Turaga na Tui Namosi, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, met today with Mr. Steve Chand, Chair of the Higher Education Commission Fiji, alongside his team.

The primary agenda centered on laying the groundwork and initial discussions for the establishment of the Namosi Higher Education Institute.

Ratu Suliano expressed his full support for this crucial initiative, indicating a forthcoming meeting with the Namosi Provincial Council to advance discussions.

Noteworthy was the presence of the Minister for Education, Hon Aseri Radrodro, who joined the meeting and contributed to the dialogue, underlining the government’s commitment to educational progress

“Delegation from Henan Province Explores Collaborative Educational Initiatives with Higher Education Commission – Fiji”

Today, a delegation from Henan Province, China, led by His Excellency Zhou Jian, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Fiji, visited the Higher Education Commission – Fiji (HECF). The delegation received a warm welcome from Mr. Steve Chand, the Chair of the HECF. The primary focus of the discussions revolved around strengthening bilateral relations through collaborative efforts in various development projects, with a particular emphasis on fostering cooperation in technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

Capacity Building for Micro-credential Short Courses

Supporting the Higher Education Commission – Fiji (HECF) initiative to upskill unemployed youths in our communities, some registered Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have come on board to offer micro-credentials and short courses.

Gathered at the HECF in Suva yesterday, institutions include ServicePro International Tourism Hospitality InstituteKeshals Business Education Institute , @Vishan Institute of Technology, Makoi Women’s Vocational Training Centre and the @Centre of Appropriate Technology and Development (Nadave). The institutions convened to realign their knowledge on unpacking standards for the short courses.

HECF Chairperson, Steve Chand expressed gratitude to the institutions for joining the initiative. This acknowledgment signifies the importance of their involvement in addressing the skills-gap challenge in Fiji. The overarching goal of the initiative is to bridge the skills gap in Fiji, which has been exacerbated by the departure of skilled professionals. By offering focused training and education, the initiative aims to equip local youths with the skills needed to fill these gaps and contribute positively to the workforce.

The Fiji Police Force is also collaborating closely with the HECF for the purpose of student profiling across different divisions.

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.