The Fiji National University is the first university to pursue regional recognition of its short courses through the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Educational Quality and Assessment Programme’s (EQAP) accreditation services of micro-qualifications.
The university and SPC yesterday formalised their commitment with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The move by the university to have their short courses accredited is in recognition of its obligation to education stakeholders, especially parents and students.
SPC, through EQAP, is the only regional accrediting agency for short courses in the Pacific Island region.
The need for such a service was identified last year. To establish the necessary mechanisms to be able to provide the service, EQAP successfully sourced financial support from SPC’s Innovation Fund.
Such innovative solutions, said SPC Deputy Director General Dr Audrey Aumua at the signing ceremony yesterday, are the kind of initiatives expected of the Pacific Community “as an innovative scientific organisation that works to support the countries that it serves”.
“The Pacific region has a large number of short courses offered by various organisations,” she said. “Whilst these trainings use up precious time and limited financial resources, they do not always receive the deserved level of recognition and do not contribute to the qualification of the learners.”
“SPC’s initiative on accreditation of short courses as micro-qualifications fills an important gap in the enhancement of the quality of education and training because national quality assurance agencies do not provide for this,” she added.
FNU Vice Chancellor Professor Nigel Healey said he was confident that the 100-plus Certificates of Attainment short courses would meet the requirements of accreditation with EQAP.
“For decades our micro-qualifications, formerly more commonly known as Short Courses (Certificates of Attainment), at FNU have remained unrecognized qualifications by overseas accreditation agencies,” he said.
“This training has been the main source of qualifications for the industry and tradesmen, but seldom used as evidence for the purpose of promotion, mobility, or subsequent entry to award programmes.”
“Micro-qualifications provide very intense training and are often mandated for certain professions and trades. Trainees have to spend a substantial amount of their time and income to attain the certificate and later learn that the courses are not formally recognised locally and internationally.”
The university is expected to forward its first batch of applications for accreditation in soon. Aside from the content of the courses, the facilities in which the courses are to be delivered and the qualifications and experience of the course instructors will be assessed.
Irene Manarae, Communications Assistant, Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP), SPC | E: [email protected]
Sonal Aujla, Communications Assistant at Communications and Public Information (CPI), SPC | E: [email protected]
SPC’s Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP) is mandated to develop and support education quality in the Pacific region. Its efforts are dedicated to literacy and numeracy, assessment, curriculum development, qualifications accreditation and research. EQAP works with the education ministries of 15 Pacific countries by providing technical support and guidance. In addition to close collaboration with these countries’ education systems, EQAP works closely with several international institutes, including the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and UNESCO.
The Pacific Community has been supporting sustainable development in the Pacific, through science, knowledge and innovation since 1947. It is the principal intergovernmental organization in the region, owned and governed by its 26 member countries and territories. www.spc.int