On 15 February 2010, Fiji National University formally opened its doors for business. The University was created by virtue of the Fiji National University Act 2009 which amalgamated six government higher education colleges, each of which had a long and distinguished academic history:
In addition to the six founding colleges, the Training and Productivity Authority of Fiji (est. 1973) also became part of the new University. Following the creation of the University, the organisation structure was rationalised into five colleges and one national centre:
By 2019, student numbers at the University had grown to almost 27,000 (see Table). While each of the colleges has its own campus, the University also has two out-reach campuses in Ba and Labasa, which offer a range of programmes from different colleges, supported by distance learning, to broaden access to higher education across the country. In addition, the National Training and Productivity Centre has a national network of smaller training campuses in Suva, Nadi and Lautoka.
Table: Student Enrolments at Fiji National University
|Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry||1,252||1,196||1,170||1,193|
|Business, Hospitality and Tourism Studies||4,703||4,602||4,957||5,056|
|Engineering, Science and Technology||5,589||5,814||5,718||5,832|
|College of Humanities and Education||2,650||2,911||2,939||2,998|
|Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences||2,401||2,394||2,741||2,796|
|National Training & Productivity Centre||9,363||10,148||8,791||8,967|
In its first 10 years, Fiji National University has made great strides in establishing itself as a leading university. The University has remained true to the academic tradition of vocationalism inherited from its founding colleges. All its programmes are co-designed with employers, include a compulsory workplace attachment or internship and are aimed at preparing “day one, work ready” graduates. At the same time, the University has focused on developing a portfolio of academic qualifications – from Certificate II to doctoral level – which reflects international best practice and gives graduates the transferrable skills they will need to proposer in the era of “Industry 4.0”.
Innovations in learning and teaching include much more student-focused learning and problem-based learning, supported by a range of digital technologies. The University has become part of Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet), the company that provide internet services to the Australian education and research communities and their research partners. This has allowed the University to have superfast broadband, which is available to students 24/7 from anywhere on our campuses in partnership with DigitalFIJI. Books and journals have been replaced by digital collections and our libraries have been transformed into modern “social learning commons” where students can work alone or in groups, accessing a wealth of learning materials virtually.
The University has also invested heavily, with generous financial support from the Fiji Government, in upgrading its facilities and constructing new state-of-the-art buildings. To mark our 10th anniversary, Fiji National University will be opening a new “green field” campus in Labasa, a new gymnasium complex and a new four-storey business school at our Nasinu Campus and a new three-storey teaching building at Fiji Maritime Academy. In parallel, a major programme of renovations will see all the University’s halls of residences and catering facilities upgraded by 2020.
Fiji National University is embarking on its second decade with confidence, committed to ensuring a world-class vocational education which is accessible to all Fijians, regardless of age, location or physical ability, underpinned by socially-impactful research which addresses the country’s policy priorities.
Professor Nigel Healey