Court denies Institute’s application for injunction, sets early date for trial of dispute

Kuo ‘ikai tali ‘e he Fakamaau’anga Lahi’ e kole ‘a e ‘Ako’anga ‘Ātenisi’ ke ne ta’ofi fakataimi ha ngāue fakalao kuo fai kiate ia ‘e he poate ma’u mafai fakafonua ‘a e pule’anga’ ki hono tali pe fakangofua ‘o e ngaahi tohi fakamo’oni ako’ pe ‘oku ‘iloa e potungāue’ ni ko e Tonga National Qualifications Accreditation Board (TNQAB). Kuo ta’ofi ‘e he TNQAB ke toe fakaako’i ‘e he ‘ako’anga’ ni ha taha ako fo’ou, ta’ofi ke ‘oua na’a nau fokotu’u ha me’a fo’ou, liliu pe to’o ha me’a mei he ngaahi me’a kuo tohi ki he ngaahi tohi fakamo’oniako ‘a ‘Atenisi’ pea ke ‘oua na’a nau toe pulusi ha toe fakamatala ‘i ha toe feitu’u pe ‘i māmani kau ki he ako’anga’ ni mo e tu’unga ‘ene muimui ki he ngaahi tu’utu’uni 'a e poate’. Ko ‘Ātenisi’ ne kamata ia ‘i he 1975 pea lele mai ‘o ‘ikai hano uesia ka ‘i he 2010 ne ne kole ai ki he TNQAB ke ne lēsisita ke hoko ko ha ‘univēsiti. Pea na’e lēsisita ia ko e Tertiary Academy of 'Atenisi Institute 'i he 2011. ‘I he 2015 ne ta’ofi ai ‘e he TNQAB ke toe fakafo’ou ‘ene lēsisita’. ‘I he 2018 hili ha toe kole atu ‘a e ako’anga’ ni ke lēsisita ko ha ‘univēsiti, ne fakahā ange leva ‘e he TNQAB ko ‘ene ngaahi polokalama 'oku ako’i' ‘oku ‘ikai tali ia pe fakatokanga’i. Kuo tu’utu’uni ai ‘e he ‘Eiki Fakamaau Lahi’ ke kei tu’u pe ta’ofi kuo fai ‘e he TNQAB ka ke faka’aho leva ha ‘aho vave mai ke fai ai ha fakatonutonu fakalao.

The Supreme Court has refused application by the ‘Atenisi Institute for an interim injunction against the Tonga National Qualifications Accreditation Board.

The Institute wanted an interim injunction preventing  the TNQAB from stopping the Institute from recruiting new students; imposing new, amended or revoking the institute’s qualifications and publishing anything about its compliance with the board’s regulations.

The Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said making the orders sought would serve no useful purpose.

 “ ‘Atenisi has not satisfied me that it has good prospects of success,” the judge said.

“I do not accept that ‘Atenisi’s position can be so dire that it is necessary to issue an injunction.”

Instead, he said he had allocated an early date to hear the matter at trial.

The ‘Atenisi opened in 1975 and operated without interruption since then.

It lodged an application for registration as a university with the TNQAB in 2010. After a legal dispute it was registered as the Tertiary Academy of ‘Atenisi Institute in 2011.

The Institute’s registration was renewed in 2013 and 2015 until August 2017 after which its registration lapsed.

In 2015 it was advised by the TNQAB that it would not be permitted to renew its registration as a University;

In February last year ‘Atenisi filed an action for a declaration that it was a University.

In March 2018 the TNQAB told the Institute it considered it was delivering unaccredited programmes.

It was told to show what it was going to do to have the programmes accredited and told that if it did not comply the TNQAB could impose new or amended conditions or revoke the Institute’s registration.

The Institute argued in court that not being able to recruit students would endanger its financial status and continuing operations.

However, Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said prospective students had the right to know their proposed courses of study were to be delivered by an entity not registered under the Act and that any qualifications earned may not be recognised by the kingdom’s largest employer, the government.

“The students’ right to be informed outweighs ‘Atenisi’s interest in recruiting them,” he said.

The main points

  • The Supreme Court has refused application by the ‘Atenisi Institute for an interim injunction against the Tonga National Qualifications Accreditation Board.
  • The Institute wanted an interim injunction preventing  the TNQAB from stopping the Institute from recruiting new students; imposing new, amended or revoking the institute’s qualifications and publishing anything about its compliance with the board’s regulations.

1 COMMENT

  1. ‘Atenisi was never accredited before but was recognised by many universities from overseas. To sum things up, so many Tongan scholars studied at ‘Atenisi University and why stop it now if it could continue to educate people that could go overseas and be successful academically? I would say give them their accreditation and let them be and we could see what is the outcome later?

    Cheers

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here