The Honourable Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts;
The Head of Campus, staff and students of the Anjuman Hidayat –ul- Islam Campus of the Technical College of Fiji;
Parents and Friends;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Bula vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.
I’m delighted to be here in Nausori to officially open the Anjuman Hidayat –ul- Islam Campus of the Technical College of Fiji.
This campus – and the knowledge and opportunity it represents – stands as a realisation of a promise. A promise I made that our young people would have access to a far-reaching network of technical college campuses. Institutions where they could take on the skills and expertise they needed to find success, launch themselves into meaningful and fulfilling careers and begin helping shape our nation’s future development.
That is what this education revolution driven by my Government has always been about – building for the future. When taking stock of the unprecedented progress we have made in education, the schools – at all levels – being constructed throughout our islands, the free tuition, free bus fares and free textbooks, I am filled with tremendous optimism for what Fiji has yet to achieve. Because our commitment and investment towards education is building the most capable and talented workforce in Fijian history. It is producing intelligent, hard-working men and women who will one day inherit the reigns of our proud nation and take Fiji to even greater heights.
This campus is the third technical college campus opened on Viti Levu, adding to the three opened on Vanua Levu over the past two years. So Fiji’s technical college network stands strong, ready to serve the next generation, ready to impart invaluable skills to our people and ready to keep us on the path of development we enjoy today.
That path has taken us through our seventh straight year of economic growth, and attracted flows of investment and trade into Fiji at record levels. That growth has brought employment and prosperity for our people, and enormous economic potential that still remains untapped. Opportunities waiting to be seized by ambitious Fijians with skill-sets that are relevant and competitive in the 21st century. Skills that are being imparted to our people, right now, at this new campus.
At this Nausori Campus, students can enrol in coursework relating to automotive mechanical and electrical engineering, carpentry, cabinet making and joinery, cookery, and agriculture – a wide-range of sectors that are vital to my Government’s vision of what Fiji can become. And I’m very pleased to note that we already have 255 full-time students and 559 part-time students enrolled here as of 2016. Students from communities all across Tailevu, Rewa and Naitasiri.
To our students: you are on the verge of entering our workforce with highly demanded and respected talents, and if you apply yourselves and your abilities, there will be jobs that await you. In Government, we recruit on the basis of merit on a transparent basis, just as they do in the private sector. Any organisation that is serious about providing the best service delivery and professionalism has to recruit on such a basis. Such a system ensures that we appoint the best person for the right job, provides specialised career paths for individuals and ensures job satisfaction. So, at every level of Fijian society, employment, career opportunities and success are not to be determined by a person’s social status, economic background or where they come from in Fiji, but by their individual performance, qualifications and by their ability to work hard. Be focussed, ambitious and do your part to drive your and our country’s economic success. Because by doing well for yourselves, by bringing prosperity to yourselves and your families, you help advance our nation and your fellow Fijians.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I want to close by thanking the Anjuman Hidayat -uI- Islam Organisation for demonstrating their commitment to the education of every Fijian by donating the premises of this institution, and to everyone who worked alongside my Government to make this new campus a reality.
Thank you again for the welcome you have afforded me and my delegation, and I look forward to all the good this campus will bring your communities.
Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.