AG says the Govt needs to think into the future in terms of skills shortage and education

AG says the Govt needs to think into the future in terms of skills shortage and education

By Rashika Kumar
Saturday 29/10/2022
[Photo: Fijian Governement]

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says a high number of deaths because of COVID-19 has resulted in doctors and nurses not wanting to work in the sector and this is why people are poaching Fijian nurses where 6 of the top nurses of a particular health centre were hired in one week and have gone overseas.

While speaking at the opening of the new College of Business, Hospitality and Tourism Studies building at FNU, Sayed-Khaiyum says the number of scholarships given for nurses has increased because there is a shortage of nurses worldwide.

He says we need to look at what our set of dynamics are and as a government we need to think into the future.

He says Fiji has a young population who will be producing more babies so we need to have more training in midwifery and we have to anticipate and plan and these are some of the dynamics we have to address.

He says FNU is entirely funded by the Government, they collect fees too but every other single dollar comes from the Fijian Government and it does not get a contribution from any other government or agency.

Sayed-Khaiyum further says they as a Government have made a commitment to continue to invest in the education sector.

He says there is some challenges as there are some who do get educated and go overseas and that is fine.

He says the only requirement for Toppers recipients is to work in the country that has actually paid your fees.

He says if someone has an MBBS through Toppers they have to work in Fiji for 8 years as it is only fair and they do not have to work for Government; they can work in the private sector as well.

He says if you want to leave before then, than pay for the balance for the remaining years because there are a lot more kids coming and sustainability needs to be built.

Sayed-Khaiyum says in the beginning they lost a few million dollars because people said they were going overseas and never returned.

He says it is the same thing with TELS where if you have paid 50% of your loan within the first three years or depending on the course, the other half will be written off.

He says the interest rate starts from zero to 1.5 percent which is not much at all.

The Minister says it is a good system that they have in place and sustainability also needs to be put in place.

He further says FNU has the ability to excel in pure academia but also have vocational side of things available as well.

He says as we are seeing a lot more demand in the world, there is a lot more need to have that synergy between vocational training and academia and they are continuously trying to push the envelope and they want to work with FNU to do that through TVET where they will continue to invest in.

Sayed-Khaiyum says their philosophy is that they must have a conducive learning environment which means that your teaching environment is in the physical infrastructure must be right and soft infrastructure such as accreditation for the courses, the ability to have the right syllabus and lecturers and tutors must be paid well.

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