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The Fiji Times

The Fiji National University and the University of Auckland have formalised their partnership through a memorandum of understanding that encourages academic cooperation between the two institutions.

FNU acting vice-chancellor Dr William May said the collaboration was another opportunity to strengthen the longstanding relationship between the two universities in education and capacity building.

“I’m pleased to note that as per our action plan over the course of our five-year Strategic Plan (2021-2026), FNU intends to conduct research on national issues and priorities and build teaching and research partnerships with regional universities,” he said.

“This aligns with one of our key pillars of conducting research with real-world impact, and … regarding our regional outlook and engagement.”

“I am happy to learn that this MOU has been long-time coming … discussions regarding the partnership were initiated almost three years ago, a time before covid-19. This was spearheaded by our College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences’, [which] were driven by the need for staff capacity-building.”

Dr May said that as the engagement and cooperation between the two tertiary bodies developed, the need for an official agreement was evident.

“We have both committed to at least four areas of collaboration, which are the exchange of materials, publications and information; cooperation between professors and research staff; student mobility; and joint research and meetings for research,” he said.

Exchange of knowledge
“Through this academic cooperation, we look forward to the exchange of knowledge and skills between our students and staff and their Kiwi counterparts. FNU stands ready to provide the necessary support to ensure that both parties equally benefit from this official collaboration for many years to come.”

University of Auckland Department of Paediatrics associate professor Stephen Howie said they were excited to extend and enhance the partnership between both universities.

“The MOU is a way to formalise all of the work that the University of Auckland and FNU will do together moving forward,” he said.

“It also opens the door for wider relationship-building as it is an institution to institution agreement rather than faculty to faculty, so it brings with it huge potential.”

“This is a concrete expression of the university’s Taumata Teitei vision for partnership in the Pacific region.”

As an alumni of the former Fiji School of Medicine, University of Auckland associate dean Pacific Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, associate professor Collin Tukuitonga spoke via Zoom and said he was also excited about what the partnership meant for the region and for both universities.

“Fiji School of Medicine has been producing doctors and health workers for the region and is an icon, so to be able to align to share and support each other is fantastic,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

  • FNU now has campuses and centres at 40 locations throughout the country, running a total of about 300 different courses and programmes with a staff complement of 2000 and a student enrolment of around 26,000.

Republished with permission.

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