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.
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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.
Fiji flag source: Countryaah.com
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.