Thailand Government interested in Pacific Studies Programme
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(From L-R): Diplomatic Officer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, Mr Patchara Ponum, USP Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning Teaching and Student Services, Professor Richard Coll and Development Manager, Mr Iresh Lal.
There is potential for The University of the South Pacific (USP) to collaborate with the Government of Thailand to set up Pacific Studies programme in Thailand universities.
This idea was part of discussions during a visit by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand’s Diplomatic Officer, Mr Patchara Ponum to the University on 22 September 2016.
Mr Ponum told the USP Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning Teaching and Student Services, Professor Richard Coll, that universities in Thailand have expressed their interest in establishing Pacific Studies programme there.
He informed Professor Coll that they have Australia and New Zealand studies programme in Thailand but not specifically about Pacific Islands.
“I spoke to some professors and they said that Pacific people emphasise a lot on the environmental issues. Marine and Climate Change could be some possible areas of collaboration,” Mr Ponum said.
Mr Ponum further suggested collaboration in the area of staff exchanges, for example, a USP staff could be invited to a university in Thailand to conduct classes on Pacific Studies programme.
Professor Coll informed Mr Ponum that USP wants to see itself as the centre of excellence for Pacific Studies.
He added that USP has a complete programme on Pacific Studies and has a Centre of Pacific Studies in the University as well.
He said that USP has established good relationships with countries like China, Japan and Korea through a number of programmes set up at USP. Some examples of these programmes include, Confucius Institute, JENESYS programme, and Academy of Korean Studies.
He further stated that USP is different from other universities, in that, it is owned by its member countries.
“It is common for universities to have a number of campuses, but it is unusual for universities to be owned by a number of countries,” Professor Coll said.
Talking about the teaching methods at USP, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor said that USP places a lot of emphasis on Flexible learning.
One of the common methods of teaching, Professor Coll said, is the blended mode where the students have face to face interaction as well as online teaching and learning.
As part of the meeting, the delegates also discussed possible opportunities for funding of programmes or institutes at USP by the Thailand Government in areas which are of mutual interest to both parties.
The meeting was also attended by the Development Manager, Mr Iresh Lal.
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