Student numbers at USP’s Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE) have been affected following the removal of scholarship places as the University says times are hard and students need to access scholarships and loans to be able to pay for their education.
The Government announced in the 2018/2019 National Budget that Pacific TAFE of USP will not be funded.
When asked, the USP says enrolment numbers do not depend only on the availability of scholarships but also on other factors as economic conditions play a big role.
It says COVID-19 negatively impacted the economies of a number member countries of the University over the last two years and this is also a factor in the drop in enrolment figures this year compared to 2021. The USP has not revealed any figures regarding drop in enrolment numbers.
Tertiary Scholarships and Loans Service CEO Hasmukh Lal had earlier said the government had a good rationale for removing scholarship places for Pacific TAFE as they needed technical and vocational education and training programs (TVET) to focus in areas of automotive, carpentry, joinery and other areas.
He says this is the whole reason why scholarship places are available at FNU as they provide all range of courses that is required by the industry in the area of trade. When questioned, the USP says Pacific TAFE has always provided skilled based programmes and courses, based on industry needs.
It says they have Programme Advisory Committees made of representatives from the industry that contribute towards development of qualifications and review the programmes annually.
The USP adds Pacific TAFE offers competency-based qualifications that is made up of skill sets and ensures their graduates have the required skills and knowledge to perform in the industry.
When asked if the USP is looking at providing tailor made courses to address shortage of skilled labour like chefs, the USP says Pacific TAFE has Culinary Arts programme, Hospitality operations and Patisserie programmes and they have been producing graduates every year for this industry.
It says many of their graduates get absorbed in the best properties in the Tourism and Hotel sector and as an immediate measure they are assisting the industry with attaches and provision for short trainings tailor made to each property.
We have also sent questions to FNU. They are yet to respond.
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