USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra at the celebration of accreditation of FSTE's programmes.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) celebrated excellence through international accreditations at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel on 1 July 2016 following the accreditation of its Computing and Engineering programmes.
Bachelor of Software Engineering and Bachelor of Net-Centric Computing Programmes were recently accredited by the Australian Computer Society (ACS) while the Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical and Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical and Electronics Programmes were recognised by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ).
All four programmes are offered by USP’s Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE).
ACS is a professional association for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in Australia and also a signatory to the Seoul Accord.
IPENZ is a founding signatory to the Washington Accord (1988), which ensures that all engineering degrees accredited by any of the signatories are recognised as being substantially equivalent by all of the signatories. Individuals with Washington Accord-equivalent degrees can travel and work with ease within these signatory countries.
Among those present at the celebration was Fiji’s former President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau; Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, Her Excellency Margaret Twomey; Chair of the Fiji Higher Education Commissioner, Dr Milika Sorbey; President of the Fiji Institution of Engineers, Mr Warren Yee; and President of the South Pacific Engineering Association, Mr Pratarp Singh.
USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra was pleased with the achievement saying that accreditation is the best demonstration and international validation of quality.
The University, he said, pays a lot of attention to complying with national accreditation requirement “but our goal really is to be internationally recognised”.
He said so far 15 programmes have been internationally recognised and USP is committed to getting the remaining programmes accredited.
President of the South Pacific Engineering Association, Mr Pratarp Singh giving his address.
“I am very grateful to the FSTE, which has shown particular energy and efficiency in pursuing and achieving this accreditation,” Professor Chandra said.
He said the accreditation of the two flagship programmes - Bachelor of Net Centric Computing and Bachelor of Software Engineering are not only accredited by ACS but is linked to the Seoul Accord, which is the highest level international accord for ICT professionals.
For the engineering programmes, he said USP had to do a number of things which included demonstrating a strong and functional relationship between professional bodies, the labour market and the University’s curriculum, including learning at USP and practice at the workplace.
Professor Chandra acknowledged that this would not have been possible without partnership.
“The success of universities and other organisations depend on partnerships and collaboration and tonight’s celebration is an expression of our gratitude to our partners,” he said.
He further added that accreditation is not an end, but a means to deliver quality, to improve the employability of USP graduates and promote a sense that our graduates have something meaningful and special to contribute to the development of our country.
President of the South Pacific Engineering Association Mr Pratarp Singh congratulated the University for the ‘Excellent Work’.
He mentioned that the University’s achievement is “a demonstration of absolute hard work’ and further acknowledged the partnership of the industry.
“Being a member of the Washington Accord means our engineers can now do research, development and innovation that is no different to what engineers in UK, Canada and the USA can do. This gives us a lot of credibility,” Mr Singh said.
“It certainly is a great achievement but keeping the license is another challenge. We must ensure that we do not drop the ball as there is still a lot of hard work that needs to be done. The challenge is to maintain the standard,” he emphasised.
Mr Singh added that our engineers must be recognised and “we must also be proud to export their expertise and still be able to fill the vacuum.”
He said one third of the national budget has always been on infrastructure and this signified the importance of the engineering profession.
It was also highlighted that research, innovation and development are essential elements in further enhancing the field of engineering.
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