The Fijian Government has a vision of establishing Fiji National University (FNU) as a global institution which is not only the envy of the Pacific, but any country around the world.
The Honourable Prime Minister, Rear Admiral (Retired) Voreqe Bainimarama, highlighted this while speaking as Chief Guest at the Fiji Day celebrations at FNU’s Nasinu Campus this afternoon.
The PM reaffirmed his government’s support towards the education sector, particularly to FNU, which he described as Fiji’s ‘flagship university’.
“We are working with the FNU Council and committed to building better FNU facilities, developing our FNU campuses to a standard that would be the envy of not just the Pacific but of any country around the world,” Honourable Bainimarama said.
“Indeed, we are pursuing practical steps to make this a global institution and we seek international accreditation for your courses,” said Honourable Bainimarama.
“Together, we will build FNU to be the premier university in the region. One that serves the needs of Fijians and one that makes Fiji in the next 50 years even more bright.”
Prime Minister Bainimarama said it was befitting to speak to a diverse group of students during this momentous occasion as they were the nation’s future leaders.
Organised by the FNU’s Student Association (FNUSA), students filled the Valelevu Lecture Theatre dressed in a sea of blue to be part of today’s celebrations.
“I want to say that tomorrow marks a milestone in Fijian history and I can think of no better place to honour this new chapter in our history books than at the Fiji National University, among many of the future leaders of our country,” PM Bainimarama said.
“Every year, the 10 of October holds a special place in our calendar. We gather with family and neighbours, we celebrate with friends and we put our best Fiji blue on to show our pride in our country.”
“But this year, as we all know, is particularly momentous. For your parents and grandparents, half a century represents five decades of trials and triumphs for our great nation. But for all of you in the audience, our bright young students, an independent Fiji is all you’ve ever known.”
“There is something remarkable about that. You are the generation that will define our future. You are the foundation that will build upon the progress that we have fought so hard to achieve. You are the generation that has been shaped by Fiji’s independence and you are the generation that will shape where we go next.”
“You are the generation that will take the baton we pass to you and run with it, full speed ahead. You are the generation that has tapped into your full potential, seizing all the opportunities at your feet by taking advantage of free primary and secondary schooling and unprecedented access to tertiary institutions like FNU.”
Honourable Bainimarama said Fiji Day was also about celebrating the privilege of being a Fijian and the opportunities available to everyone.
“First and foremost, we needed to give our people the opportunity to gain an education. I’m convinced that when you give people the opportunity to learn by breaking down the barriers to education, and especially the barrier of poverty, they will seize it,” stated the PM.
“I am proud to be in front of an audience this afternoon that has seized that opportunity with open arms and even more eager minds.”
“If we have learnt anything as a nation over the past 50 years, it is this – there is now no reason for any Fijian, no matter what their background or family circumstance is, to miss out on any getting the best education they can,” he added.
FNU Acting Vice-Chancellor Dr William May added that although the University was merely 10 years young this year, it played a small yet crucial role in shaping Fiji.
“Despite being merely 10 years young, we have a rich history through our former national institutions dating back to the 1800s,” Dr May said.
“Our alumni, such as our esteemed Chief Guest himself, have become leaders and politicians, medical professionals, teachers, creative artists, sports personalities, engineers, successful entrepreneurs, tradespeople, and play many other crucial roles that make up the fabric of this country.”
“As we leap into our next decade as a University, together with the continued support of the Fijian Government, we do so with confidence and the determination to take education to the next level in Fiji.”
FNUSA President, Ketan Lal acknowledged the work of the Fijian Government in the education sector and said FNU students were grateful for the opportunities, support and facilities available to them.