Fiji

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Policies Survey notes:

Fiji noted that OER have not been the topic of much discussion at meetings.


Overview

Fiji (Fijian: Matanitu ko Viti; Fijian Hindustani: फ़िजी), officially the Republic of the Fiji Islands (Fijian: Matanitu Tu-Vaka-i-koya ko Viti; Fijian Hindustani: फ़िजी द्वीप समूह गणराज्य, fiji dvip samooh ganarajya), is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean east of Vanuatu, west of Tonga and south of Tuvalu. The country occupies an archipelago of about 322 islands, of which 106 are permanently inhabited, and 522 islets. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the population. The population of Fiji is 890,000 (July 2012 estimate according to CIA's World Factbook). The capital is Suva. Fiji is divided into for major Divisions: Central, Eastern, Northern and Western. These divisions are further divided into 14 provinces. Fiji, endowed with forest, mineral, and fish resources, is one of the more developed of the Pacific island economies, though still with a large subsistence sector. Natural resources include timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential, hydropower. Fiji experienced a period of rapid growth in the 1960s and 1970s but stagnated in the 1980s. Economic liberalization in recent years created a boom in the garment industry and a steady growth rate despite growing uncertainty of land tenure in the sugar industry. The expiration of leases for sugar cane farmers (along with reduced farm and factory efficiency) has led to a decline in sugar production despite a subsidized price. Urbanization and expansion in the service sector have contributed to recent GDP growth. Sugar exports and a rapidly growing tourist industry - with 430,800 tourists in 2003 and increasing in the subsequent years - are the major sources of foreign exchange. Fiji is highly dependent on tourism for revenue. Sugar processing makes up one-third of industrial activity. Long-term problems include low investment and uncertain property rights. The political turmoil in Fiji has had a severe impact on the economy, which shrank by 2.8% in 2000 and grew by only 1% in 2001. Fijian is an Austronesian language of the Malayo-Polynesian family spoken in Fiji. It has 350 000 first-language speakers, which is less than half the population of Fiji, but another 200,000 speak it as a second language. The 1997 Constitution established Fijian as an official language of Fiji, along with English and Hindustani, and there is discussion about establishing it as the "national language", though English and Hindustani would remain official. The Fiji Islands developed many languages, some similar and some very different. Missionaries in the 1840s chose the language of one island, Bau, off the southeast of the main island of Viti Levu, to be the official language of Fiji. Standard Fijian is based on the language of Bau, which is an East Fijian language. There are many other dialects that make up the West Fijian languages including dialects spoken in the Nadroga/Navosa and those of the western island groups and provinces.


Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia:Fiji.

Education in Fiji

For a general description of education in Fiji see Education:Fiji.


e-learning

For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Fiji.


Fiji is a member of the OLPC initiative. In 2009, the Fijian Government announced plans to distribute 70,000 OLPC XO laptops in its schools, commencing with a proposed roll-out to 2000 children in 2010. (2)

In 2009, the Government of Fiji launched a project to provide satellite-based distance learning for children at rural and remote schools in Fiji. The pilot involved three schools on Viti Levu. As part of the project, a Studio Centre was established at the Nasinu Campus of the Fiji National University and hardware and software installed at the schools. By mid-2010, the project had been extended to a total of seven schools on the island. Students at these schools receive courses in Chemistry, Biology, English, Geography, Agriculture, Economics and Fijian by satellite. Instruction in four schools is up to Form 7. Students at three other schools are provided with instruction up to Form 6. The intention is to extend the satellite network to schools in the Southern Lau Group as soon as possible. (2)

The Department of Public Health at the Fiji National University offers a number of DFL courses. These courses are open to learners in Fiji and across the Pacific. The FNU Department of Health Sciences also provides a small number of courses for distance learners. These include a diploma-level course in Physiotherapy and bachelor degree programs in Pharmacy, Medical Laboratory Science and Medical Imaging Science. (2)

Quality procedures

Internet in Fiji

Fiji’s telecommunications infrastructure is better than that of many other Pacific nations, although still poor by world standards. The Southern Cross underwater cable links the island of Viti Levu to New Zealand, Australia and the United States. However, there is lack of competition in the fixed-line sector due to the Telecom Fiji monopoly. This is one factor which has retarded the development of Fiji’s telecommunications infrastructure. (2)

Broadband Internet subscribers per 100 inhabitants (2009) - Fixed 2.47, Mobile 0.83
Internet hosts (2010) - 17,088
Internet users (2008) - 103,000
Internet users per 100 inhabitants (2009) - 13.45
Computers per 100 inhabitants (2009) - 21.08 (2)

Internet penetration in Fiji is low, despite rapid improvement in recent years. In 2010, internet penetration was 12%, up from only 1.7% in 2007. Partial deregulation of the telecommunications market after 2007 has resulted in a rapid increase of mobile phone penetration. Despite these promising signs, the future development of Fijian telecommunications is uncertain, largely as a result of political factors. For this reason, there are limited opportunities for e-learning in the Fijian education sector. (2)

Internet in Education

Initiatives in ICT education in schools only commenced in 1996 in 10 schools Fiji Islands. By 2003, following the success of the initial 10 schools, 86 of the total 156 secondary schools in Fiji were already implementing the curriculum. Of the 86 schools, 35 had internet access and these 35 schools were concentrated in the town aread of Suva, Nasinu, Nausori, Lautoka, Ba and Labasa. Significantly, the Nadi Muslim College utilized ICT and internet access for a variety of other purposes including a Smart School Plan which utilized ICT for school administration and operation, value added teaching, delivering other courses using ICT and also providing teachers and students alike with an open-access. Tailevu North College also integrated ICT in the teaching of other professional courses such as Carpentry, Automotive Engineering, Secretarial and Catering. (1)

In recognition of the impact of ICTs on higher education in general, including its impact on modes of delivery, teaching and learning methods and institutional structures, the Higher Education Commission is committed to the development of an academic broadband facility for use by higher education institutions. To aid in the delivery of its services, the Commission maintains a website of information and an interactive database. All documents for the Commission’s operation including legislations, policies, procedures and forms can be accessed from the website. (2)

Copyright law in Fiji

Copyright law in Education

OER Initiatives in Fiji

Fiji is a participant in the Commonwealth of Learning’s Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC) project. VUSSC is actively engaged in the development of OER materials for use among member states. (2)

National OER initiatives

Regional OER initiatives

Institutional OER initiatives

References

1. ReVica/VISCED page for Fiji (http://virtualcampuses.eu/index.php/Fiji)

2. ICDE Country Profile for Fiji (http://www.icde.org/projects/regulatory_frameworks_for_distance_education/country_profiles/fiji/)

Reports


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