Financing Higher Education (FHE) Phase II
Workshop on Financing Tertiary Education: Policy Options for the Commonwealth Pacific
3 - 4 April 2017 | Fiji Higher Education Commission (FHEC), Fiji
In February 2016, CTEF organised a focus group discussion (FGD) in Fiji to discuss the financing of tertiary education. This FGD was a follow up initiative of the policy brief presented and endorsed at the 19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers at The Bahamas in 2015. A mutual agreement was made among the research teams from CTEF, the collaborator (FHEC) and other stakeholders to work together and produce an issues paper to be presented at the 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) in Fiji. In order to work towards the issues paper, stakeholders from different Commonwealth Pacific island countries and affiliations were engaged to provide country reports focusing on the current financial status of the tertiary education in Commonwealth Pacific which underlines the current financial model structure and its challenges. It also covers the planning, development and funding model for higher education institutions across Commonwealth Pacific island countries. Based on the countries report, the research team produced a final report comprising the issues and other findings together with related recommendations.
This workshop was organised to present the findings and recommendations to all the tertiary education stakeholders and garner their perspective on it. All the stakeholders who participated in the workshop agreed to have a regional fund comprising funding for institutions and also students. Funding for institutions suggested to be designed on the basis of cost-sharing and to the sustainability of higher education. Besides that, Fiji was identified to lead in pushing the idea for the regional fund as seen with the establishment in the University of South Pacific. As for the student funding, the regional student loan scheme was highlighted.
In total, there were 35 individuals who participated in the meeting and are attached to various affiliations:
- Fiji Higher Education Commission
- Fiji National University
- University of Fiji
- University of the South Pacific
- Ministry of Education and Training, Vanuatu
- Ministry of Education, Fiji
- Ministry of Finance, Fiji
- Strategic Planning Office, Fiji
- Samoa Qualifications Authority
- Education Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP)
- Tonga National Qualifications and Accreditation Board
- Vanuatu Qualifications Authority
- Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Solomon Islands
- Ministry of Education, Republic of Kiribati
- Universiti Utara Malaysia
- Universiti Putra Malaysia
- Johor State Chief Minister’s Office, Malaysia
As a result, a mutual agreement among the research team from CTEF, the collaborator (FHEC) and other tertiary education stakeholders is to have a regional fund for institutions and also students. Funding for institutions suggested to be designed on the basis of cost-sharing and to the sustainability of higher education. Besides, Fiji was identified to lead in pushing the idea for the regional fund as seen with the establishment in the University of South Pacific, while for the student funding, the regional student loan scheme was highlighted.
This workshop was indeed a success and has brought a green light to bring the findings and its recommendations to be presented at the next 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) in Fiji. Upon completion of the research and feedback from the presentation in 20th CCEM, the research team is expected to develop a comprehensive issues paper to highlight the recommendations and policies that are practicable.