The University of Fiji held the first ever Virtual Careers Teachers Workshop on July 12, 2021.
Careers Teachers, Principals and student leaders from all over Fiji participated in this innovative workshop. A similar workshop was held in a blended mode last year in Saweni, Samabula and Labasa.
Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Shaista Shameem addressed the workshop and spoke on the various strategies that the University had implemented in order to provide education despite the lockdowns and closure of Higher Education Institution physical facilities. Offering classes in the blended mode in the second half of the year was one of them.
“We invested in the only thing that we could invest in and that is quality education. That meant that every single lecturer, every single student was looked after by us for the whole of Semester 2 last year. Since we were practiced at it, at the beginning of this year, when the Delta variant hit us in Fiji, we were able to move immediately into the virtual classroom,” she said.
Professor Shameem said the University also realized that isolation was making the students and staff lonely and anxious. To help the University Community alleviate the stress, the University launched its internet radio station, The Vox Populi, an internet-based radio station, to ensure everyone remained connected through music, information and broader education. The Vox Radio has become very popular over the months of lockdown and containment with students and staff tuning in to their very own radio station.
Pro-Chancellor, Ambassador Kamlesh Arya, said that the participants were part of the People’s University- UniFiji community.
“Your contributions to the workshop will be invaluable, we will collaborate and we will chalk out the future that we are going to inherit which is said to be the new normal. In that new normal, things will be restricted for a long while because the pandemic is creating a lot of problems for everyone and I believe that we are all part of the equation, we need to work together to overcome this,” he said.
The Registrar, Ms. Karishma Mani said through the workshop, the University aimed to reach out to all the participants by providing insight on the University programmes, student life and support services.
“The University assured the participants on its commitment to providing its potential and current students exceptional student experiences through its quality programmes, virtual learning and teaching platforms and constant support services in 2022 and beyond,” she said.
The Tertiary Scholarships and Loans Board provided advice on how to apply for scholarships and loans in the coming year. Representatives from the UniFiji Students’ Associations spoke about their students’ experiences with virtual learning and emphasized the need to be positive during these tough times.