Fiji became independent in 1970, after nearly a century as a British colony. Various military and civilian coups occurred between 1987 and 2001. Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government.
Fiji is an island group in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii and New Zealand. It consists of four main islands and approximately 840 smaller islands. Most of the people live on the two largest islands, Viti Levu and Vanua
Levu. The capital is Suva (on Viti Levu). The languages are English and Fijian.
In the past, the school system was divided into 8 years of elementary education and 4 years of secondary education. In the 1980s, a 6+4+2 or 3 system was introduced.
Students can enter junior secondary school after the 6th grade and the passing of the Fiji intermediate Examination. Lower secondary school ends at grade 10 with the award of the Junior Certificate Examination.
Senior secondary school, Grade 12, ends with the award of the Fiji School Leaving Certificate. Students can then proceed to
Form 7, an additional year 13, and complete the Fiji Form 7 Examination in four or five subjects. This gives direct
access to higher education. Students may also take a one year foundation course to be admitted to the first degree courses. There are also technical high schools that provide the 2 years of upper secondary school and Form 7.
Higher education is mainly provided by the University of the South Pacific (USP) and several other institutions of higher education. The University serves eleven English-speaking territories in the South Pacific. The academic year is from February to
November. The language of instruction is English.
The first stage of higher education, following the university foundation year or Form 7, is three years of full-time study to earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. In Medicine, the first degree takes six years at the Fiji School of Medicine.
Schools offers 2- and 3-year Certificates or Diplomas in many fields.
The second stage of education is the Masters Degree, is conferred after 1 to 3 years study beyond the Bachelor's Degree. It is awarded either after
the submission of a thesis following research in an approved topic or after course work, examination and thesis.
The third stage leads to the award of a Doctor of Philosophy Degree. Studies last a minimum of 3 years. Candidates must submit a thesis after research in an approved subject.
Primary school teachers complete 2-year programs after passing the Fiji School Leaving Certificate (grade 12). Secondary school
teachers obtain a Diploma in Education after 3 years training in the University's School of Humanities or they read for a Bachelors Degree in Arts or Science and then do a further year leading to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education.