Tonga’s journey towards a sustainable energy future took a significant leap forward with the Validation Meeting for the National Certificate on Sustainable Energy for Energy Efficiency Level 3. This pivotal event occurred at the Tonga National Qualification and Accreditation Board (TNQAB) office in Nuku’alofa on September 1, 2023. Key representatives from Tonga Power Limited, the Department of Energy, the Tonga Institute of Science and Technology, Montfort Technical Institute, the National Electrical Contractors Association of Tonga, and the Tonga Electricity Commission were in attendance.
This gathering was a testament to innovation and forward-thinking, culminating in the endorsement of the new National Certificate on Sustainable Energy (NCSE) at Solar Certificate Level 3.
Guided by the vision of Prime Minister Hon. Hu’akavameiliku, TNQAB is amplifying its educational initiatives by incorporating this certification into the Tonga National Qualification Framework. This move underscores Tonga’s dedication to sustainable energy. It’s noteworthy that this is the fifth National Qualification in Sustainable Energy sanctioned by TNQAB, accompanying:
– National Certificate on Sustainable Energy Level 1.
– National Certificate on Sustainable Energy Level 2.
– National Certificate on Sustainable Energy (Biomass) Level 3.
– National Certificate on Sustainable Energy (Hybrid Wind) Level 3.
A Joint Success Story
Dr. Opeti Tuitupou, the head of TNQAB, lauded the joint endeavors of the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE), the Department of Energy, and TNQAB. Their combined efforts have made these national qualifications accessible to all technical institutions. He emphasized, “These qualifications pave the way for job and entrepreneurial prospects for our youth, both locally and internationally.”
Before the board’s approval, industry specialists were consulted for their insights, ensuring the certifications resonate with the requirements of technical institutions and the broader industry. This thorough process ensures students have a holistic and hands-on learning experience.
Education Within Everyone’s Reach
A standout feature of this initiative is the widespread availability of these qualifications. TNQAB encourages technical institutions in Tonga to seek accreditation to provide these certifications. The Tonga Institute of Science Technology (TIST) has already made strides by offering NCSE Level 1 and Level 2. They also want to expand these offerings to secondary technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions. The much-anticipated NCSE Level 3, focusing on solar energy, will soon be rolled out, heralding a promising horizon for students keen on specializing in this field.
Empowering Institutions for Excellence
PCREEE is instrumental in bolstering technical institutions. For instance, Montfort Technical Institute (MTI) benefits from invaluable resources like expert instructors and state-of-the-art solar and hybrid wind qualifications training equipment. MTI stands out as the second technical institution in the Pacific to leverage PCREEE’s comprehensive support program, ensuring students are privy to top-tier education and hands-on training.
A Regional Endeavor for a Universal Mission
As the global community shifts from conventional fossil fuels to cleaner, sustainable energy alternatives, Tonga is leading the charge in the Pacific. PCREEE and TNQAB are pioneering an initiative in partnership with the Pacific Community’s Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP) to introduce a regional qualification on E-mobility. This venture amplifies Tonga’s sustainability efforts, extending its reach to neighboring Pacific Island nations and championing a collective drive towards a greener future.