Former Education Ministry CEO leads call to oust Hon. Pohiva as Education Minister

    In picture: Emily Moala Pouvalu Former Ministry of Education CEO wanted Hon Akilisi Pohiva and Acting Minister of Education Hon. Lavulavu dismissed.


    Former Ministry of Education CEO Emily Moala Pouvalu is trying to have Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva dismissed from his position as Education Minister.

    Pouvalu launched the petition, which claims  Pohiva is no longer fit to lead the Ministry, after a meeting at the Basilica of St Anthony of Padua in Nuku’alofa on Monday.

    The petition, which is also aimed at Acting Minister of Education, Hon. ‘Etuate Lavulavu, will be sent to the king.

    Pouvalu and her supporters claimed Hon. Pohiva’s leadership had caused a lot of dissatisfaction among senior officials in the ministry.

    They said they were also concerned the Acting Minister of Education, Hon. ‘Etuate Lavulavu, who is also the Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism, had damaged the Ministry during the time in the position.

    However, in a story on a Tongan local radio station some high school directors were reported as still supporting Pohiva and Lavulavu in their roles in the ministry.

    Pouvalu’s contract as CEO of the Ministry of Education ended in May 2015. The position was re-advertised until May 5 and interviewing of applicants began in June 3.

    Pouvalu applied for the job and in August she appeared in the media, voicing her concerns about how the Tonga  Public Service Commission had not released the results.

    Meanwhile, rumours had spread among the public about who had been given the post.

    In an interview with Nepituno News outlet in August, she said she lost interest in the job when she heard the rumours.

    She said she was more concerned at how the process of recruitment was followed and how confidential information about the interviewees was leaked.

    Pouvalu said the recruitment procedure was unreliable.

    She also denied allegations that she complained when she heard rumours that someone else has got the job. She said she only lodged a letter of inquiry on July 28 raising her concern about the delay in announcing the result of the interview.

    She said soon after allegations began to circulate that she had  complained.  She said perhaps the person who spread the story did not know the difference between “complaint” and “inquiry.”

    Pouvalu also talked about her concerns about the mark standardisation saga that triggered threats of legal action from the Prime Minister’s son after he was accused of having been involved in a computer software project that would see the system for the computerisation of the students’ marks be changed.

    She said she was concerned the change from using the standardisation method to raw marks could lead to a situation overseas institutions would refuse to accept Tongan students’ marks.

    Pouvalu said the decision to use raw marks was based on a vote by high school principals at a meeting in Nuku’alofa.

    She said the decision should have been made by experts in the field.

    The main points

    • Former Ministry of Education CEO Emily Moala Pouvalu is trying to have Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva dismissed from his position as Education Minister.
    • Pouvalu launched the petition, which claims Pohiva is no longer fit to lead the Ministry, after a meeting at the Basilica of Anthony Padua in Nuku’alofa on Monday.
    • The petition, which is also aimed at Acting Minister of Education, Hon. ‘Etuate Lavulavu, will be sent to the king.
    • Pouvalu and her supporters claimed Hon. Pohiva’s leadership had caused a lot of dissatisfaction among senior officials in the ministry.

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