- FIJI SENDS WELL WISHES TO PNG – Fiji has sent well wishes to Papua New Guinea on its 39th National Day celebrations.
- FHEC WORKS TOWARDS INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR QUALIFICATIONS – The Fiji Higher Education Commission is embarking on making Fiji’s higher education qualifications internationally recognized.
- SSKMC GETS HIGH TECH EDUCATION – The Sangam Sadhu Kuppuswamy Memorial College of Nadi is now the second school in the country to develop an e – learning facility to boost literature for its 900 plus students through modern learning facilities available.
- OPENING OF LABASA SPECIAL SCHOOL PRODUCTION WORKSHOP – The dreams of carpentry and joinery students of Labasa Special School finally became a reality when their Production Workshop was finally opened by the Acting Commissioner Northern Alipate Bolalevu.
- 3 MILLION LITRES OF WATER CARTED TO DRY AREAS – More than 3 million litres of water have been distributed to the whole of the western division as the dry spell continues to affect parts of the country.
- PSC PROMOTES HEALTHY LIVING PRACTICES – The Public Service Commission in its commitment to promoting healthy living and lifestyles amongst its workforce has introduced aWednesday Wellness program.
- SERVICE EXCELLENCE AWARDS PROGRAM IN FINAL STAGES – The Service Excellence Awards Program which is administered by the Public Service Commission is moving towards the final stages of completion for the year.
- TRAINING CENTRE FAREWELLS OISCA FIJI DIRECTOR – The Ministry of Youth and Sports farewelled Mr Kosei Sugawara the Chief Representative of OSICA Fiji, at the Youth Training Centre in Nasau, Sigatoka last week.
- GALOA EVACUATION CENTRE UNDERWAY – More than 60 per cent of work has been completed for the Galoa Evacuation Centre for Galoa Island in the Northern Division.
- GINGER TO BE EXPORTED TO AUSTRALIAN MARKET – A milestone has been reached for the economy of Fiji with the opening of the Australian market for fresh ginger exports.
1 FIJI SENDS WELL WISHES TO PNG
Fiji has sent well wishes to Papua New Guinea on its 39th National Day celebrations.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said Fiji recognised that PNG had 39 years of uninterrupted democratic rule.
“Papua New Guinea continues to be a shining light for Fiji and the rest of the Pacific,” the Fijian Prime Minister told his PNG counterpart, the Hon Peter O’Neill.
As Fiji goes to the polls tomorrow, Prime Minister Bainimarama thanked PNG for the assistance given for the preparatory work towards the 2014 General Election.
“I reiterate my appreciation and gratitude to the Government and people of Papua New Guinea for your most generous assistance to our elections process and for your continued support for Fiji,” the Fijian Prime Minister said.
The head of Government extended Fiji’s appreciation, “especially during these past eight years as we strive to attain a better, prosperous and secure Fiji, for all our citizens”.
Papua New Guinea, one of the pillars of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, established its independence in 1975 following 70 years of Australian administration but it became a separate Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.
2 FHEC WORKS TOWARDS INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR QUALIFICATIONS
The Fiji Higher Education Commission is embarking on making Fiji’s higher education qualifications internationally recognized.
This was highlighted by the Fiji Higher Education Commission executive chairman, Dr. Richard Wah at the opening of the Committee for Accreditation of University Qualifications (CAUQ) workshop today.
At the workshop, Dr Wah urged participants to work together in establishing appropriate standards through the Fiji Qualifications Framework (FQF).
“This Committee will initially determine the appropriate standards of all programmes at levels 7 – 10 on FQF. FHEC will tend confirm decisions as appropriate.
Therefore, it is important that the evaluators and secretariat staff remove any unnecessary barriers that might hinder this process. I dare say there are possible barriers, but as Fiji seeks to obtain international recognition of its qualifications via FQF, I implore you all (VCs and your universities, evaluators, secretariat and other persons) to put aside any differences and work together to achieving this aim,” Dr Wah said.
Dr. Wah said the FQF has been referenced against the Pacific Register for Qualifications and Standards (PQRS), which in turn is being referenced against a number of Pacific Islands’ NQFs.
“The processes that are being introduced today are based on an international phenomenon of the National Qualifications Framework.
“We are an independent sovereign state, we are developing our own to suit our own people, and it is important that you are the people who will help us do this. In 2016, FHEC will host the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INHAAQE) at InterContinental Fiji.
Independent Chairman, CAUQ, Dr. John Harre said that the training workshop is a platform in attaining the feedback of the participants for the development of Fiji’s higher education qualification systems.
3 SSKMC GETS HIGH TECH EDUCATION
The Sangam Sadhu Kuppuswamy Memorial College of Nadi is now the second school in the country to develop an e – learning facility to boost literature for its 900 plus students through modern learning facilities available.
Senior staff members and the school management have been working since the start of the 2014 school year to get the new programme up and running which has been approved by the Ministry of education.
It involves setting up of a College intranet constituting a server and a 140 computer lab and was opened Acting Permanent secretary for Education, Mrs Basundra Kumar.
“This is a very important step for education in Fiji and will be a big boost for our children’s learning capabilities,” she said.
“The initiative has definitely generated immense interest and no longer can be shelved but brought out in a big way to as many schools as possible to optimize student learning in an enjoyable manner and something that they look forward to.”
One of the basic advantages of e-learning is that it provides basic technology, resources and professional development to teachers so that they can effectively implement the 21st century educational methodologies to better equip our citizen to compete and succeed on the global playing field.
“Government has seen the need to create a more knowledgeable society and a smarter Fiji and has put in place new initiatives to attract our children to remain in the education system so that they are able to fully utilize the God given talents that you have,” she told the students.
Some of the initiatives include making education free of charge for students from Year 1 to Year 13, free bus fares and continued upgrading of schools and building schools in the most rural of places to ensure that transportation and other challenges are eliminated.
“After 13 years of education, there is the TOPPERS programme and also the students loan scheme which have benefited thousands of our youths and will continue to benefit your friends who want to further their education,” Mrs Kumar said.
“I challenge our students to take advantage of the initiatives provided by Government to fulfill your dreams of becoming engineers, pilots, doctors, lawyers and marine biologists among others.”
4 OPENING OF LABASA SPECIAL SCHOOL PRODUCTION WORKSHOP
The dreams of carpentry and joinery students of Labasa Special School finally became a reality when their Production Workshop was finally opened by the Acting Commissioner Northern Alipate Bolalevu.
Mr Bolalevu said the workshop, which specialised in making coffin boxes was a well organised project, by the school committee.
It is a source of employment for the locally-trained special students.
“With the coffin box selling price, this workshop will benefit the community at large because the school is close to Labasa Hospital and is now able to provide employment for five formers students of this school,” Mr Bolalevu said.
“It is a fully government-funded project of $32,189 through the Integrated Human Resource Development Programme. It is the first special school project in the North.”
Head Teacher Mukesh Chand said the workshop would allow ex-students to be employed on a regular basis thus the special students have employment opportunity, practical for continuing students and chances of better employment elsewhere.
5 3 MILLION LITRES OF WATER CARTED TO DRY AREAS
More than 3 million litres of water have been distributed to the whole of the western division as the dry spell continues to affect parts of the country.
The Commissioner Western’s Office has visited Yasawa, Mamanuca, Malolo and Vatulele groups to assess the challenges faced during this period. .
“We have carted more than three million litres of water to more than 50, 000 residents to the islands and on the mainland,” Acting Commissioner Western Luke Moroivalu said.
“However, we will continue this exercise to ensure that our people are well looked after during this adverse conditions.”
He added that schools and medical facilities remain the priority to ensure efficient health services to the public and students during school hours.
Up until this week, the office has carted water to almost 40 schools and health facilities in the division.
Mr Moroivalu has also urged villages and communities to contact their nearest district office so that water can be distributed to them.
6 PSC PROMOTES HEALTHY LIVING PRACTICES
The Public Service Commission in its commitment to promoting healthy living and lifestyles amongst its workforce has introduced a Wednesday Wellness program.
Due to the high incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases nationwide, the PSC has implemented this program that involves an hour of physical activity on Wednesday afternoons as well as facilitating regular health check for staff.
The first health check was conducted last month by invited Ministry of Health officials where staff was able to check their blood pressure and cholesterol as well as being offered further consultations on their specific dietary requirements.
Organized by the PSC Sports and Social Committee, the Wednesday Wellness program is currently ongoing and has involved rounds of volleyball, walks along the Nasese foreshore and netball.
PS for Public Service, Mr Parmesh Chand, in promoting the program amongst staff said “A healthy workforce is a productive workforce. We, as public officers, owe it to ourselves, our families and the nation we serve to lead healthy lifestyles and contribute positively to society.”
7 SERVICE EXCELLENCE AWARDS PROGRAM IN FINAL STAGES
The Service Excellence Awards Program which is administered by the Public Service Commission is moving towards the final stages of completion for the year.
The Awards Program, which is in its ninth year of implementation, is a public service wide program that promotes organizational excellence and the improvement and streamlining of processes and procedures.
This year, thirty three (33) government agencies and statutory bodies were assessed against the Malcolm Baldridge Framework which the SEA Program has adopted. Agencies are assessed by their respective evaluation teams consisting of trained evaluators from various government agencies and departments as well as the inclusion of evaluators from the Fiji Business Excellence Awards. Agencies are then recognized at several levels; the Prime Minister’s Award, the Prize Award, the Commitment Award and the Achievement Award. Categories on which the agencies are evaluated include Workforce Focus, Customer Focus, Leadership and Knowledge Management and all involve a heavy emphasis on the results of the streamlining of processes and procedures.
Service Excellence Awards 2013 saw the recognition of 6 agencies at Prize level, 16 at Achievement Level and 7 at Commitment level. This year there are 8 agencies applying for the highest level of recognition the Prime Ministers Award, 18 applicants for Prize level and 7 applicants for Achievement Level.
A Panel of Review will meet in a week’s time to consider Feedback Reports from evaluators to the agency and assess the applicable level of recognition.
Parmesh Chand, Permanent Secretary for the Public Service, said that it was very encouraging to see the commitment and drive that the agencies were presenting.
“Several agencies have incorporated the SEA Framework into their organizational structure as they strive for organizational excellence in every aspect of their responsibilities. Other agencies have an internal SEA Awards system to facilitate the implementation of streamlined processes. Others have supported their participation in the SEA by training evaluators from within their own ministries; evaluators who will then contribute to their organizational performance.”
“These are all commendable efforts as they contribute to the vision of creating a professional, efficient, customer focused public service for all.”
8 TRAINING CENTRE FAREWELLS OISCA FIJI DIRECTOR
The Ministry of Youth and Sports farewelled Mr Kosei Sugawara the Chief Representative of OSICA Fiji, at the Youth Training Centre in Nasau, Sigatoka last week.
Mr Kosei began working in Fiji in February 2012 and left Fiji again last Friday for his new posting in Tokyo as Deputy Manager for Overseas Project/International Coordination at the OISCA headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.
“I am grateful to the ministry and the staff of the youth training centre in Nasau for their partnership and comradeship,” said Mr Kosei.
“A lot has been achieved during the past two to three years. Many youths have been trained and new initiatives have been implemented.
“I believe the centre has potential of becoming an effective centre for training and empowering young people. We have started our monitoring program for the ex-trainees and I encourage the centre and its staff to continue,” said Mr Kosei.
Mr Kosei has reassured the staff of the Ministry and senior management that he will keep Fiji at heart when he takes up his new office in mainland Japan.
“I believe Fiji is the hub of the Pacific and we will be looking to consolidate our partnership as we consider strengthening our operations and assistance throughout the Pacific region,” added Mr Kosei.
The Permanent Secretary for Youth and Sports while farewelling Mr Kosei said; “The ministry is indeed grateful to the work done by Mr Kosei and OISCA Fiji.”
“There have been an unprecedented number of activities and programs achieved during Mr Kosei’s tenure with the training centre and we appeal to him that his new appointment may also strengthen our partnership in the future.”
The ministry wished Mr Kosei well in his new appointment.
9 GALOA EVACUATION CENTRE UNDERWAY
More than 60 per cent of work has been completed for the Galoa Evacuation Centre for Galoa Island in the Northern Division.
Government’s Provincial Administrator in Bua; Inoke Tagicakibau says the government funded project of $20,392.12 is an important project for the island people.
“The people were affected in the past tropical cyclones especially TC Evans and we had to ensure that any other adverse weather conditions should not affect the people.”
Mr Tagicakibau said they had also looked into the climate change effects on the island and extreme measures had to be taken.
Mr Tagicakibau added the evacuation centre is being built on higher grounds in the island.
10 GINGER TO BE EXPORTED TO AUSTRALIAN MARKET
A milestone has been reached for the economy of Fiji with the opening of the Australian market for fresh ginger exports.
Twenty tonnes of mature ginger will be exported in a weeks’ time as revealed by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Director of Extension, Unaisi Waibuta.
“The first consignment of 20 tonnes of mature ginger will be exported in a weeks’ time and the Ministry intends to do a “soft” launch after the second consignment of fresh ginger export arrives in Australia to inform the Australian consumers about the Fiji Ginger,” she said.
Mrs Waibuta said that this is a good opportunity for local farmers to get a better return for the ginger they plant. She added that the Ministry was working with the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji to ensure that the strict import requirements laid out by Australia are met by our local exporters.
Mrs Waibuta said that there is a protocol and pathway to adhere to, which starts from the farmer’s field to the exporters pack house. The Ministry of Agriculture acknowledges the work done by the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA) in securing the Australia ginger market access for Fiji. Ginger is already now a $12million industry and the opening of the fresh ginger market to Australia provides a great opportunity to further broaden Fiji’s economic base and also provide more employment opportunities for farmers.
The Ministry of Agriculture will also be supporting the planting of more ginger in the Province of Ra from next year for the production of quality ginger.