TONGA: 'Atenisi becomes first accredited tertiary institution
Thursday, August 4, 2011
NUKU'ALOFA (Pacific Media Watch): The Tongan National Qualification and Accreditation Board has informed 'Atenisi Institute that it has met the TNQAB’s requirements for full registration as a tertiary education institution - the first such institutional registration in the kingdom.
Although another tertiary institution has had one of its courses of instruction registered, 'Atenisi is the first such institution to be registered as a whole organisation in Tonga.
The TNQAB had adapted the New Zealand standard for tertiary institutions. Tonga is the first Pacific island nation to attempt to apply such high standards.
"Official registration with the TNQAB validates Futa Helu's vision of providing a high quality, well rounded, liberal education rooted in classical philosophy and in critical thinking,” 'Atolomake Helu, vice-chair of 'Atenisi University, commented upon receiving the TNQAB’s announcement.
“He was far ahead of his time in that vision, so much so that 'Atenisi set the standard of academic excellence in Tonga. But today our island nation is no longer insular, it is connected to the modern, globalised world, and Tongan institutions must now measure up to global standards.
"The TNQAB’s decision is proof that 'Atenisi is meeting that global challenge, and we hope to lead the way for all of Tonga.”
Dr Marilyn Dudley-Flores, dean of 'Atenisi, also reflected on the TNQAB’s decision.
“Equally important as rising to the challenges of globalisation is tackling the challenges of self-government in a new democracy. People want democracy, but what is democracy, and what responsibilities does government of the people and by the people place on the people of Tonga?
"These are questions that must be explored fully in an environment of free intellectual inquiry. Futa's vision was for 'Atenisi to be that environment. It is needed more than ever.”
For the semester that has just begun, 'Atenisi will be offering courses in academic cultural literacy, astronomy, biology, criminal justice, history, international relations, music, political economy, political science, psychology and sociology.
In addition to 'Atenisi’s academic course offerings, the 'Atenisi Foundation for the Performing Arts, which is experiencing a renaissance, is offering instruction in traditional Tongan dance and modern dance, as well a regular schedule of performances.