Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Monday, August 8, 2011

TIST (Tonga Institute of Science and Technology)

 Written by Jim.

Tongan Institute of Science and Technology (TIST), a tertiary  school under the direction of the Ministry of Training, Education, Youth, and Sports (MOTEYS).

A view of TIST. Students gather under the cupola in their free time.

TIST was originally started with the help of the German government as Fokololo 'o e Hau  or the Maritime Polytechnic Institute. Since then it has expanded to include a School of Agriculture, a School of Hospitality and Tourism,  and a School of Engineering  and Construction.

I am currently working in the School of Engineering and Construction in the Department of Carpentry and Joinery. This department awards a nationally accredited Trade Certificate in Carpentry after completing 36 - 38 weeks of  classroom work and 3-plus years of on-the-job training in the building industry.

Students start their studies with 13 weeks of  theory and practical assessment before  spending the next  year working in industry. They then return to school to receive more advanced theory in two more 13-week sessions separated by another year working, until they have studied and worked for a total of 8000 hours.

My Counterpart, Folau, and students.

Jim observes students using the planer.

Jim and students building a door.

The course of study is built on the Tongan, Australian, and New Zealand Building Codes. Topics covered usually start with the foundation of a building and work the way up to the roof and then onto the interior. The teaching of safety is always  stressed it each section.

First year students start, after an extensive introduction to the proper use of tools and safe techniques in the use of power tools, to build in theory a simple structure on columns or piers with a simple rafter roof. We don't actually build this house just the parts, due to the cost of lumber in Tonga, the same timber is used over and over for each part of our house. The building codes and safety are always stressed, and each student must show that he or she is competent in each step. This is done with written work, technical drawing, demonstration of practical skills, and one on one discussion with the instructors.

Second and Third year students are introduced to more and more complicated structures, materials, and techniques. New topics include reinforced concrete, form work, trussed rafters, doors and windows, moldings, interior stairs, and some discussions on commercial buildings.

Graduation held at Queen Salote College Hall, July, 2011.

Graduates and guests.


My Counterpart, Folau, and students under the mango tree playing a game of draughts.

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