THE Legislative Assembly of Tonga recently passed the Tonga National University Act to provide for the establishment of coherent legal framework for a national university in the Kingdom.
Its intention is to merge all government tertiary institutions in Tongatapu into one national entity known as the Tonga National University.
If the Act comes into force, six government owned tertiary institutions will merge into one entity known as the Tonga National University. The institutions currently exist as the Tonga Institute of Higher Education (TIOE), Tonga Institute for Higher Education (TIHE), Tonga Institute of Science and Technology (TIST), Tonga Maritime Polytechnic Institute (TMPI), Queen Salote School of Nursing an Allied Health and Tonga Police College.
The administration of the Act will be under the purview of the Minister responsible for Education and Training. In introducing the Bill in Parliament, Hon. Hu’akavameiliku said its objectives are to preserve, extend and disseminate knowledge in Tonga through teaching, research, scholarship, consultancy, or other means.
Another objective of this Act is to provide academic, technical, and vocational training and continuing education that is responsive and appropriate to the needs of the people. It also aims to foster and facilitate the study of the Tongan language and culture and all matters pertaining to this, in addition to research into subjects of relevance or significance to Tonga.
The Act will also facilitate the economic and the social development of Tonga through providing educational pathways that foster innovation and sustainable use of resources.
The administration of the university will be funded by budget allocation approved from Parliament, Government grants, university prescribed fees and charges, donations, and other sources.
His Majesty the King of Tonga will be the Chancellor of the university.