From Fiji Times Online (19 August 2009)

To teach is to inspire

Paserio Furivai

THERE's just no substitute to teaching, says Paserio Furivai. He is a franchisee of the Kip McGrath Education Centre, the popular special tutoring education program.

"I am involved in tutoring students who need help or students who are looking for challenges," he said.

Aside from weak students, the program also helps students who are not challenged enough.

"Although the teachers are doing a very good job, there are very huge classes and the focus cannot be enough on the two extremes of the class," he explained.

Mr Furivai is originally from Rotuma, where he received his education until after Form Four.

After completing his secondary education, he trained to be a teacher.

Upon completion, he asked to be posted to an outer island school.

This request surprised officials because it was rare for graduands to ask to be posted to the interior schools, let alone the outer island schools.

Although he grew up on an island, he was not prepared for what he found when he arrived at the Lakeba primary school he was posted to.

"When I arrived on the school quarters, it was just four walls and there I was with my briefcase with books and things that I thought were important for teaching," he said.

Teaching in such conditions are very difficult, he stressed.

"After my third year in Lakeba I asked the ministry if I could move to another school," he said.

"My request was accepted and I was posted to Koro Island," he said.

According to Mr Furivai when he reached the school in Koro Island, he found that he was the only teacher in the school.

"All the other teachers were late and I was in charge of the school for the first three days," he said.

Mr Furivai says he represents those teachers who have served in the outer islands.

He has also served at Corpus Christi Teachers College for seven years.

After Corpus Christi, he pondered on his options and it was when it dawned on him that he could not imagine life without teaching.

He thrives on inspiring young people and when he learnt of the Kip McGrath program, he knew he could continue his passion through such a special centre.