The Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways will work closely with the Fiji National University (FNU) to resolve matters regarding graduates of the Veterinary programme.
Following a meeting between the two institutions, the resolutions collectively agreed to address the registration issue for graduates of the Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry programme.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways (MoAW) has currently initiated the process of reviewing the current Veterinary Surgeons Acts that will allow for the setting up a Fiji Veterinary Council that will oversee the registration of qualified veterinarians enabling them to practice in Fiji. It is anticipated that this process will take at least one year to complete.
Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways in consultation with Fiji Higher Education Commission and industry stakeholders, has noted gaps in the current Bachelor of Veterinary Science programme. As such FNU and MOAW have agreed on a registration pathway for the 55 graduates. Under the pathway in order to register as a practicing Veterinarian in Fiji, the current FNU graduates have to go through the following two steps:
The FNU graduates of the Veterinary Science programme have to undergo a mandatory six-month internship either overseas or at local veterinary services and clinics which will be jointly coordinated by MOAW and FNU. MoAW will assist FNU in exploring funding opportunities from donors and/or sponsors for the internship.
II. Qualifying Exams
In addition to the veterinary practice placement, a qualifying exam will be conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways. Students will be required to demonstrate competency via international standards to gain registration and recognition as practicing veterinarians in Fiji. Qualifying examination times will be advertised widely so that all interested parties can participate. The Fiji National University will also advise graduates about the internship and qualifying examinations.
The registration of the graduates as vets will follow on from the qualifying exams. It is envisaged that graduates who may not pass the internship and qualifying exams may qualify as paravets, or assistant vets.
Minister for Agriculture and Waterways, Honourable Vatimi Rayalu has stressed that as a registration authority, the Ministry is responsible for upholding the veterinary standards to protect people, industry stakeholders, animal health & welfare, and to maintain trust in veterinary professionals. The Ministry is very much committed to the pathway and will work very closely with FNU to resolve the issue.
“FNU has always been a strong strategic partner for the Ministry in the area of agriculture research, development and capacity building,” the Minister further emphasised.
FNU Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Unaisi Nabobo Baba said the University acknowledges the commitment by the Ministry in establishing a solutions-based and clear path forward.
“As the national University, we continue to remain committed to our students and will address matters that affect our graduates and students,” she highlighted.
“We will continue to liaise closely with the Ministry regarding all our programmes and look forward to strengthening our relationships into the future. This will ensure that we provide education that is accessible and relevant.”
The above is a Joint Statement from the Fiji National University and Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways.