IN a bid to meet the demands of the employment sector in the country, the Fiji National University is expected to introduce new courses for study at their campuses this year.
In response to questions sent to the institution on Thursday, a statement said four new courses would be introduced this year.
A spokesperson for the institution listed a Diploma in Animal Health, Certificate IV in Horticulture, Aged Care Certificate III program, Child Care Certificates program and Certificate IV in Broadcast Engineering as the proposed new courses.
The statement said the courses would be introduced to respond to the demands indicated by the workforce.
The statement said the courses would ideally meet the needs of Fiji as a developing nation, particularly in the areas of agriculture and forestry, where the university saw itself playing a role in the productive utilisation of the country's natural resources.
A spokesperson explained further that one of FNU's main focal points for this year was research and its importance to the students and staff at the institution.
"The establishment of a research culture amongst staff and interested senior students is part of this development," the spokesperson said.
"Along (with research) with extremely vigorous actions to improve the quality of teaching and curriculum."
The push by the university towards staff undertaking research, at all levels, is also aimed at its (the research) relevance to the region.
A continuing project is the university's assistance to the forestry sector towards improving its human resources aspect.
This follows a recent development where the Fiji pine industry entered into a three year agreement with Japanese buyers, Itochu Corporation, to export pine chips expected to earn $165 million in the next two years.
The University's Diploma in Tropical Forestry program is expected to provide skilled forestry professionals for the government, non-government organisations and private companies; it is hoped that it will also encourage entrepreneurship by successful students.
The Forestry Department of the College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is, additionally, involved in sandalwood projects.
The university department that offers the forestry program plans to establish a sandalwood nursery.
There are intentions to later form an association to manage the sandalwood plantation.
The establishment of a factory after that would be a natural progression.
The spokesperson clarified that research was not limited to the above programmes; there are other research areas which include medical and health sciences which included community outreach by students.