Tonga announces plans for national university

    This story by Kalino Lātū was first published by Te Waha Nui 

    The challenges experienced by Tongan students having to study overseas will soon be over after the Government announced the establishment of the kingdom’s first national university.

    Tonga has announced plans for a national university. Photo/Kalino Lātū

    The news has been hailed as a solution to the financial, social and mental stresses Tonga’s international students have faced.

    The kingdom’s Parliament is expected to process a bill which set out the details of the university later this week. The public had until today to make submissions on the Tonga University Bill 2021.

    The university is expected to unite various institutions, including the Tonga Institute of Education, Tonga Institute of Higher Education, Tonga Institute of Science and Technology, Tonga Maritime Polytech Institute, Queen Salote Institute of Nursing and Allied Health, as well as the Tonga Police College.

    It will offer academic, technical and vocational programmes and qualifications from certificate to post-doctorate level.

    Former MP Lepolo Taunisila. Photo/Supplied

    Former Tongan MP and government teacher Lepolo Taunisila said the proposal has been in the pipeline for a while and involved previous governments and Education Ministers such as the late Dr Hu’akavameiliku and Dr ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki.

    It had been “absolutely long overdue”, Taunisila told Te Waha Nui.

    A former student at the University of the South Pacific (USP), Fīnau Leone said the move could help resolve the problems he and other Tongan students had encountered in the past.

    Leone said he faced “frustrating challenges” studying in Fiji.

    He said his family struggled to pay for his studies because he did not have a scholarship.

    His parents could sometimes only afford to pay for his school fees and not for his shopping and living costs.

    “I have no choice but to use all that money to pay for my school fees and begged for food from other Tongan students at USP and also asked them for a space to sleep in their apartment.

    “Leaving home for the first time to stay with different people from various ethnicities were challenging especially I was just finishing from high school,” he said.

    Leone said he still remembers an incident in which one of his best Tongan friends at USP was killed in Fiji while they were on a night out.

    Tonga is one of the 12 Pacific Island countries which funds USP.

    Two private universities currently operate in the kingdom – Atenisi University and Christ’s University in Pacific.

    1 COMMENT

    1. MALO E ‘OFA FONUA FAKAFETA’I KIHE LANGI >.. NGAUE LELEI KOENI FAKAHOKO E VISONE NE FAI PE ‘EHE ‘ENE ‘AFIO TUPOU 4 ke FOKOTUU E “TONGA NATIONAL UNIVERSITY ” .Pea koeni kuo lava ‘ehe to’utangata koeni Malo ia ..fai e Ngaue moe visone koeni “koe pukepuke , mo tauhi ke malu , mo fakatupulekina e kaha’u e Fonua ..’Oku faingofua pe ia hange koe fokotuutuu koeni fakatahataha’i mai ngahi Potungaue .moe Sciences> Physicals, Mental, Social, and Spirituals ..FakaLele lelei ha ta’u 2-3-4 ki hono Accredidation ..easy . Fiji National University have done it so can Tonga. Goodluck.Hufia atu moe ‘ofa.

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