Secondary school students show their interest during the Open Day at Alafua campus.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Alafua Campus in Samoa hosted a successful Open Day 2016 on 19 August.
This year, the event attracted over 1000 secondary school students including members of the public including Government ministries, private sector, and community groups to hear of alternative pathways after secondary education.
In welcoming everyone, Head of the School of Agriculture and Food Technology (SAFT) Associate Professor Mohammed Umar acknowledged the excellent attendance and briefly reiterated the importance of Agriculture for the future of the region particularly, the host country of SAFT.
He spoke of how USP saw the value in selecting Samoa for this important School of the University, offering further education in an area critical to the sustainability of USP’s member countries.
Chief Guest, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, (MAF) Honorable La’auliolemalietoa Polataivao Fossie Schmidt, emphasised that preparing an individual is crucial for one’s future.
Hon La’auliolemalietoa touched on the importance of the Government’s vision for its people to undertake Agriculture and its significance, with the increasing concern of food security, adding that Samoa needed well educated and skilled people to respond appropriately.
He observed that the opportunities for further education in Agriculture and other fields were abound at Alafua Campus.
“These are our stepping stones to developing our families, our villages, and our nation. And the Government of Samoa has, and continues to, support USP in this endeavour. We need to look at Agriculture as the promise for our future. We need to take advantage of the opportunities here in our midst,” he added.
USP Alafua Campus Director Ruby Va’a acknowledged the excellent example of the partnership between the Government of Samoa which had generously provided funding for 20 scholarships annually, for the Bachelor of Agriculture for which the University was funding the first 4 courses.
As well, other partnerships with the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (MESC) included the Science Teachers Accelerated Programme (STAP) and the Schools Library Assistants Training Course (SLATC), while the campus has also received funding support from community ogranisations such as Rotary Samoa for Foundation scholarships.
Referring to other opportunities and pathways, Mrs Va’a announced the new initiative by USP’s Pacific TAFE and pathways in many other areas such as Foundation and Preliminary, and skills based vocational programmes in areas such as Business, Education and Humanities, IT, Technology and Environment, Tourism, many more.
“USP offers many choices and whatever the path it is important that students know where they are heading and we can prepare them accordingly,” she noted.
Students and visitors were taken on a tour of the Alafua campus and witnessed demonstrations, received handouts of information from respective sections, LIVE satellite feed and other science demonstrations.
The public were entertained at the livestock paddock and prices were slashed on produce for sale on the day from the farm. Promotion of distance learning was also enjoyed by the students who sought information relating to taking Law and Commerce and were reassured by the fact that they could actually do it all from Alafua.
There were also cultural performances from students from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji who continued to awe the crowd.
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