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EDITORIAL :Technical Colleges Bridge Education Gap And Gives Everyone A Fair Go

EDITORIAL :Technical Colleges Bridge Education Gap And Gives Everyone A Fair Go
January 24
11:00 2017

UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation) calls it “promoting learning for the world of work.”

TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) is the buzz word in basic learning.

It recognises that skills are vital for poverty reduction, economic recovery and sustainable development.

As a consequence, policy attention to TVET is increasing worldwide.

Here in Fiji, the Government has taken on board the TVET concept. It has set up technical colleges to drive this programme and it is causing an educational excitement in rural areas and urban centres.

Basically TVET is concerned with the acquisition of knowledge and skills for the world of work, according to UNESCO.

Throughout the course of history, various terms have been used to describe elements of the field that are now conceived as comprising TVET. These include: Apprenticeship Training, Vocational Education, Technical Education, Technical-Vocational Education (TVE), Occupational Education (OE), Vocational Education and Training (VET), Professional and Vocational Education (PVE), Career and Technical Education (CTE), Workforce Education (WE), Workplace Education (WE), etc. Several of these terms are commonly used in specific geographic areas.

The excitement in the communities about TVET and technical colleagues is caused by the knowledge that people choose from a wide range of skills to learn. It is inclusive because it caters for many interests.

In this regard, the Anjuman Hidayat-ul-Islam Campus of the Technical College of Fiji opened by the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, yesterday is an important institution.

It caters for people from three provinces, Rewa, Tailevu and Naitasiri.

Those who realise that they are not cut out for purely academic stream in the school system know there is a lifeline out there via technical colleges.

As they drop out between Year 9 and Year 13, they can cross over to technical colleges and do what they do best with their hands.

Last year, the Fiji National University conducted a series of two-week courses in villages and rural settlements.

The certificate programme was a resounding success. It rekindled the flame of education in these areas and empowered the certificate holders to find employment, start their own business or further their education. From there the next stop for those from Rewa, Tailevu and Naitasiri is the Anjuman Hidayat-ul-Islam Campus of the Technical College of Fiji.

At this campus, they will learn more about their respective trades. Then, if they wish to, they can move on to diploma and degree qualifications in universities.

The Government has even offered to subsidise transport cost to help people travel from their homes daily to attend advanced courses.

Critics of the technical colleges have a myopic view of the role and benefits of these colleges. These colleges give people, who would have otherwise faded into oblivion after they drop out from the mainstream school system, a new hope for another shot at getting a qualification.

Not everyone who graduates from the school system will move on to become doctors, nurses, accountants, lawyers, scientists, managers etc.

We have been told that we also need more tradespeople, plumbers, electricians, builders/carpenters, engineers, boilermakers, fitters and turners, mechanics. The list goes on.

Mr Bainimarama says at this Nausori Campus, students can enrol in coursework relating to automotive mechanical and electrical engineering, carpentry, cabinet making and joinery, cookery, and agriculture – “a wide-range of sectors that are vital to my Government’s vision of what Fiji can become.”

“And I’m very pleased to note that we already have 255 full-time students and 559 part-time students enrolled here as of 2016.”

All indications are that this programme will grow in popularity because it ensures that no one is left behind. It bridges the education gap and gives everybody a fair go.


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