The school system is well developed. Almost all children
attend six to eight years of primary school, and about 85%
go on to secondary school, a slightly higher proportion of
girls than boys. Almost the entire population over 15 years
is literate. The higher education is well catered for,
primarily through the University of the South Pacific,
founded in 1968. The university is run in collaboration with
other smaller island states in the area. In addition, there
are two more universities in the country. In 2011, 14% of
government spending was spent on education. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Fiji.
In November 1993, six members of the FPP joined the
opposition, leading to the re-election of new elections.
Rabuka retained power with 31 out of the 37 seats of the
Melanesians in parliament as well as the support of the
independent members of the General Voting Party. The FPP
dissidents captured only 5 of the seats.
In November 1994, the government initiated a cautious
review of the racist constitution. Rabuka transformed the
government repeatedly during 1995 due to internal divisions
in the government coalition. At the same time, he initiated
legal action against a commission of inquiry that implicated
him in irregularities surrounding the National Bank's
deficit. The government's plan to allow 28,000 Chinese from
Hong Kong to emigrate to Fiji sparked a wave of criticism.
According to the government's plan, emigrants each had to
pay US $ 130,000 to legally settle in the country.
In September 1996, the Constitutional Commission issued a
proposal for a new constitution that secured a "multi-ethnic
government" and reserved a specific number of seats in
parliament for each of the ethnic groups. The proposal was
adopted in July 1997 and came into force a year later.
In September 1997, Fiji was again incorporated into the
Commonwealth, from which it had been excluded 10 years
earlier as a result of Rabuka's military coup.
The Asian financial crisis forced the country to devalue
its currency 20% against the dollar and reduce tariffs.
A study that year revealed that 40% of pregnant women in
Suva had STDs. In early 1998, the government launched a
health plan to combat a tropical fever epidemic that had
already killed 4 children.
In February 1998, Prime Minister Rabuka declared that he
feared being overthrown by a new coup. He accused the church
and the military of preparing a plot against him.
In May 1999, the first truly democratic elections were
held since the coup. It was won by Mahendra Chaudhry and the
Indian Party. Rabukas Fiji Party won only 6 of the 71 seats
in parliament, while its allies, the General Voting Party,
won no seats.
Although tens of thousands of Indians had fled Fiji after
the 1987 coup, they still made up almost half the
population. Although many Fijians continued to regard
Indians as a threat, the ethnic issue was overshadowed by
the country's economic problems, unemployment, rising crime
and cuts in the public sector.
Yet the ethnic conflict exploded a year later, on May 19,
2000, when an armed group led by businessman George Speight
occupied Parliament and captured Prime Minister Mahendra
along with 30 other people - including the president,
Kamisese Mara's daughter. The kidnappers demanded that the
constitution be rewritten to prevent the Indian minority's
access to government power.