Supporting The Public Sector of Fiji
Public spending on education was 4.1 per cent of GDP in 2011. There are ten years of compulsory education starting at the age of six. Primary school comprises six years and secondary seven. Some 91 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2008).
There are several private educational institutions located throughout the islands. There are two international schools; one is located in Suva and one in Nadi. Both schools are tuition based and offer the International Baccalaureate scheme as well as the ACT (Australian) curriculum. Other private institutions include the Yat Sen private school in Suva as well as grammar and Marist Brothers schools.
There are approximately 50 further education institutions, including four teacher-training colleges. The main campuses of the regional University of the South Pacific and the Fiji National University are located in Suva. The University of the South Pacific has further campuses in Fiji, at Labasa and Lautoka.
Vocational programmes administered by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports have enabled unemployed youths to acquire training and skills in various trades. Education remains critical for the development of the rural areas. Upgrading of rural schools and facilities is being supported with European Union funding.
Public spending on health was three per cent of GDP in 2010. The country is free of malaria. Infant mortality was 14 per 1,000 live births in 2011 (71 in 1960).
There is a comprehensive health care system providing universal health and dental services for nominal fees. Health care is delivered through its three divisional hospitals, 16 sub-divisional hospitals, three area hospitals, two specialist hospitals and approximately 200 smaller health care facilities. There is one privately run hospital in Suva.
Douglas Pharma is the only pharmaceutical manufacturer in the country, which runs a research and development facility in the city of Nadi. Otherwise, medicines have to be imported and sold via one of Fiji’s ten pharmaceutical wholesalers. Until the creation of the Fiji Intellectual Property Office in 2011, there was a lack of legislation designed to protect intellectual property rights in the country, the result of which has been a widespread disinclination for pharmaceutical firms to operate in the country.
There are 3,440 km of roads, 49 per cent of which are paved. The network is vulnerable to flooding and hurricane damage. A coastal road encircles Viti Levu, linked by smaller roads to the villages of the interior.
Ports: Fiji is positioned astride major shipping lanes across the Pacific and as a result is home to two busy international ports at Suva and Lautoka, along with smaller ports at Malau, Levuka, Wairiki and Rotuma. Suva’s port has five berths and provides stevedoring and terminal storage for up to one million 20-foot equivalent units of goods. As Fiji is comprised of around 300 small islands there are many smaller ports and docks for passenger ferries with services operating between the larger islands. Several private ferry companies exist, including Patterson Brothers Shipping Company.
Airports: The main international airport is in western Viti Levu, at Nadi, which handles an overwhelming majority of international passengers. A second international airport in Nausori, near Suva, is the hub for inter-island flights and receives some international services. The flagship carrier airline is Air Fiji, which is owned jointly by the Fijian Government, the Australian flag-carrier Qantas and several small pacific shareholders. Most islands have airports or landing strips.