Tuesday, March 13, 2007

QVS Milestone

Vulinitu marks milestone

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - www.fijitimes.com

Queen Victoria School is one school that has established its roots deep within all aspects of Fijian society.

This year marks a milestone achievement for the school as it celebrates 100 years of moulding sons of Fiji into becoming useful and better citizens.

Students, staff, old boys and parents converged at the Post Fiji Stadium to launch the centennial celebration of the school last Saturday.

QVS was founded in 1906 as a school for the sons of Fijian chiefs. The school had two main objectives, to provide Fijian boys with necessary education and training for leadership and to ensure that Fijian chiefs would continue to occupy a prominent place in their country.

After the cession of 1874, there had been much concern expressed about the future of the Fijian people.

The colonial administrators were quick to understand that Fijian society had a sophisticated social structure based on chiefly authority and they believed and expected that this social structure could be reinforced, through education, to support the colonial administration. To achieve this end, the chiefs were the most logical choice to be given priority in the development of education among the Fijian people with the ability and potential for leadership, testifies to the wisdom of that early initiative. Its impact is evident throughout Fiji's society.

The Fijian chiefs' decision at the turn of the century to request the colonial government to develop schools for the education of their sons was motivated by a strong desire to ensure the continuance of Fijian authority and dignity in a rapidly changing colonial environment. In this way, they hoped to ensure the protection of the Fijian people and enable them to play a role in the colonial administration. In acknowledgement of this, the colonial government built Queen Victoria School at Nasinu in 1906. The seriousness and gravity of the noble goals the chiefs had for their people is reflected in the choice of the name of the school. The name Vulinituraga or Vulinitu (a school for chiefs) was also born. Chief guest at the launch, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau admitted that his days at QVS were the best time of his life.

"I must say here that QVS was the best school that I attended and it had a real effect on my life.

Travelling back down memory lane, Ratu Epeli said he was honoured to launch the school centenial celebration.

"At QVS I was in Rewa House and there were a lot of questions being raised over why I was in Rewa house as I was from Bau.

"Our teacher at that time master Netani Druavesi told my father that I was in Bure Rewa and I am supposed to be in Bure Bau, and my dad told him, that I had made a very good choice by joining Rewa House," he said.

"Actually I have relationship with Rewa and to go to Bau House I thought it was a bit foolish," he said with laughter.

"I had never regretted my time at the school and I have managed to make a lot of friends and bond with my brothers form Vulinitu and today they are my lifetime friends.

"Actually I can say that they are my second family, a family that shares every bit of moment together with laughter and tears," he said. Ratu Epeli said people sometimes view the school as a place where leadership qualities are being instilled in a student. "That is a wrong perception. The school does not instill a person with leadership quality but it fine-tunes all the qualities of a person.

"Every person has leadership instinct in them and the school is there to see that this quality is fine-tuned to prepare a person to lead in every area of society that they live in," he said.

This, he said, has been proven in Fiji as most of the country's prime ministers were former students of the school.

"That is a feat that QVS is always proud of and I hope that it would continue," he said.

However, Ratu Epeli said one thing that was unique about the school is the fact that even if one becomes a prime minister or President, when he is amongst his seniors from school, he is still considered as a junior boy.

"Our positions in school weighs far more than any executive or government position that we hold and that is something that we hold dear to our hearts because it defines the comradeship in school," he said.

Ratu Epeli said the school, over its 100 years of existance, has achieved a lot but there was still room for it to improve.

He said QVS defines the Fijian in a person because it holistically prepares students for life outside of the school.

QVS, as a result of the expressed wish of the Fijian chiefs, began as a unique institution for the sons of chiefs.

As a pioneer in Fijian education it was often identified with the future hopes and aspirations of Fijians. As the nation progressed, chiefs realised that commoners were beginning to succeed academically so that Vulinitu was opened to commoners as well. The rest is history with Queen Victoria School with perpetrating the vision of the chiefs 100 years ago. QVS old scholars occupy a special place in Fiji and have been in all facets of Fijian leadership. The spirit to lead is encapsulated in the words of Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna when creating a motto for Queen Victoria School "Forward Fiji".

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