Ni Sa Bula Vinaka, Namaste and Welcome to Fiji National University.

As Chancellor of the University Council, it is my pleasure to welcome you to Fiji National University (FNU).

The University Council is the highest decision-making body in any university.  As per the Fiji National University (Amendment) Act 2018, Council members are “appointed by the Minister [of Education] who, in the opinion of the Minister, have adequate qualifications, skills, expertise and knowledge to contribute to the disciplines offered by the University and the general administration and financial management of a tertiary institution.”

The role of the University Council is to ensure that the Chancellor and his/her Senior Management Group manage FNU in the best interests of the University’s stakeholders – students, staff, employers, professional bodies, taxpayers and the Fiji Government.  The Council does this by setting the strategic direction of the University, monitoring the implementation of the strategic plan and approving all major financial decisions and institutional policies.

I am proud to say that the present University Council, appointed by the Minister of Education in mid-2019, comprises a very strong team of senior bankers, lawyers, engineers, scientists and academics and business leaders drawn from Fiji, Australia, Sri Lanka and Canada.

This Council is determined to realise the Fiji Government’s vision of establishing FNU as the premier university in the region.

The Council has already given strong direction for the need to obtain international accreditation of programmes and we are pleased that FNU is making good progress in this area. Similarly, the Council supports the enhancement of research and innovation at FNU. The new Strategic Plan is already being guided by some of the new priorities of the University, including enhancing its financial sustainability, across-the-university commitment to sustainable development, and the promotion of entrepreneurship. Research and innovation are being aligned with the new strategic priorities.

As Fiji’s national university, our core objective is to provide education and training for all Fijians. The Fiji National University has a clear vision to provide education and training which is aimed at employability – either to ensure that new graduates are highly employable or to assist those already in work to advance their careers. As the country’s national university, FNU’s programmes are co-designed with employers to meet their needs and underpinned by relevant and impactful research which aligns with our national priorities.

FNU is a “dual sector” university, offering both technical and vocational education and training (TVET), as well as a comprehensive range of higher education programmes from bachelors to doctoral programmes.  Today, approximately 18,000 students from Fiji and across the Pacific choose from one of the 200+ academic programmes we offer.  In addition, about 9,000 working people each year upgrade their technical and professional skills by undertaking training in the University’s National Training and Productivity Centre.

The Fijian Government has increased its financial support to the FNU significantly in recent years enabling the university to pursue important new initiatives. To support the Fiji Government’s vision for FNU, the University is investing heavily in its digital and physical infrastructure to create a world-class learning environment.  Our campus libraries have been transformed into vibrant “open learning commons”, where students can carry out group work in relaxed surroundings, accessing a growing collection of e-journals and e-books by wifi.

We have connected the University’s network to the global telecommunications highway via the Southern Cross Cable to increase broadband speeds and access a range of digital services like videoconferencing.  Through the Government’s Digital FIJI initiative, our students can enjoy free, unlimited wifi anywhere on our campuses.  We are developing new flexible and distance-learning programmes, to make it possible for students to study anytime anywhere.

I would like to acknowledge the work put in by all Council members through their participation at Council meetings and through their membership of and contributions to the Council Sub-committees. The Chancellor and her team have worked well together to provide forward-thinking leadership. FNU appreciates the support and guidance from the Fijian Government, our Minister, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary and staff and other stakeholders.

Tessa Price
Fiji National University