Fiji National University (FNU) Pro-Vice-Chancellor Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Dr Isimeli Tagicakiverata says it is perhaps time Fiji looks at introducing a TVET stream in Year 9.
He said this while speaking at the Fiji National Education Summit 2023 at the Sheraton Fiji Golf and Beach Resort in Nadi yesterday.
The theme of the three-day summit which was opened by Education Minister Aseri Radrodro yesterday is – Transforming our Education System – Building and Supporting Resilient Fijians.
Dr Tagicakiverata shared that TVET was a pathway of opportunities for everyone due to the integrated pathway that the FNU had.
“It doesn’t matter whether you are in the Corrections Service, spending time in prison somewhere, it doesn’t matter whether you have a disability, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a dropout of primary school or secondary school or live in the village – this pathway leads to getting a person to be upskilled for a job, start your own business and everybody gets an opportunity to improve their qualification – sky is the limit for everybody,” he said.
He said although TVET provided positive opportunities for every individual, there was still stigma attached to those who opted for skills training.
“The decline in numbers is because students continue to opt for mainstream academic subjects as opposed to TVET.
“It is because of the negatives too and some people still feel that TVET is second to higher education. Also, there is this negative perception that TVET is only for weaker students in school, students who can’t cope in the school system. This is not true.”
Dr Tagicakiverata said a focus area during the Summit should be on the role of parents, guardians, and elders in relation to the education of children and youth.