Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) connects education directly to the workplace.
It provides a platform to achieve several important Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as the alleviation of poverty through the empowerment of people to work, job creation and entrepreneurship; contribute towards national productivity, infrastructure development and economic growth.
According to the Fiji National University’s (FNU) Head of Department, Renewable Energy and Agricultural Engineering, at the College of Engineering, Science and Technology (CEST), Mohammed Nizam Khan, TVET drives a nation’s social and economic advancement.
“I think one of the most important reasons why students should focus on practical-based learning is because it is geared towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.
One example is the Diploma in Renewable Energy programme that I teach, where students are taught all different renewable energy sources available. Fiji has a lot of renewable energy potential, but the pace to achieve this is very slow, therefore, these programmes are critical to achieving those goals,” said Khan.
“We also have the Certificate III and IV Agricultural Engineering programmes under our School. Food security is always an issue for any country in the world and agricultural engineering is mechanizing farming. It is making farming easier through the use of machines and this programme is highly encouraged as well,” mentioned the Senior Lecturer.
Khan who joined FNU in 2014 said TVET studies at the Fiji National University has an enormous potential to bring significant impacts and improvements in various sectors. “Our graduates are highly trained, and our programmes are designed in consultation with industrial needs,” he mentioned.
“TVET offers greater versatility of jobs and the ease with which students can get jobs. There’s a high demand for technical jobs in Fiji, in the region and overseas.”
The Senior Lecturer mentioned that TVET’s lack of popularity among the younger generation is the common tendency for parents to send their children for white-collar jobs.
“Another aspect is about gender balance. Females particularly are not very interested in technical education, so these are two areas that need a shift in thinking,” he added. FNU is a dual-sector university that provides vocational education and training and higher education programmes in Fiji and the Pacific region. Enrolment for 2021 is now underway.