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Control intakes

Repeka Nasiko
Friday, August 01, 2014

THE Fiji Higher Education Commission says there is a flood of teacher graduates who have nowhere to go.

And it has called on institutes such as the Fiji National University to control the number of teacher training intakes.

The commission also wants higher education institutes to review courses on offer so students do not seek skills in irrelevant fields of work.

Commission Professional Services Unit team leader Eci Naisele said the authority was concerned about the number of unemployed graduates registered with the National Employment Centre.

"Last year, there were 635 unemployed graduates registered with the NEC," Mr Naisele said.

"That's something that we are trying to address and one of the ways to do that is advise tertiary institutions on the kind of programs they offer and monitor the courses they offer our students.

"Some of them have graduated with the wrong skills that are not relevant to the market."

He said the FNU was one such institute.

"We've also got a flood of teachers out there and the ministry is telling the Fiji National University to stop with the intakes but really, it's the commission that should be telling FNU to stop but we are working on that."

Meanwhile, FNU vice-chancellor Dr Ganesh Chand said the Fiji Higher Education Commission had yet to approach FNU on the issue.

However, Dr Chand confirmed FNU worked with the Ministry of Education to ensure its courses were relevant to the job markets.

In the meantime, Mr Naisele said data was also vital in ensuring tertiary programs were created for the right employment market.

"The information that we have does not show us who that graduate is and where did he or she get that qualification from.

"Once we get this information, then we will be able to monitor and go to the institutions and tell them that according to this survey, there's too much graduates in accounting, for example, and we will tell them that they have to reduce their intake of students in this program."

Mr Naisele said the commission was also working to establish itself as a monitoring agency for tertiary institutions.

"Some institutions see us as a very new entity and that we have no place in telling institutions that have been around for many years to stop a certain program or to minimise their intakes.

"We have yet to really establish ourselves and to exercise our powers as the regulator.

"Our laws require us to be a stand alone institution that is independent and not with the Ministry of Education but we are working on establishing ourselves."

The commission's role is to advise the Minister for Education on the steps to be undertaken in developing and promoting the higher education sector.

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