Although it was formally established in 2010, Fiji National University has a long history of relevant education dating back to the origins of its component Colleges, through institutions that were established according to national needs and aspirations as these developed.
In the case of the highly respected School of Medicine, now part of the FNU College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, there is more than 125 years of academic history.
The School of Medicine was originally established in 1885 as the Suva Medical School to train vaccinators. It has since developed into the premier medical institute of the South Pacific and continues to strive towards excellence in the training and education of health professionals in the region. It has produced many motivated and skilled health care professionals who are now serving in key positions in the Pacific and overseas. The School now provides training in most health science disciplines including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physiotherapy, radiography, laboratory technology, public health, dietetics and environmental health.
The School of Nursing is one of the oldest nursing education institutions in the Pacific and has been in existence since 1893. Now part of the FNU College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science, the School offers basic and post-basic nursing programmes for Fiji and regional students. Graduates are capable of working in general health services, maternal and child health care service, mental health service, and, in urban, rural and remote community health services. The College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences is located at a number of centres around Suva, including the new Pasifika Campus opposite the Colonial War Memorial Hospital.
The former Fiji Institute of Technology (FIT) is now part of the FNU College of Engineering, Science and Technology and is the University's Samabula Campus. It was originally established in 1963 to train students in technical and vocational disciplines, to meet the engineering human resource needs of Fiji. The College provides education to cater for the total human resource needs of Fiji and the South Pacific in the areas of engineering, technology, including information technology and electronics, marine training and in the sciences.
The then FIT was also a starting point for the College of Business, Hospitality and Tourism Studies, which is now also located in a number of different centres, including the new Nadi Campus in the heart of Fiji's tourism industry.
The main administration centre of Fiji National University, including the hub of its extensive teacher training faculty, is located at what was once Fiji's prestigious Queen Victoria School (known as "Vuli-Ni-Tu"), established at Nasinu in 1907. In 1947, the school was relocated to Matavatucou and the facilities were used to establish the Nasinu Teachers College, a primary teacher training institution. In 1982, it underwent some changes and re-opened as the Nasinu Residential College for students. In the 1990s, an Australian aid programme helped establish training for secondary teachers and in 1992 the Fiji College of Advanced Education opened at the Nasinu site. Meanwhile, the Lautoka Teachers College was established in 1978 as the country's largest pre-service provider of primary teachers. This has become part of the University's College of Humanities and Education and is now the FNU Lautoka Campus. The Humanities Department of this College, including its remarkable and widely known music section, is based on the Raiwai Campus in Suva.
The Fiji College of Agriculture was established in 1954 to meet the human resource needs of the country in all areas of agriculture. That College was further developed into the University's College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on the Koronivia Campus. It places great emphasis on research in agriculture and there are excellent opportunities provided for development.
The Training and Productivity Authority of Fiji (TPAF), formerly known as the Fiji National Training Council, was established in 1973 by the Fiji National Training Act. It established the National Qualifications Framework to benchmark training and qualifications in technical and trade areas against a national standard, based on the needs of local industries, and is comparable with overseas qualifications. TPAF became part of FNU in 2011 as the National Training and Productivity Centre to run the University's short courses in areas ranging from senior executive level management and leadership to innovative technical courses specifically designed for local conditions.
FNU now has campuses and centres at 33 locations throughout the country, running a total of approximately 30 different courses and programmes with a staff complement of more than 1800 and in January 2012, hitting a record student enrolment of more than 20, 000. As a new and dynamic institution, yet one with an illustrious history within its component parts, FNU is daily developing, innovating and expanding to provide Fiji and the region with the education and training that they most need.