Budget 2024-25

HECF clarifies 2024/2025 grant status

July 10, 2024 4:44 pm

Steve Chand [left] with Dr Rohit Kishore

The Higher Education Commission of Fiji has today clarified that it has neither signed any grant agreement with any higher education institutions nor has it disbursed any grants from the 2024/25 National Budget.

Chair Steve Chand made the clarification following number of claims on various platforms on grant funding.

While the budget is being debated and yet to be passed in Parliament, the HECF Chair also explained the processes and guidelines involved in disbursement of the funds.

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Chand says higher education institutions apply for government grants yearly by submitting their Costed Operating Plans which should align with their approved Annual Operating and Strategic Plan.

He says that the Commission assesses the COPs and makes recommendations accordingly.

The Chair adds that the key factors in the assessment is the country’s need for human talents, such as professional and technical skills, research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“After the budget announcement HECF draws up the agreements which is vetted by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and the Solicitor General’s office before any grant agreements are signed. Funds are only released as quarterly expenses after thorough assessment of features provided by the HEI. The full amount will not necessarily be disbursed if any institution does not deliver to our satisfaction.”

Chand says he has also requested all the HEI to submit their graduate employment surveys as evidence that their graduates are gainfully employed or enter entrepreneurship upon graduation and do not remain unemployed.

The Chair also clarifies that Pacific Polytech’s grant allocation has been increased in the 2024/2025 financial year as per their assessed Costed Operating Plans.

He says in 2023/2024, Pacific Polytech graduated 1214 students with TVET certificate qualifications.

In the 2024/2025 national budget the tertiary institutions have been allocated $91 million.

University of the South Pacific has been allocated $33.5 million as normal grant, along with an additional $5 million to cover outstanding grants.

The Fiji National University will receive a grant of $36.5 million.

The University of Fiji has been allocated an increased grant of $5 million while Pacific Polytech’ will receive $5 million.

The Sangam Institute of Technology has been provided with a budget of $545,000 for operations and an additional $1 million for capital works.

A total of $2.2 million has been allocated to other institutions including the Corpus Christi, Fulton College, Montfort Technical Institute, Montfort Boys Town, Vivekananda Technical Centre, Caregivers Training Institute, and ServicePro International Tourism Hospitality Institute.