Mr Isoa Kaloumaira, Director ITaukei Trust Fund hands over the cheque to Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, Dean of FALE at USP’s Laucala campus.
The Fijian language progamme at The University of the South Pacific (USP) will continue to be sustained for the next three years following funding from the ITaukei Trust Fund.
A cheque to support the first quarter and pay for the salaries of the three staff members and flexi school was presented by Mr. Isoa Kaloumaira, Director ITaukei Trust Fund to Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, and Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) on 29 March, 2017.
Dr Kedrayate said, “This fund is welcomed because it will help to sustain the programme. We are indeed very happy with our collaboration with the ITaukei Trust Fund and their continued support for the Fijian Studies programme at USP”.
She thanked Mr Kaloumaira for availing himself to present the cheque and the confirmation that the ITaukei Trust Fund has accepted their proposal, to continue to fund this worthwhile programme for the next three years to the tune of $239, 985.
“The Fijian Language Studies Programme is very important, as it provides the opportunity for young iTaukei students to learn their language and culture so that they can communicate effectively and be proud of their identity.
“This funding of $83, 230 (for the first quarter) will also enable us to offer the Fijian programme/courses to our diaspora in the Unites States, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain,” Dr Kedrayate remarked.
She added that her staff have worked tirelessly to ensure all the courses are on flexible mode and most of them are now fully online. The number of students taking the programme has greatly increased since the courses were put online.
“We have big plans of extending this programme to the diaspora overseas and wherever itaukei people are so they can have access to it and can continue to know their culture and language,” she stated.
Dr Kedrayate said she was grateful for the support from the ITaukei Trust Fund, “because the younger generation who are educated here will become leaders in their own way and it is important that they are well-grounded in their very own language and culture before they can learn to understand the cultures of other people”.
Mr Kaloumaira confirmed that their association with USP in terms of funding Fijian language is now on to its seventh year and they are pleased to support the programme.
“We are appreciative of the work done by USP since we came on board, and will continue funding the teaching of the Fijian language as part of the Pacific vernacular studies here at USP,” he stated.
He specifically commended the efforts by USP to convert the courses online saying it has greatly increased the final uptake of people taking Fijian studies.
“The good thing about USP is because of its outreach programme via online mode, one really does not have to be in Fiji to do this programme,” he said.
Mr Kaloumaira said that for Fijian communities overseas, this is one way in which they can keep the link with Fiji and encourage their children to take the programme so children can speak the language and understand the culture which is a means of identity.
He added that they looked forward to continuing collaboration with USP in terms of promoting the Fijian language.
“It might be a minority language in the global sense but it will not die. We will live the language because we are a nation and we are a people that live in this world,” he added.
The iTaukei Trust Fund Board was established in 2004 to foster advancement of itaukeis and Rotumans to assist in their long term economic, social and cultural, community and political development.
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