A significant milestone was marked yesterday when the Pacific Community (SPC) presented the Fiji National University (FNU) with a regional accreditation certificate for a micro-qualification. This is the university’s first micro-qualification to be certified for delivery in the Pacific region. The micro-qualification is in how to ‘Plan and Manage Projects at the Workplace’. It is a study in project management and has been accredited by SPC’s Pacific Board for Educational Quality (PBEQ) at Level 5 of the Pacific Qualification Framework.
The micro-qualification will be delivered by FNU’s National Training and Productivity Centre (NTPC). Micro-qualifications are an initiative by SPC’s Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP) to offer a pathway for the accreditation of short courses in the Pacific region.
FNU’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Learning and Teaching Professor James Pounder said the accreditation marked the beginning of an exciting time because it placed the university in a stronger position to extend its short courses to other Pacific island countries. “The beauty of getting accreditation with EQAP is that we can franchise our courses, meaning we are not just confined to Fiji,” said Prof Pounder. “We can offer the micro-qualifications using [FNU’s online] platform so these courses can either be face-to-face or online for those who want to pursue the programmes from anywhere in the South Pacific.”
EQAP director Dr Michelle Belisle said the regional accreditation signals “the successful completion of a thorough quality assurance process”. “It will be widely recognised because it meets a well-defined set of quality standards,” she said. This micro-qualification pathway, she added, “supports individuals as they increase their skills and leads to opening doors for further employment and advancement in their chosen areas of work”. “The recognition also provides a platform for trainees to get recognition of their skills and to qualify for future study opportunities in their pursuit of higher-level qualifications.”
The university and SPC signed an agreement last year that set the platform for the formal recognition of short courses or skill sets as micro-qualifications. This is the first of many short courses the university intends to prepare for EQAP to evaluate for quality. The ‘Plan and Manage Projects at the Workplace’ micro-qualification is designed for people who are already in the workforce and need to upgrade or reskill themselves. It provides further pathways for participants of this programme without any qualifications to enroll into FNU’s Diploma in Project Management. The university also offers a postgraduate degree in the same field.