The future of sustainable energy in Tonga looks brighter as the Validation Meeting for the National Certificate on Sustainable Energy for Energy Efficiency Level 3 was held at the Tonga National Qualification and Accreditation Board (TNQAB) office in Nuku'alofa on the 1st of September 2023. Stakeholders from the Tonga Power Limited, the Department of Energy, the Tonga Institute of Science and Technology, Montfort Technical Institute, the National Electrical Contractors Association of Tonga, and the Tonga Electricity Commission attended the meeting.
This meeting celebrated innovation and progress, ultimately approving the new National Certificate on Sustainable Energy (NCSE) at Solar Certificate Level 3.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Hon. Hu'akavameiliku, the Board of TNQAB is strengthening their educational footing by adding this certification to the Tonga National Qualification Framework, solidifying Tonga's commitment to sustainable energy. This marks the fifth National Qualification in Sustainable Energy approved by TNQAB, joining the ranks of:
- National Certificate on Sustainable Energy Level 1.
- National Certificate on Sustainable Energy Level 2.
- National Certificate on Sustainable Energy (Biomass) Level 3.
- National Certificate on Sustainable Energy (Hybrid Wind) Level 3.
A Collaborative Triumph
Dr Opeti Pulotu, CEO of the TNQAB, praised the collaborative efforts of the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE), the Department of Energy, and the TNQAB in successfully registering these national qualifications and making them available to all technical institutions. "These national qualifications will provide employment and business opportunities for our children in the energy sector and abroad," he stated.
Before the qualifications were presented to the Board for approval, industry experts were invited to provide feedback, ensuring that the certifications align with the needs of technical institutions and industries. This meticulous approach guarantees that students will receive a comprehensive and practical education.
Accessible education for all
One of the most exciting aspects of this development is the accessibility of these qualifications. TNQAB offers technical institutions in Tonga the opportunity to apply for accreditation to offer these certifications. The Tonga Institute of Science Technology (TIST) has already taken a significant step by offering NCSE Level 1 and Level 2, with plans to extend to secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions. The eagerly awaited NCSE Level 3 will soon become available, promising a brighter future for students eager to specialise in solar energy.
Technical assistance for success
PCREEE is playing a pivotal role in supporting technical institutions. For instance, Montfort Technical Institute (MTI) is receiving valuable assistance in the form of instructors and training equipment for solar and hybrid wind qualifications. MTI is the second technical institution in the Pacific region to benefit from PCREEE's support programme. This ensures that students receive the highest quality education and practical training.
A regional initiative for a global cause
As the world transitions from fossil fuels to cleaner and safer energy sources, Tonga is at the forefront of the movement in the Pacific. PCREEE and TNQAB are collaborating on a groundbreaking initiative with the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP) to develop a regional qualification on E-mobility. This initiative extends Tonga's commitment to sustainability to other Pacific Island countries, fostering a regional effort toward a cleaner environment.