146 students graduate from USP’s Solomon Islands Campus
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USP Pro Chancellor Mr Winston Thompson confers an award to a graduate at the Solomon Islands Campus graduation.
A total of one hundred and forty-six (146) students graduated from The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Solomon Islands Campus on Friday 2 September 2016.
The ceremony was attended by the USP Pro Chancellor Mr Winston Thompson and Mrs Queenie Thompson, Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra, Solomon Islands Minister for Education Honourable John Moffat Fugui, members of the University Senior Management team, diplomats, Government officials and members of parliament, Heads of Regional and International Organisations, distinguished guests, staff, students, graduates, their families and well-wishers.
Professor Chandra, during his opening address, highlighted that fifty-two (52%) per cent of the graduates were females.
“This speaks well for gender balance in education, which should ultimately result in more gender equality in all aspects of the economy and society of Solomon Islands,” Professor Chandra said.
“About eighty-seven per cent (87%) of the students are graduating in undergraduate programmes and eight per cent (8%) of the students are graduating with Postgraduate qualifications, including two with the degree of Master,” he added.
Majority of the graduating students were from the Solomon Islands while seven students graduated from the Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE), the fastest expanding unit of the University.
Professor Chandra pleasantly noted that twenty (20) untrained teachers from the Temotu Province were part of the graduation and had successfully completed their Certificate in Teaching (Primary) programme.
“A further one hundred and fourteen (114) teachers in the Marika Ulawa Province are also expected to go through this training by the end of this year, marking the success of an innovative and tailored educational programme and showing a strong partnership between the Ministry and USP,” he stated.
In congratulating the graduates, Professor Chandra said they are now equipped with the tools that will help them forge a good future filled with immense possibilities.
“I challenge you to live a life of integrity and moral values and to uphold the most important principle of The University of the South Pacific – excellence, throughout your life.”
Professor Chandra took this opportunity to provide an update on the progress of the development of the new Solomon Islands Campus, which should be completed by 2018.
He further spoke on the successful conclusion of negotiations with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a loan of US$15.4million for the new campus development. In addition to that, he highlighted that the ADB had also approved a grant of US$1.5m from its Clean Energy Fund for the installation of a solar panel photovoltaic system that will meet seventy-five (75%) per cent of the energy needs of the new campus.
Professor Chandra said despite severe constraints, the Solomon Islands Campus continues to offer a large number of courses and programmes that include over 260 fully-fledged online courses.
“This includes postgraduate programmes such as Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching, Post Graduate Diploma in Climate Change, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Education Programme for the teaching staff at SINU which began last year.”
On the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) front, Professor Chandra highlighted that USP is investing further in improving the Solomon Island Campus connectivity and a contract was signed with SI Telekom in April this year to increase internet connectivity at the Campus suing the O3b Satellite Technology.
“We have also improved our Wi-Fi services through innovative optimisation of bandwidth since the beginning of the Semester 1 2016. We intend to closely monitor the use of bandwidth to ensure that students and staff use this for official University work and for learning, teaching, and research—and not for personal use,” Professor Chandra noted.
USP SI Campus continues to expand its services and has three (3) Centres in the Solomon Islands namely: Gizo, Lata, and Kirakira.
“The University plans to establish Centres in the remaining provinces as part of its efforts to provide further access to tertiary education in Solomon Islands,” Professor Chandra stated.
In announcing plans for 2017, Professor Chandra said a major innovation for the Solomon Islands Campus for 2017 would be the provision of tablet computers to all first year degree students enrolled at the campus.
“All the course materials can be made available to them on it, saving them the cost of buying course materials, and enabling them to access the internet—and indeed to do all the things necessary for digital learning,” he emphasised.
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