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Japanese Ambassador Launches IEP at USP

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Japanese Ambassador to Fiji, His Excellency Takuji Hanatani speaking during the launch of the IE project at the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre on 25 June 2015.

The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment’s (FSTE) Industry Experience Project (IEP) course and Industry Experience Laboratory (IE Lab) was launched by the Japanese Ambassador to Fiji, His Excellency Takuji Hanatani on 25 June 2015.

IEP is a capstone course of the following four-year professional programmes, Bachelor of Net-Centric Computing (BNC) and Bachelor of Software Engineering (BSE), which have been provisionally accredited by the Australian Computer Society (ACS). 

IEP course aims to provide the final year BNC and BSE students with an environment in which they can develop professional skills and apply their skills acquired during their three years of studies to a real-life problem that has been sourced from ICT industry in the Pacific region, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), or community organisations and NGOs. 

This course will also provide students with industrial based project experience to enable them to function as professionals in ICT environment.

Japanese Ambassador to Fiji, His Excellency Takuji Hanatani with the first cohort of students for the IEP during its launch at the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre on 25 June 2015.

The two programmes were developed as part of a capacity building project that was funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), titled ‘The ICT for Human Development and Human Security’ following the completion of the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre.

Ambassador Hanatani said he was pleased to see that through the JICA funded project, Japan has been able to contribute to this visionary initiative of USP.

“The IEP harmonises with Priority Area 4 of USP Strategic Plan 2013-2018. This is aligned with Japan’s commitment to providing development assistance to USP.”

The ambassador highlighted that through IEP, USP is now embarking on providing its ICT students with real world experiences and this is compliant with professional workplace conduct standards.

“It aims to facilitate real engagement on projects from industry partners, not only in Fiji, but across the Pacific region.

He added that such an initiative not only shows USP’s drive for academic excellence but also demonstrates its quality contribution to the job market.

For the students, he said this is also a proud occasion as this shows that the University cares for them even after they graduate.

HE Hanatani said that in order to make a real difference, especially for the new and aspiring graduates, just having academic qualifications was not sufficient.

“What matters the most is how you apply such knowledge in the real world, how you adapt to the dynamics of workplace environments, and how, in the absence of tutors and lecturers, you are able to summon and channel your skills towards transforming challenges into opportunities,” he advised the students.

HE Hanatani acknowledged the contribution of IEP Industry partners as they will provide the crucial ‘real world’ element to this initiative.

The Ambassador congratulated the Vice-Chancellor, Dean and FSTE as well as the USP community on this accomplishment. FSTE Dean, Dr Anjeela Jokhan said in the global scene today all industries look for students who are work-ready plus.

She said industries no longer have the patience, time and resources to train students and as a result, higher education institutions are under pressure to produce graduates who can add value to the industry. This, she said, can only be achieved when “we work closely with the industries as we teach and develop our students to become graduates and not after they have graduated”.

“USP is pushing this kind of industry involvement in all the programmes and obviously, in our programmes (IT and Engineering) we’re working very closely with the industries so that they can help us mold our students into the kinds of graduates that they see valuable,” Dr Jokhan said.

Vodafone Fiji Limited’s Chief Technical Officer, Mr Andrew Kumar said the past few months have been overwhelming to witness the quality of work produced by the students. From an industry perspective, they not only produced software programmes but came up with full solutions.

He congratulated USP for this initiative and also the students for this milestone achievement.

Software Factory Limited Founder and Chairman, Mr. Semi Tukana also commended the programme saying he would like to see the software development industry in the country and the Pacific move up one level and this is the first step towards maturity.

“Building software development capacity in the Pacific is very important as it helps us to be self-sustainable in terms of software development and Information Technology. We don’t have to be dependent on consultants from abroad. Let’s train our own resources and we can be sustainable as far as software design and development is concerned. Otherwise our IT graduates will simply become computer operators of systems that were developed abroad,” he said.

HE Hanatani also officially opened a dedicated IE lab located within the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre that will provide students with an office environment set-up to carry out the project work.   


This news item was published on 3 Jul 2015 10:05:55 am. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email communications@usp.ac.fj


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