NATION

Fijian Universities ‘Not Measuring Up’ Says PS Education, Alison Burchell

“Many of our universities are not producing enough publications and they’re not going onto certain lists that they should be going onto,” said Ms Burchell.
25 Jun 2019 15:40
Fijian Universities ‘Not Measuring Up’ Says PS Education, Alison Burchell
From left: Fiji National University’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Dean William May, Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Education Alison Burchell, FNU Pro Vice Chancellor Learning & Teaching James Pounder and College Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching Donald Wilson. Photo: Sydnee Gonzalez

Fijian universities have been questioned for allegedly not training their students for the future or producing quality research.

The comment came from the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Alison Burchell, at a symposium sponsored by Fiji National University — the Pasifika Best Practice Health Professions Education Symposium.

“Many of our universities are not producing enough publications and they’re not going onto certain lists that they should be going onto,” said Ms Burchell.

“What does that mean? That we’re doing substandard research? Do we care enough to do proper research?

“Are we committed to being an institution that is going to be competing with other universities?” she asked the crowd of health education professionals.

She also discussed ways in which universities were falling short when it came to educating their students.

“In this age of the internet, the question about the quality has to be ‘have we moved with the times?’ Students learn differently,” she said.

Ms Burchell believes teachers must act more as facilitators in order to adapt to how the younger generation learns.

“I’m not sure if the pedagogy at the university level has kept pace with our learners,” she said

Ms Burchell expressed disappointment with how universities were preparing their students for the future.”

“I fear that too often we’re planning for the here and now instead of planning for 10 to 15 years from now and that is perhaps not fair to the people we are training.  We need to plan now for the future and I fear we are not doing that,” she said.

FNU College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS) Dean William May didn’t deny Ms Burchell’s comments.

“There’s a lot of truth in what she said today and that’s a continuous challenge for us to ensure that we maintain quality,” said Dean May.

He said the university planned to use external benchmarks to encourage the faculty to produce better work and do better teaching.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: sydnee.gonzalez@fijisun.com.fj

 

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