|Case Studies on Technical and Vocational Education in Asia and the Pacific - Fiji (UNEVOC - ACEID, 1996, 28 p.)|
A pre-requisite to the preparation of this brief account on vocational training programs in Fiji is the acceptance of the definition that this will mean "a network of co-ordinated training programs at national level that aims at preparing youths and adults for employment". While the definition is an expression of a situation that is ideal for the industrial development of especially smaller island countries like Fiji, the reality is that there is no co-ordination amongst the training institutions in Fiji, with each "doing its own thing" as determined and directed by the governing bodies of each institution.
Of the different organizations and institutions offering training facilities in Fiji, the Fiji National Training Council by its very title implies that the Act of Parliament under which it was established intended it to be the central training institution for the nation as a whole. This potential comes to it by virtue of the wide powers endowed on it by the Fiji National Training Act. Furthermore, it also obtains guaranteed and comparatively substantial funding through the levy scheme, whereby the employers are required to pay one per cent of their annual gross wages and salary bill to the FNTC as a training levy.
Although there have been murmurings in the last few years in favour of a merger between the FIT and the FNTC, possibly with the objective of avoiding duplication of effort and the resultant uneconomic use of scarce resources, and further suggestions for the setting up of a truly umbrella organization to co-ordinate and direct all vocational training, no definite moves have been made in either direction. A contributing factor to this lack of mobility in either of the directions indicated could be the fact that the two institutions come under the purview of two different Government Ministries - Education (FIT) and Labour and Industrial Relations (FNTC). Furthermore, the differences in the foundations of the two institutions are sufficiently significant that an experiment to merge their functions in 1978 was abandoned within twelve months. The arguments for co-ordination of effort, resources and direction in vocational training in Fiji must, however, outweigh and over-ride all opposition to it if the objectives of vocational education and training for industrial development are to be achieved at minimum cost.