USP's 23rd Chancellor and Prime Minister of Cook Islands, Honourable Henry Puna confers an award to a graduate at Tonga Campus graduation.
A total of ninety-nine (99) students from five (5) different nationalities graduated from The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Tonga Campus on 30 September 2016.
Out of the total, eighty per cent (80%) of the graduates were females and forty-five (45) students graduated from the Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE). One student graduated from the non-member country of Guyana.
The graduation was attended by the Tongan Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Honourable Akilisi Pohiva, USP Chancellor and Prime Minister of Cook Islands, Honourable Henry Puna, and Mrs Akaiti Puna, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of USP Council Ambassador Winston Thompson, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra, the Vicar General of the Catholic Church of Tonga, Father Lutoviko Finau, Tonga Campus Chaplin, Reverend Mateaki Fihaki, Acting Director of Tonga Campus Dr Se’uula Johansson, government officials, member of the diplomatic corps, staff and students of Tonga Campus.
The graduation also witnessed the first cohort of fifty-two (52) Early Childhood Care and Education teachers who have taken their entire courses in Vava’u and Ha’apai Centres.
In his address, Professor Chandra congratulated the graduates saying they have the capability to truly excel and achieve anything in the world, adding that they have to chase their dreams through hard work, perseverance, innovation and commitment.
Professor Chandra especially mentioned Honourable Akilisi Pohiva, Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga Honourable Siaosi Sovaleni, Member of Parliament, Lord Fusitu’a, and more recently the election of the only woman in Parliament, Mrs Akosita Lavuvalu who are all USP alumni.
He also acknowledged the former Minister of Finance Mr Sunia Fili who was part of the Tonga Campus graduation this year.
Professor Chandra also announced that the University has now achieved a total of seventeen (17) international accreditations and one (1) recognition.
“The accreditation of the University’s programmes gives students confidence that our programmes are internationally recognised and are comparable with similar programmes by other universities from around the world,” Professor Chandra said.
Talking about the Tonga Campus, the Vice-Chancellor stated that there are about 819 students enrolled at the Campus including students from Vava’u and Ha’apai Centres and two school-based programmes (Apifo’ou College and Tailulu College), adding that there is a continuous upward trend of Tongan students at USP since 2011.
Professor Chandra further said that the Governor of Vava’u has accepted further discussion on extending the lease on the current property for Vava’u and the University thanks him for his continuous support and for the recognition of the need for quality education for the people.
For the first time, flexi classes are being held in Vava’u by Pacific TAFE where twenty (20) students will graduate with certificate in Early Childhood Education level III.
Graduates with their certificates during USP’s Tonga Campus graduation.
Talking about the Institute of Education (IOE), Professor Chandra said that it has now completed its five (5) year engagement with the Tonga Institute of Education in the redevelopment of the Tonga teacher education programme.
“We have now completed the concept design for the new campus that will reflect Tongan architecture and culture and which will accommodate our plans for IOE, postgraduate programmes, and more Science teaching, together with more sports and recreational facilities. We have begun to discuss possible bilateral funding for this new project,” he further said.
According to Professor Chandra, one of the most exciting developments for Tonga Campus is the agreement by the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications to award twenty (20) in-country scholarships for Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science as part of the Asian Development Bank-funded Climate Resilience Sector Project.
The Faculty of Science Technology and Environment (FSTE) will launch its Science Teachers Accelerated Programme in Tonga next year, which is designed specifically for teachers to upgrade their diploma qualifications to Science Degree in Biology and Chemistry. This programme was delivered in Samoa and will start in Tonga from next year.
As part of the graduation, two (2) students graduated with a Master’s Degree from the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education and four (4) students graduated with the same qualification from the Faculty of Business and Economics.
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