The Tertiary and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Financing Forum took place at the Novotel Hotel in Nadi, Fiji on 4-5 May 2015 as part of a regional research initiative commissioned by the Australian Government into the financing of technical training in the Pacific.
The Forum brought together sixty policy makers, researchers, practitioners, donors and NGOs from across the region to share experiences and stimulate policy dialogue on how the technical training sector is financially supported at national and regional levels.
The research analysed existing financing systems for technical training in seven Pacific countries (Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu), considering issues of governance, strategic planning and labour market alignment. It also identified cross-country issues and options through which future financing for technical training could be more efficient and effective for countries and the region.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) commissioned the large-scale research study, undertaken by researchers from the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) with guidance from National Reference Groups.
“The study came about in response to calls from Pacific Ministers for Education for a more market-driven and relevant TVET platform to drive economic growth in their countries,” said DFAT Counsellor for Regional Health, Education and Gender, Sheona McKenna.
Working with Pacific governments, education providers and industry stakeholders, the Australian Government has invested in vocational skills development across the region and supported evidence-based reform in vocational and technical training.
“The research findings and resulting discussions at this Forum help to identify priority actions to narrow skills gaps, combat unemployment rates and ensure TVET courses are relevant and of high quality. This can in turn increase opportunities for broader sources of funding of technical training, including from the private sector,” Ms McKenna said.
Dr Richard Wah, Executive Chairman of the Fiji Higher Education Commission participated in the Forum: “From the Fiji Higher Education Commission perspective it is good to know that the TVET developments that have been supported by the Government of Fiji over the last two years are in line with the findings of the research. We thank DFAT for the opportunity to be able to learn from our regional partners and international researchers.”