Nursing Education in Fiji

Executives from the Higher Education Commission Fiji (HECF) and Oceania Hospital Pte Ltd met today to talk about teaming up to improve nursing education and address the shortage of nurses in Fiji. This effort is led by Mr. Steve Chand, the Chair of HECF, who has been working to create partnerships that bridge skills gaps in Fiji. In the meeting, Mr. Chand was joined by Dr. Rohit Kishore, the CEO of HECF.

A key point of discussion was how Oceania Hospital could work closely with nursing training institutions in Fiji. The Oceania Hospital Pte Ltd team included:

Mr. Morgessan Pillay – CEO

Mr. David Qumivutia – Chief Operations Officer

Mr. Salesh Kumar – Head of People, Culture & Learning

This meeting marks the beginning of forming strategies and plans to involve the right people and organizations to drive this initiative forward.

Priority Given to Sports Education

Discussions regarding sports education and its various advancements have been an ongoing point of interaction between the governments of Cuba and Fiji. These conversations have not only persisted but have also evolved, as evidenced by a recent lunch meeting held at the residence of the Cuban Ambassador, His Excellency José Manuel Galego Montano.

The Fijian delegation at this meeting comprised prominent figures including the Minister for Education, Hon Aseri Radrodro, the Minister for Youth and Sports, Hon Jese Saukuru, the Chairperson of the Higher Education Commission Fiji, Mr Steve Chand, as well as the Chairperson of the Fiji Sports Council, Mr Gilbert Vakalalabure. Their presence signified the importance that Fiji places on this collaborative initiative with Cuba.

Moreover, to further solidify these discussions and move forward with the shared goals, a delegation from Fiji is set to embark on a journey to Cuba in late September. This visit will provide an opportunity for both sides to delve deeper into their cooperative agenda, particularly in the realm of sports education and related developments.

2023-2024 Allocation of Government Grants to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)

To meet the future workforce needs of our Fijian society and participate fully in the new global economy, Government continues to provide operational grants to the Universities and other tertiary institutions. This funding aims to boost the competitiveness of the Fijian workforce over the medium to long term by giving our students access to high-quality education and professional training. By doing so, more Fijians will be armed with the knowledge, skills, and ethical responsibility to meet the employment demands of a rapidly evolving and dynamic economy and address the skills shortage in Fiji through capacity building in the areas of Nursing and Teaching.

Pursuant to section 7(g) of the Higher Education Act 2008, the Higher Education Commission Fiji (HECF) is required to “allocate government funds marked for higher education annually to higher education institutions according to transparent and well-publicised criteria for allocation’’. Moreover, reg.54 of the Higher Education Regulations 2009 provides the requirements that the Commission must consider when determining the allocation of grants to institutions.

HEIs have been allocated Government Grants for the 2023-2024 financial year through the assessment of Costed Operational Plans (COPs) submitted. The broad output areas included in the COPs have the following components:
(i) teaching and learning: which recognises the costs of delivering education and the number of students but calculated differently in the two models;
(ii) equity: to incentivise enrolment in and completion of qualifications by students from disadvantaged groups, particularly students with disabilities and students from low-income families;
(iii) performance: to incentivise HEIs to support their students towards completion of their studies but calculated differently in the two models; and
(iv) national priority: to recognise the Government’s role to steer the system through directing more funding to institutional needs, programmes, fields of study or other initiatives that are assessed as contributing to current and future national development priorities.
(v) research: incentivises universities to conduct research aligned to Fiji’s national needs. The research component has three sub-components:
(i) research capability: to help universities build their capability to do research;
(ii) research education: to incentivise universities to build strong teaching-research links; and
(iii) research value: to incentivise universities to focus their research on Fiji’s national development needs.
(vi) institutional base subsidy: non-university model component that is reflecting the fact that these HEIs are small and therefore, unable to achieve economies of scale.
A total of ten (10) HEIs have been allocated a sum of $103.3m Government grant for the 2023-2024 financial year through an assessment of COPs submitted by HEIs. The table below lists the breakdown of grants allocated to HEIs that will be administered by the Higher Education Commission Fiji.
Higher Education Institution 2023-2024 Grant Allocated ($)
The Fiji National University- $41,456,429
FNU Grant – Monash University- $2,000,000
The University of Fiji- $2,804,774
The University of the South Pacific- $33,530,000
USP Outstanding Grant- $20,000,000
Fulton Adventist University College- $159,598
Sangam Institute of Technology- $614,411
Corpus Christi Teachers College- $131,500
Vivekananda Technical Centre- $296,100
Montfort Boys’ Town- $861,417
Montfort Technical Institute- $473,583
Pacific Polytechnic Limited- $1,000,000
Total Grant $103,327,812

With the grants allocated to the HEIs, the Higher Education Commission Fiji also plays an active role in monitoring the utilisation of the Government grant to ensure accountability of public funds. To do this, the Higher Education Commission Fiji uses the Grant Management System; a tool developed to track, monitor, and report on both financial and programme output. Grants from the government are operational in nature, and HEIs utilise the grant in the areas to enhance teaching and learning, performance, research, and equity, or it may be used as an institutional base grant to support HEIs operations.

Outreach Consultation Continues

The Chairperson of the Higher Education Commission – Fiji (HECF), Mr. Steve Chand, accompanied by the HECF CEO, Dr. Rohit Kishore, facilitated a consultation for youths in the Western Division in partnership with the Fiji Police Force This initiative is aimed at providing youths with an opportunity for upskilling by undertaking short courses.

The Fiji Police Force has identified over 100 unemployed youths between the ages of 18 – 35 in the Western Division who have shown a keen interest in furthering their skills. HECF had conducted this outreach consultation at Fiji Police Force Office in Lautoka yesterday.

Final DFAT- FNU-MONASH Stakeholder Workshop

The final DFAT-MONASH-FNU Stakeholder Workshop was held at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva today ( Wednesday – 09/08/23)to finalise an SME policy matrix for climate change mitigation for Fiji. The policy matrix has undergone 2 stakeholder consultations.

This project undertakes a comprehensive analysis of SMEs resilience to climate change or otherwise, it develops a framework to ensure food insecurity is minimized and will assist in identifying specific policies for SME recovery, which will boost food security.

The workshop was officially opened by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Cooperatives, SMEs, and Communications, Hon. Manoa Kamikamica.

HECF Director, Dr Rohit Kishore, has spearheaded the project with Professor Paresh Narayan from Monash University. Professor Narayan is a former Commissioner of the HECF.

Education opportunities for Unemployed Youths

The Acting Commissioner of Police met with the HEC Chairperson and advised that the police department currently has 300 high school dropout unemployed youths in the central division. ACP mooted the idea of educating and providing these youths with essential life skills training so that they be employed.

A meeting was organized, and the HEC team elicited personal details of these youths and is currently processing their applications for enrollment at the Police Training Academy, Military Training Academy and other TVET training institutions for education and training in basic trades.

From left; HECF Chairperson Steve Chand, Acting Commissioner of Police Fuki Fong Chew and HECF Director, Dr Rohit Kishore

Opportunities for Local Drivers: National Driving Academy

The Chairperson and Director met with the LTA Board and CEO at the LTA headquarters in Valelevu. The visit aimed to discuss the opportunity for establishing a National Driving Academy (NDA). LTA strongly supports the idea of establishing a NDA. The primary purpose of the Academy will be to train and license more drivers and meet the high exodus of bus and truck drivers from Fiji. A concept paper is drafted to determine the process of establishing and operating the NDA. The training to consider the following, among other things:

The Team felt it was high time for such an Academy to be established, given the increase in road fatalities and the departure of bus and truck drivers from Fiji.

  1. Road safety aspects
  2. OHS
  3. Transportation of Dangerous Goods
Meeting with the LTA Board members, CEO, and senior officials

TVET Discussion with RFMF

The Chairperson and the Director met with the Land Force Commander and the Training Team at the RFMF Headquarters. The visit aimed to discuss the opportunity for training the Youth on their premises. The Basic Recruitment Training into the skills training instills discipline and compassion in the Youth.

Currently, RFMF is offering the trade test class 3 from the Fiji National University at its premises in the following areas:

  1. Carpentry
  2. Automotive Mechanics
  3. Heavy Machinery
  4. Electrical Fitter Mechanic
  5. Welding

The HEC intends to strengthen this mode of delivery at the RFMF and widen the scope to offer more skills training in hospitality and tourism.

HEC team meeting with the senior officers of the RFMF.