The Fiji National University is conducting a special internship to prepare graduates for the qualifying exams and will continue with the training, particularly to prepare more recent vet graduates for registration.
This was highlighted by FNU while responding to the recent media articles published regarding its Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry program.
FNU says they have held meetings with the Ministry of Agriculture since 2018, specifically to discuss the registration of FNU graduates and the Ministry will soon be in a position to test and register the graduates as they are working with international partners like the University of Sydney, Australia and Massey University, New Zealand.
They say one of the key steps as a way forward is to establish a Fiji Veterinary Council consisting appointees from the Ministry of Agriculture, FNU, Fiji Veterinary Association, livestock farmers, Bio-security Authority of Fiji, and members of the community to bring all stakeholders under one umbrella and discuss veterinary issues responsible for providing recommendations for veterinary training and registration of vets.
FNU says most of the vet graduates are currently employed in livestock farms as veterinary clinics and work under the general supervision of senior qualified and registered vets gaining sufficient experience to register and practice.
Meanwhile FNU Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Unaisi Nabobo-Baba has assured students, graduates, parents, and stakeholders that the University is committed to resolving this issue alongside their Council, management team, and partners, and is also looking at employment options for graduates who are not currently employed.
They say upon request by the Fijian Government in 2014, FNU established the Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry program to address the shortage of vets in Fiji, as there was no veterinary training institution in the South Pacific whereby about 49 local and 54 regional students have graduated.
She says while the University is undergoing a transition, with the appointment of a new FNU Council last month and a reshuffle in the Senior Leadership Team, the institution will be meeting with the new Minister for Agriculture in the coming weeks to assist in mitigating some of these lingering issues.
As a stop-gap measure, Fiji has recruited vets from overseas at a major cost to the economy. The Ministry of Agriculture needs Vets for some of its operations to do the Bio-security Authority of Fiji livestock producers, and animal clinics.
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