Dictionaries in School Project


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The Dictionary in School project was instigated in the 2008-09 Rotary year following an initiative of Past RI President Bill Boyd a New Zealander.

During a visit to Fiji schools, introduction of Dictionaries was raised with Head Teachers and educationist in Fiji who advised that in recent years they have been concerned with the standard of both conversational and written English in the country. Clearly the standards were declining and providing a dictionaries to students as their personal copy should assist in addressing literacy to an extent.  

The Project aim meets one of the key objective of the Trust i.e. increase the knowledge base of the underprivileged children and young adult through education medium, resulting in self-sustainability. As such it fits well with Education First drive for literacy development.

On the advice and recommendation from teachers in Fiji it was established the dictionaries were more appropriate to class 5 students year 10 in Fiji rather than year 9 as is the case in New Zealand.

A approach was made to the Board of Rotary Club of Auckland Harbourside to extend “Dictionary in Schools” project to schools in Fiji as a joint project with Education First Trust.

Education First Trust offered to fund purchase of dictionaries and provide project leadership and logistics etc. under project leadership of Sursen Singh representing both organisations.
The proposal as outlined was approved by the Club.

Dr Narendra Reddy a Professor at University of Fiji was approached to assist in identifying schools within the guidelines i.e. rural, isolated and poor schools. Dr Reddy’s contact with Ministry of Education in Fiji proved invaluable he guided us in obtaining necessary regulatory approvals for the project and assisted in coordinating the project logistic i.e. custom clearance, warehousing and distribution schedule at the Fiji end.

Approval from Ministry of Education Fiji was obtained through a Memorandum of Understanding entered into between the Education First Trust NZ and the Ministry of Education Fiji. A dispensation from custom excise duty was also obtained for shipment of dictionaries to Fiji.

Project Implementation

60 boxes (480 dictionaries) were shipped to Fiji in November 2014 and were stored at a private storage arranged by Dr Reddy. He also identified 22 schools suited for the project and prepared in advance a schedule of visits to the individual schools in consultation with the schools Head teachers.
The distribution was undertaken from 2-5 March 2015 covering 22 primary schools totalling 456 students in Lautoka district by NZ team.  New Zealand team consisted of  Pradeep Chand, Usha Kiran, Anil Varma, Rohini Varma from Education First Trust and Harjeet Golian and Sursen Singh representing both organisation. Dr Narendra Reddy and Sanjai Singh from University of Fiji joined the team in the distribution. The Group was divided into two teams.

Teams were briefed on presentation and local protocol before commencement of distribution. Two set of Pop Up banners highlighting project sponsors name and logos project were used to display the project at presentation ceremony promoting the two sponsors of the project. Both the teams met at the storage site each morning and after loading the boxes of dictionaries as per the day schedule travelled on to the schools.
We were warmly received at all schools, the dictionaries were formally presented to the class five students at an organised class ceremony. Those students who were absent dictionaries were left with the respective class teachers to present to the students. At all schools the students were very happy to receive their personal copy of the dictionary. We could clearly see the happiness on the faces of the children receiving this gift of learning.

Appreciation by the schools

The school teachers and management were very grateful to the donors for providing these dictionaries to the children, the Ministry of Education has since expressed their gratitude through Dr Reddy for both organisations effort and desire to assist in improving literacy in Fiji schools.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

The Project Leader wish to record his appreciation to all who participated in this project namely Anil Verma, Rohini Verma Pradeep and Usha Chand and Harjeet Golian who self- funded their travel and accommodation costs.

Special thanks and acknowledgement to our project sponsors who facilitated logistics warehousing, freight and transport at no cost; namely Rohit Naryan of UB Freight Limited, Sataya Pillay 3Dimeension Consultants, Singhs Rental Car Limited Fiji and Sanjai Singh of University of Fiji.
A very special thanks to Dr Reddy for his assistance, guidance and monetary contribution towards clearance and transport of books to warehouse, success of the project to a large extent is attributed to his valuable contribution.    

Recipients of Dictionaries

3571 dictionaries have been distributed to 192 schools since 2015

Primary schools in the Lautoka Education District that received Dictionaries

Nos.   Reg.No    Name of School            No. of Dictionaries                

01       1077         RaviRavi Sangam School                21
02       1085         Tavarau Bhartiya School                  24
03       1086         Tuvu Primary School                       16
04       3025         Teidamu Primary School                  06
05       1054         Drasa Primary  School                     42
06       3026         Drasa Muslim Primary School         13
07       3083         Sathya Sai School                           13
08       3001         Qalitu Primary School                     10
09       1028         Vitogo District School                      19
10        1053        Vitogo Deshbandhu School            08
11        1003        Lololo Primary School                     03
12        1011        Ratu Saimoni Raseru Mem Sch.     09
13       1088         Vakabuli  Primary School                07
14       1043         Amichandra Memorial School         42
15       3046        Gandhi Bhawan School                   72
16       1087        Shri Ram Govind School                  05
17       3031        Saru MGM Primary School              41
18       3020        Wairabetia Muslim School               04
19       1008        Dreketi Sangam School                   06
20      1059         Gurukul Primary School                   46
21       1097        Viseisei Primary School                   31
22       3007        Lomolomo Public School                 18

TOTAL                                                                       456
BAL.                                                                           24
G/TOTAL                                                                   480

The balance of books will be distributed at next visit..