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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (September 1, 2000 – Radio Australia)---The Tongan Cabinet has endorsed plans to establish a national university by 2002.

The government is in the process of appointing a research team to make recommendations on the makeup of the new institution.

The university will offer quality tertiary education at affordable rates, while allowing aid money currently spent sending students overseas to be utilized in Tonga, a government spokesperson said.

It will also offer distance education using computer technology.

The government noted that recent unrest in Fiji shows Tonga can't continue to depend on such regional institutions as the University of the South Pacific to meet the kingdom’s higher education needs.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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