To meet the demand for qualifications upskilling to fit career needs and skills requirements across industries, the Fiji National University (FNU) and the Pacific Community (SPC) have started the development and implementation of micro-qualifications (MQ) through their National Training and Productivity Centre (NTPC) courses.
The NTPC is the training arm of FNU and focuses on industry training and upskilling of employees and offers various short courses that are tailor-made to meet specific industry needs.
The FNU partnered with SPC’s Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP) to provide training on the features of a micro-qualification and the micro-qualification development and accreditation processes.
EQAP’s Qualifications Team Leader, Rajendra Prasad explained that “for some institutions and organisations in the Pacific region, the challenge to innovate and be creative in how they meet their training needs to ensure lifelong learning and employability in the long term has led them to consider offering MQs.”
During the consecutive two-day workshops held in Suva and Nadi campuses in March 2023, FNU staff were trained to identify key features of a micro-qualification, understand the procedures for the development and approval of qualifications, apply the standards for the development of micro-qualifications and apply the criteria for the accreditation of a micro-qualification.
“While these courses have been developed with input from industry experts, they are not accredited and lack the recognition that quality-assured qualifications and micro-qualifications receive,” said Prasad.
He added that the micro-qualification development and accreditation processes significantly advance the regional TVET and higher education space. MQs are regarded as a means of meeting upskilling needs for those desiring to advance in their careers as well as provide a skilled workforce to rapidly changing industries.
FNU Nadi staff and workshop participant, Rupeni Lewetuitovo, explained the benefits of the training to the institution and its short course programmes.
“I think what we can take back with us is how we can align ourselves because we are lacking in that area… we are just floating in between when it comes to our short course programmes to be registered and recognised,” said Lewetuitovo.
Lewetuitovo added that the FNU’s technical departments need to align their courses to meet EQAP’s regional QAs “because they are now aligning with New Zealand, and this means that they will give accreditation to our programme as well.”
During the workshops, participants were encouraged to develop draft MQs, and these were later presented to the whole group for review and feedback. The second offering of training for 2023 will be conducted in June at FNU campuses in Suva and Nadi.