the development of our young people.

With this, I congratulate you all and wish you all the very best for the years to come.

Thank you and vinaka vakalevu