Vivekananda Technical Centre, Nawaicoba
The Ramakrishna Mission is an international organization involved in promoting universal values through education and human welfare activities. The Nawaicoba Vocational Centre was established in 1981 by the Mission with the aim of providing skill-training courses for non-academic students, or Secondary Centre dropouts. The idea and foresight of Swami Rudranandaji to put up an institution of this nature gained a lot of support from general public and the government. It was officially inaugurated on 29 May 81 by Hon. Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, the then Prime Minister of Fiji.
The Centre is located about 13 kilometers from Nadi Town when traveling towards Sigatoka via Queen’s Highway. The Centre stands on a seven acre land that was set aside for the community of Nawaicoba by J.P Bayly Trust. After acquiring this land, the Mission with the help of some generous community members set up the Centre and the Government provided the equipment and the teaching staff. Some equipment were also donated by the Governments of Netherlands and India.
At the beginning the Centre offered courses in Carpentry and Joinery, Agriculture and Automotive Engineering. It began with 51 students for these three courses. However, this was reduced to less than half in 1984 when the dormitory and two classrooms were blown off by cyclone Oscar. The students then were accommodated in the dining hall that became the make-shift dormitory. Further drop in the student roll forced the closure of Carpentry and Joinery program.
The institution suffered further when almost all senior teaching staff including 2 Peace Corps volunteers resigned and left for overseas countries after the military coup in 1987. The institution somehow managed to survive on two teaching staff and only a few students. This struggle for survival continued up till 1990. It was only after 1990 that the Centre began to experience gradual increase in its student roll for its only program (Automotive Mechanic). It wasn’t until 1992 and onwards that the Centre began to re-establish itself as a major provider of vocational education in the country after it received Canadian Aid for reconstruction of the dormitory.
In the year 2001 the Centre re-introduced the Carpentry and Joinery program and in 2002 it began to offer Catering and Food production program. This was the first time girls were introduced to any vocational program at this institution. Between 2000 and 2009, the Centre opened up doors for 3 new programs. The number of teaching staff increased from 2 to 6 and the student roll jumped from 28 to around 80. The Centre offered fully accredited courses in all major disciplines. All of these courses were franchised from two major national institutions of the country i.e. Training and productivity Authority of Fiji and Fiji Institute of Technology. In 2011, the name of the centre was changed to Vivekananda Technical Centre.
In 2012 Ramakrishna Mission secured a $1.3M vocational training grant for the European Union. This enabled it to upgrade its training facilities with modern equipment and resources. The Centre started the process of registering itself under the Fiji Higher Education Commission as an independent higher education service provider. From 2013, the Centre started offering Fiji National Qualifications. Currently the centre is offering the following programmes:
- Certificate IV in Automotive Mechanics
- Certificate IV in Automotive Electricals and Electronics
- Certificate IV in Cookery
- Certificate IV in Cabinet Making and Joinery
- Certificate IV in Agriculture
Certificate IV in Advanced Office Technology