Minister for Education Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy with Professor Derrick Armstrong, Mr Renato Mele and Dr Sarah Hemstock (left) at the national consultation for PacTVET today. Photo: SUPPLIED.
Technical vocational education and training (TVET) providers are taking part in a national stakeholder consultation on integrating sustainable energy and climate change considerations into the TVET training system.
While opening the three-day consultation at USP today, Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy saif the consultation was about gathering specific inputs from stakeholders on the current status of TVET education and identifying priority needs on both sustainable energy and climate change adaptation.
Dr Reddy said European Union Pacific Technical and Vocational Education and Training (PacTVET) on Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Adaptation Project builds on the recognition that energy security and climate change are major issues hindering social, environmental and economic development of Pacific ACP countries.
“I do understand that one of the key barriers to improving the Pacific countries’ energy security status and resilience to climate change impacts is the lack of local and regional capacity and expertise which are the results of the absence of sustainable training programmes and the absence of trained personnel and well-resourced training institutions to deliver on the required training programmes,” Dr Reddy said.
He highlighted other challenges needed to be taken into consideration while undertaking deliberations in establishing TVET training such as the varying circumstances of Fiji and the Pacific island countries in terms of their access to electricity, renewable energy and energy efficiency opportunities.
The consultation is done in partnership with the European Union, the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
SPC’s Dr Sarah Hemstock said government ministries such as the Ministry of Energy, Climate Change Unit, Foreign Affairs, Fiji Higher Education Commission (FHEC) and the Education Ministry were part of the consultation to help them make decisions on how courses will be developed as part of the Pacific TVET project in Fiji.
“In terms of the 15 countries we are dealing with, we will be using them to incorporate any competences, courses and any qualifications within their frameworks. Then it will be easy for it to be accepted on a regional basis and also on a wider international basis,” Dr Hemstock said.
Dr Hemstock said people in Tuvalu, Kiribati and other smaller atoll nations are considering migration as an adaptation strategy to climate change.
“In order to allow people to migrate with dignity, they need to have qualifications so they can survive economically in another country and so the actual recognition of qualification is a very important issue. This is basically helping people to adapt to climate change and to deliver sustainable energy.”
She stressed that the project is aimed at improving people’s livelihood and a very effective way to do that is through education qualification.
“SPC is partnering with USP in implementing this project. They have a strong technical and training capacity and they have got a whole range of specialties from agriculture, land use, food security, energy, economic development and disaster risk reduction so they will bring their expertise to the table so we could develop qualifications and competencies based on expertise.
“USP will develop and implement courses and we will also work with the Fiji National University as they are going to be a key player in this project,” Dr Dr Hemstock said.
The PacTVET project is a 53-month project which started last year and the rest of the project will be programmed this October.
“Then we will be developing the courses and providing equipment to implement those courses across 15 countries. We are doing what is specifically needed in each country so it will be based nationally,” Dr Hemstock said.
The Project will be implemented in Fiji, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor- Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.