Scholarships by Merit and Need, Not Race and Influence; CoupFourPointFive Going Downhill

MAJOR CHANGES TO SCHOLARSHIPS.  Major changes are expected in the present race-based scholarships funded by government.

Up until now Fiji has had two separate scholarship pools, one for i-taukei and Rotumans, the other for Indo-Fijians and the minority communities. There is no financial cut-off point for itaukei and Rotuman applicants, anyone can apply irrespective of what their parents earn. But for Indo-Fijian applicants their combined parents' annual income must not exceed $10,000, and for Other Ethnic applicants $15,000.

It does not take a wizard to see how this worked. The ethnic Fijian elite had their children's education subsidized by government, using taxes paid for by all communities. Their children, given generally better schooling and parental support) would be likely to obtain higher higher school grades. These grades and their parents' "connections" meant they were more likely to be awarded scholarships than children from poorer itaukei families, with poorer schooling,less parental support, and fewer "connections." In other words, the system favoured the relatively small number of better-off itaukei at the expense of the vast number of other itaukei.

The poor were eligible for the scholarships and some would receive them. But the competition with more favoured children would be tough.  I suspect many  of those itaukei now living overseas who are opposed to the Bainimarama government once received these scholarships.

The situation was reversed for Indo-Fijians and Other Ethnics. Their elite — and families earning more than $10,000 or $192 a week (the Basic Needs Urban Poverty Line in 2003 was $150) — received NO assistance from government, although, of course, they paid taxes to help fund ALL scholarships. Only Indo-Fijian children with parents whose combined income was LESS than $10,000 p.a. were eligible to apply for scholarships. This, incredibly, would effectively cut out almost all whose school grades were high enough to win a scholarship on merit.

In reporting this, FijiLive said "no reason has been given for the different criteria set but this seems to be the norm" but whatever the reason, the effect was to award a disproportionate number of scholarship to the children of the itaukei elite — and the Indo-Fijian (and Other Ethnics) poor — at the expense of the itaukei poor and the bulk of the non-itaukei. Thank goodness the PM has announced new criteria for scholarships that will be merit and need based, not race based, and a merger of the itaukei and non-itaukei separate pools.

One further factor needs to be fed into the scholarhip situation. Itaukei are also eligible to apply for scholarships from a raft of funds available from provincial councils, fund-raising activities,land lease money, and other sources. Such money I see as an entitlement. It derives from itaukei sources.  It is the way government-sourced money, derived from all races, has been used that raises questions of fairness, justice and citizenship.

The People's Charter has a vision to have equal opportunities for all Fiji citizens irrespective of their race or religion. It also states that there should be merit-based equality when it comes to opportunities.

COUP FOUR POINT FIVE used to be a reasoned anti-government blog, far better than most of the others. It has changed its editors more than once since it started in June last year, and its current editors are not in the same class as its founders.  This is what one of my readers wrote after visiting the blog:

"I made the mistake of visiting Coup 4.5 to see what the others were saying. Some of the comments there are very depressing. It's as if a collective madness has taken hold.

"Apart from the three-line group-speak and general sense of delusion, what's really jarring is the constant stream of abuse and racial and sexual invective.

"The recent stuff on Ana Rokomokoti is appalling. How the gatekeepers on that site can pass some of the things that have been said about her - from her sexual performance to her racial origins -is reprehensible. This is late night bar talk among drunks in some sleazy dive, not for general publication.

"It all smacks of frustration and utter desperation, the last days in the anti-regime bunker. As in Hitler's last days, every little pyrrhic victory is seized on, no matter how inconsequential, every nay-sayer is a traitor and any notion of dispassionate analysis, let alone truth, has given way to the basest propaganda.

"They've lost the plot, the moral high ground and, it seems, the battle. And for the first time, one senses that they know it. Four years of fruitless agitation - as long as the Great War - has come to nought."

Note. I provide a link to CoupFourPointFive on this blog.  They have removed the link to my blog on theirs.  I accept all reasonable and original comments from all sources.  CoupFourPointFive refuses to accept my comments.

If you broadly support the position taken on most issues by this blog, please visit their blog, leave a reasonable comment, and let me know if it was published. Vinaka.


Coup 4.5 said…
you need to get your facts right. you may even obtain some credibility outside your junta group think if you get some balance in your blog?
Coup Four Point Five is not anti government - it is anti regime. Fiji doea not have a government - the government was deposed four years ago by men with guns. It is currently run by an unelected junta - it is a military regime. hope this helps your confusion?
Time to give 4.5 a bunch of fives said…
Actually, Croz, they HAVE published one of your comments under the Ana Rokomokoti item, complete with your photo. But, yes, they've removed the link to your blog while retaining others like David Robie's Cafe Pacific, which is often critical of the anti-regime camp. Jone Baledrokdroka also appears to give you a back-hander in his latest piece on the site, referring to a "pro-military blog". You're getting to them and firing off this salvo seems bound to escalate the rift. But it's high time they were brought to account. Some of their stuff is not only hysterical but offensive.
Jake said…
C4.5 although they maybe anti Bainimarama however they have allowed me to reach out to wayward souls and bring them home.

For home is where the heart is.

4.5 out of 100 for manners said…
Coup 4.5, then how do you explain the disgusting things I've just read on your site about Ana Rokomokoti being a dud **** and asking about her parentage and whether she's a "mongoose".

You guys are a disgrace. I've sent stuff to you that's perfectly reasonable but never appears and yet you allow this filth to be spread about someone who can't respond.

Letting the "mongoose" comment through is particular offensive. You have no right to preach to anyone, you hypocrites!
Islands in the Stream said…
Coup 4.5 :

BUT IS IT ANTI-TERROR? Hardly think so! And that is all that counts. So easy to tolerate terrorist extremists and their fellow travellers when you are not even around to share their well-deserved fate? Their compadres are still coming into court. Away they go!
Racial insults said…
Croz, this is the problem with these guys at Four and a Half. I don't think they're really for democracy at all but a return to the glory days of the SDL and its program to promote the indigenous cause at the expense of other races.

How strange that the term "mongoose" is allowed as a racial epithet on their site when one of their main contributors is the Indo-Fijian Oxford sage, Victor Lal.

Poor, deluded Victor. Talk about sleeping with the enemy! He thinks he's with people who support democracy whereas he's really bedded down with those who secretly despise him and see him as an outsider. Very sad.
sara'ssista said…
Croz, just don't visit the coupfourpointfive website, it will only distress you.
Time to scrap said…
Oi, it's not just "mongoose" they're using over there.

Number two item this afternoon has someone talking about "Baini" and another saying he is only supported by Indians and Muslims.

Not some Indians and some Muslims, ALL Indians and Muslims.

I've also sent lots of comments to them that never make it. But never something racist like this.

Lamu sona liu muri to the max. You go for it Croz. We're with you all the way.
sara'ssista said…
no matter what , the coupfourpoint five site is certainly less offensive to me than a country run by a military regime that proports to be reforming by way of censorship??!!
No ssista of mine said…
Sara'ssista, so no criticism of the racial insults, just advice not to read 4.5 and a comment that the regime is less offensive. I used to think you were standing up for democracy but now I wonder whether you're a mongoose hater too. Or maybe you just don't think racial vilification is a big deal. As they say, evil triumphs when good men ( or women ) do nothing.
Ssista's slip is showing said…
Sara'ssista, I've just seen you in the comments section at 4.5 ( Item 3 ) under another disgraceful posting that says "we might as well just hand over everything to the Indians". No criticism from you there either so I assume you share this sentiment. Labasa, dear! Your racist slip is showing. As they say, you can judge people by the company they keep. Shame on you.
Time to switch off the link said…
Croz, such a strange mob over at 4.5. There's the hyperventilating, hyperbolic Victor Lal, the vengeful axe-grinder and Qaranivalu stooge Jone Baledrokadroka and, in the comments section, the aimless Sydney nurse and SDL heartthrob Mark Manning. Plus a whole heap of anonymous wannabes trying to sound as authoritative journalistically as Netani Rika or as strident in the cause of human rights as Imrana Jalal. And failing to impress just as they did. It's a real rainbow coalition over there but unlike its South African counterpart, crusades for the rights of the few - those who lost power in 2006 - as opposed to equal rights for all citizens. My advice to you is to drop your own link to them, not so much in retaliation but because their content is now invariably biased, inflammatory or just plain wrong. They're now little better than the intellectual sewer that passes for a blog-site at Solivakasama. If they lift their game, you can review that policy down the track. But right now, the only thing 4.5 deserves is obscurity. In your own little way, give it to them.
Red Dragon said…
@ Racial insults......

And a whole lot more. Have you noticed how they harp upon what appears rational at first take? Then they just cannot help themselves and they slide into the depravity of incitement. In Rwanda this kind of deluded hysteria led to genocide and crimes against humanity. Before it, came The Terror. Cut them all loose!
Please support racial equality said…
Yeah. Croz, cut them off. Even if they don't agree with you, you haven't done anything to earn their disrespect.

I think the real reason you should get rid of the link is because they are allowing racist comments over there.

They censor legitimate political comment they don't agree with and I've had many of mine knocked back.
At the same time, they're allowing a lot of anti Indian comments through.

This makes them as bad as any of the others. Take a stand, please Croz for racial equality and cut off your link to 4.5. Thank you.
Lowest of the low said…
I just had a look at Coup 4.5 ( comments to item 3 ) and am quite frankly amazed. "Bye bye Ana you dirty little token mongoose". And in response to your comment, Croz. "Hey Croz Walsh, have you considered euthanasia?" This is totally unacceptable. Over there, it's Bainee this or Baini that, "may as well let the Indians take over", "stand up for our race" etc, etc. And you say Croz that you're providing a link to a "moderate" anti government blog? If Coup 4.5 is moderate, then I'd hate to see what the extremists are saying. This is racist trash.
Max senior said…
C4 maybe whatever ..but it still breaks stories and has more than double the readers you have Croz!
Maybe, whatever my arse said…
Max Senior is that all you can say? "Maybe, whatever" but it's still more popular? So was Hitler. I agree with Red Dragon. Turn a blind eye to racism at this level and you plant the seeds of a Rwanda. There's no excuse. Oti vakadua.
Cut 'em loose said…
Croz, I urge you take a stand on this one just to make a point. If Coup 4.5 starts getting bad publicity for allowing racist comments, they'll be forced to stop. You've nothing to lose now that they've ceased directing traffic to your site and everything to gain in the eyes of every decent person in Fiji. Yalo vinaka and cut this gang loose.
Anti Coup4.5 said…
Please Croz, listen to your loyal readers, stop all mention of that site, dont link to them, you are only lowering the standard of this blog site by giving them any credibility.
Green Beret said…
Hi from the other side Croz. Pity you are using your readers to fight your battles with Coupfourpointfive. From what I've seen very few of the other blogs take personal swipes at fellow blogs, the way you do. And not all of them list all of the blogs, though as you say you list Coupfour pointfive. As a regular follower of the blog that you and your followers so despite, I see no evidence of them carrying personal attacks the way you've encouraged your readers to do here.

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