For the first time, 22 students will be pursuing their Post-Graduate Diploma in Fijian Language Studies at The University of the South Pacific (USP) after the iTaukei Trust Fund Board agreed to fund the post-graduate programme.
The Fijian Language Programme is offered by the School of Pacific Arts, Communication and Education (SPACE), Laucala Campus. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2009 between the University and TTFB to support the Fijian language programme.
The iTaukei Trust Fund Board has been funding the Bachelor of Arts in Pacific Vernacular – Fijian, and the Diploma in Pacific Vernacular – Fijian for the last 11 years under the MOU. This financial support from TTFB has enabled the University to now develop the Fijian language studies into a Postgraduate Diploma.
During a special orientation programme yesterday, Professor Sudesh Mishra, Head of School of the School of Pacific Arts, Communication and Education (SPACE) confirmed that once these students complete their Post-Graduate Diploma, they would also be able to continue with their Masters and eventually Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
“This is a great achievement and a breakthrough for the University and for Fijian Language Studies. A culmination of the efforts that were made in the past towards developing Fijian language courses,” he added.
Professor Mishra highlighted that the University is working towards developing USP to become a global Centre for Fijian Language Studies. He hopes to see the establishment of a Fijian Studies Institute within the University.
Senior Lecturer in Fijian Studies, Dr Apolonia Tamata, said the Postgraduate Diploma in Fijian Studies will further the study of the Fijian language and orature studies into the myriad of ways they interrelate as culture and heritage in the indigenous Fijian world.
“The fundamental understanding of where one hails from provides the optimum support system of where one intends to journey towards in any career path just like the vara breaking through the soil to grow into a robust coconut tree,” she added.
Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, former Dean of the then Faculty of Arts, Law, and Education (FALE) at USP commended TTFB for the funding support towards the Fijian Studies programme.
“This year marks a milestone in the programme, as the first cohort of 22 students will start their Post Graduate Diploma leading to Masters and Doctorate in Fijian Studies.
“We hope that more Fijians, particularly those working in various government ministries, will enrol in the Post Graduate programme,” she added.
USP also offers programmes in other Pacific Language Studies and Vernacular Language Programmes including Hindi and Cook Islands Maori.
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