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FNU technical college staff contracts

FNU technical college staff contracts

By fijivillage
Thursday 26/11/2020
[Image: File]

The contracts of 247 Technical College of Fiji staff will expire at the end of this year as they are on temporary contracts.


Contracts of 247 technical college staff expires on 31st December – FNU

By Vijay Narayan, Rashika Kumar
Wednesday 25/11/2020
Acting Vice- Chancellor Dr William May.

The contracts of 247 Technical College of Fiji staff will expire at the end of this year as they are on temporary contracts and FNU’s Acting Vice-Chancellor, Doctor William May has also stated that there is no guarantee that staff whose contracts would expire beyond 2020 would be taken back. Doctor May says the decision to re-engage staff by offering a new contract would depend on the demand for the programmes provided by technical college.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor says they have received only 2 applications so far for technical programmes.

Responding to Fiji Teachers Confederation Secretary-General, Agni Deo Singh comments where he had said that the University had lied, Dr. May says the extra funding does not solve the fundamental issues that we need to review the technical college and the main issues at hand that they need to address are the quality and the relevance of the technical college programmes.

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Speaking at the Confederation Meeting at the FTA Hall, Suva Campus teacher, Rosalia Mokunitulevu says she is the only person earning for her family as her husband has retired.

She says she has two children in high school and this decision will definitely affect them and it will be like cutting off their air supply.

The Fiji Teachers Confederation says they are considering to take legal action against the sudden notice of termination of contracts of the technical college staff.

Members of the Fiji Teachers Confederation met yesterday where a working group has been set up to make decisions on the steps they will be taking.

Agni Deo Singh says some of the staff signed a one year contract with FNU when the university took over the operations of the technical colleges from the Education Ministry and this one year contract does not recognise the service that they have provided by not offering the redundancy package considering their years of service

He says the staff had legitimate expectations that there will be a continuation of work for them because the closure of the colleges in this manner was never expected and it has come as a shock to them.

Technical College of Fiji has a total of 323 staff, of which 179 are teaching and 144 are non-teaching staff.




Fiji Teachers Confederation considering legal action against the termination notice of technical college staff

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 24/11/2020
Fiji Teachers Confederation Secretary General Agni Deo Singh.

The Fiji Teachers Confederation says they are considering to take legal action against the sudden notice of termination of contracts of the technical college staff while the FNU says the communication by the Director of Technical College, David Wedlock was not authorized by the Vice Chancellor’s Office.

The University says they are investigating why the email was sent to some of their staff.

Members of the Fiji Teachers Confederation met yesterday where a working group has been set up to make decisions on the steps they will be taking.

Confederation Secretary-General, Agni Deo Singh says they are now going to work on strategies to address the grievances of the staff and consultations are going to take place this week.

He says all those staff are directly affected because they have been given letters clearly stipulating that their contracts will not be renewed beyond the end of this year and those who are on one year contract will not receive any severance package.

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Singh says some of the staff signed a one year contract with FNU when the university took over the operations of the technical colleges from the Education Ministry and this one year contract does not recognise the service that they have provided by not offering the redundancy package considering their years of service.

Singh says the staff had legitimate expectations that there will be continuation of work for them because the closure of the colleges in this manner was never expected and it has come as a shock to them.

When asked about FNU’s comments that they are currently reviewing the technical colleges and that they have not told the members that government did not pay them the shortfall amount, Singh says the statement that has come from them is a lie.

The Secretary General says the figures of the shortfall, cost of operations and the amount the university has available was given to them by the university and the same figures were given to the staff during their consultation.

He says subsequent to their meeting, the staff were also told that government was not forthcoming with the money and they were compelled to close these centres.

We have sent questions to the University and are expecting a response from them soon.





No staff will be losing their job at the end of the year - FNU

By Vijay Narayan, Rashika Kumar
Monday 23/11/2020
FNU Acting Vice-Chancellor, Doctor William May

The Fiji National University has clarified that no technical college staff will be terminated at the end of the year.

Acting Vice-Chancellor, Doctor William May says they are currently undertaking the review of the programs offered at the Technical College of Fiji and the competency of the staff however he says this does not mean that staff contracts would be terminated.

He says the consultation began last week and they will be deliberating on the outcomes in January next year.

Dr. May says the teachers will have to meet the standard of the university.

He has also said to Fijivillage that he does not want to pre-empt the decision on the future of the teachers who do not meet their teaching standards.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor has stated that they are also reviewing why some programs offered by the technical colleges have low admission rate.

Dr. May has also confirmed that the HR Department of the University met with the Fiji Teachers Confederation as part of the consultation processes.

However, he has refuted claims by General Secretary, Agni Deo Singh that the government is not giving the shortfall of $8.1 million for the running of the 15 campuses.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor has highlighted that the main issue for the university is not about getting money for the operations of the university but the standard of education it offers.

He says communications by the Director of Technical College of Fiji, David Wedlock was not authorized by the Vice Chancellor’s Office.

He says they are investigating why the email was sent to some of their staff.

The Technical College has a total of 323 staff out of which 179 are teaching staff.

There are 144 non-teaching staff.

Dr. May says 76 contracts will be finishing after 2020.

He says the colleges offer 13 programs and they will maintain the charge of these programs, however, the site where these programs are offered and its delivery may change.






NFP Leader releases alleged memo saying technical college staff will lose jobs

By Vijay Narayan, Rashika Kumar
Monday 23/11/2020
Professor Biman Prasad.

National Federation Party Leader, Professor Biman Prasad is raising the question on why misleading statements are being made by the Fiji National University and the Government on technical colleges after the party released an alleged memo sent out by FNU’s Director of Technical College David Wedlock clearly outlining all technical colleges with the exception of five throughout Fiji will be closed at the end of the year. Professor Prasad says the documentation proves only five colleges will remain open throughout Fiji after 31st December.

Questions have been sent to the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar. They have referred all questions to FNU.

More than 300 staff are employed at the 15 campuses of the technical colleges.

The NFP Leader says the statements by the Attorney General and FNU’s Acting Vice-Chancellor that a review was being conducted is misleading as technical college staff have been informed that their employment will be terminated on 31st December.

He says according to the memorandum all contracts ending on 31st December won’t be renewed and only all staff on contracts ending beyond 31st December 2020 will receive a redundancy package of one month’s pay plus one week’s pay for each year of service.

The alleged memo says staff whose contracts will be terminated are encouraged to apply for positions that would be advertised if the Education Ministry fails to employ them.

Professor Prasad claims it is clear that government was consulted by FNU before this drastic step was taken to curtail meaningful employment of technical college teachers and abruptly end the education of students aspiring to qualify for suitable jobs.

He asks why are both FNU and government behaving in a sinister manner having already decided to slash jobs and education without any prior notice.

FNU says the management is not aware, nor has it authorised any communication to the staff with regards to their contracts and will be investigating the contents and origin of a letter that states all except 5 campuses will be closing. 

The Fiji Teachers Confederation says they are aware of a letter that is being circulated amongst the staff of the technical colleges of Fiji that states that their contracts will be terminated by the end of this year however FNU says they have not authorised any communication to the staff regarding their contracts.

Fijivillage has been informed by some of the staff that they have been told their contracts will be terminated next month although they have a contract until 2024.

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had announced in the 2019/2020 National Budget that the administration of the technical colleges will come under the Fiji National University.

Prior to this, the 15 colleges and all staff came under the Education Ministry.

Education Minister, Rosy Akbar had said last year that the Technical College of Fiji was established to give opportunities to children who have been left out, marginalized because of their circumstances pushing them to drop out of school and thus losing hope for a brighter future.

Akbar said the Fiji Higher Education Commission has been working with the Technical College of Fiji to have quality assured programmes in place.

Secretary General of the Fiji Teachers Confederation, Agni Deo Singh has confirmed to fijivillage that he has met with the Director and the team of the FNU Human Resources Department and they were advised that the total cost of running the 15 campuses of the technical colleges is $13.1 million.

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He says they have informed him that the income that is generated through the Tertiary Education Loan Scheme from these colleges is a little below $5 million so there is a shortfall of $8.1 million.

Acting Vice-Chancellor, Doctor William May has confirmed to Fijivillage that a review of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training programmes is currently underway.

FNU is reviewing its learning and teaching resources, programme quality, teacher qualifications, student numbers and facilities.

He says they are into the final stages of the review exercise and are unable to disclose any information at this point without following due process.

Dr. May says once all the processes are complete, the University will make a public statement.

When questioned on Singh's claims about a meeting with FNU and the situation regarding their finances, Dr. May says the Fijian Government has also always placed great emphasis on Technical and Vocational Education and Training, which is deep-rooted in their education plan.

He says FNU is at the forefront of carrying out the government’s initiatives towards continuously improving the delivery of TVET programmes to suit the evolving job market.

The Vice Chancellor adds that they are confident that the way forward for TVET education will result in the students receiving quality tertiary-level education that encourages both innovation and sustainable learning and faster job prospects.




Fiji Teachers Confederation considering legal action against the termination notice of technical college staff

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 24/11/2020
Fiji Teachers Confederation Secretary General Agni Deo Singh.

The Fiji Teachers Confederation says they are considering to take legal action against the sudden notice of termination of contracts of the technical college staff while the FNU says the communication by the Director of Technical College, David Wedlock was not authorized by the Vice Chancellor’s Office.

The University says they are investigating why the email was sent to some of their staff.

Members of the Fiji Teachers Confederation met yesterday where a working group has been set up to make decisions on the steps they will be taking.

Confederation Secretary-General, Agni Deo Singh says they are now going to work on strategies to address the grievances of the staff and consultations are going to take place this week.

He says all those staff are directly affected because they have been given letters clearly stipulating that their contracts will not be renewed beyond the end of this year and those who are on one year contract will not receive any severance package.

Capture


Singh says some of the staff signed a one year contract with FNU when the university took over the operations of the technical colleges from the Education Ministry and this one year contract does not recognise the service that they have provided by not offering the redundancy package considering their years of service.

Singh says the staff had legitimate expectations that there will be continuation of work for them because the closure of the colleges in this manner was never expected and it has come as a shock to them.

When asked about FNU’s comments that they are currently reviewing the technical colleges and that they have not told the members that government did not pay them the shortfall amount, Singh says the statement that has come from them is a lie.

The Secretary General says the figures of the shortfall, cost of operations and the amount the university has available was given to them by the university and the same figures were given to the staff during their consultation.

He says subsequent to their meeting, the staff were also told that government was not forthcoming with the money and they were compelled to close these centres.

We have sent questions to the University and are expecting a response from them soon.





Review of the programmes offered by technical colleges underway – FNU

By Rashika Kumar
Friday 20/11/2020

The Fiji National University has confirmed that a review of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training programmes is currently underway however NFP Leader, Professor Biman Prasad says any decision to close some technical colleges requires a full independent inquiry.

FNU is reviewing its learning and teaching resources, programme quality, teacher qualifications, student numbers and facilities.

Acting Vice-Chancellor, Doctor William May has told Fijivillage that they are into the final stages of the review exercise and are unable to disclose any information at this point without following due process.

He says once all the processes are complete, the University will make a public statement.

Meanwhile, FNU says the Management is not aware, nor has it authorised any communication to the staff with regards to their contracts and will be investigating the contents and origin of a letter that states all except 5 campuses will be closing.

NFP Leader, Professor Biman Prasad says any decision to close some of the technical colleges on the basis of them lacking qualified teachers requires a fully independent inquiry.

Professor Prasad says several millions of dollars of taxpayers’ funds have been used to both establish and provide loans to students under TELS to enroll and learn trade skills at these colleges established throughout the country in many centres that were previously secondary schools. He says to now learn from government through the Attorney General that some colleges could close because they did not have qualified teachers is preposterous and totally unacceptable and gives rise to many questions that can only be answered by a totally independent and full inquiry.

Prasad has asked if the government is now saying that the colleges managed by FNU and were staffed by unqualified teachers all these years since the inception of this program 5 years ago. He also asks if this means many of the few thousand students who have graduated from these colleges did not receive proper education and learning.

He has also asked if the government is making teachers scapegoats to absolve itself of financial responsibility in funding both the operations of some colleges and providing TELS to the students.

The NFP Leader says they do not know how many of the students who have graduated with certificates in trade skills found decent-paying jobs before the COVID-19 pandemic this year.

Questions have been sent to the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar. They have referred all questions to FNU.



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