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USP Unveils Face-to-Face Science programmes in Tonga

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Honorable Dr Aisake Eke (Chief Guest), Dr Langitoto Helu (ADB Coordinator), Dr Bibhya Sharma with USP staff and students during the official opening of the face-to-face programme in Tonga.

The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) officially unveiled its face-to-face Science Programmes in Tonga on 16 January 2017 at the Lopaukamea II Hall at USP’s Tonga Campus.

More than one hundred and fifty (150) students will be undertaking full science programmes, including Bachelor of Science (Marine Science), Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science), and Bachelor of Science (Biology/Chemistry) in the face-to-face mode at USP’s Tonga Campus from Semester 1 this year.

This, first-of-a-kind science project also provides an opportunity for science teachers in Tonga schools to upgrade their qualifications. They can join the Science Teachers Accelerated Programme (STAP), a cohort-teaching model which enables them to upgrade their Certificate or Diploma level qualifications to Bachelor of Science Degree.

Honourable Dr Aisake Eke, Chief Guest and Tongan Minister of Finance and National Planning said that this special programme is the gateway to the future of aspiring scientists in Tonga.

Honourable Dr Eke said that, with the opportunity to study from home, more Tongans will be able to afford quality science education even if they are not able to secure a scholarship.

This, he added, will also give mature and working students an opportunity to upgrade their qualification, enabling them to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Marine, Environmental Science or Biology and Chemistry.

“While STAP will benefit teachers in Tonga, it also will have a domino effect for the whole community. This will also improve the quality of science students coming out of secondary schools,” Honourable Dr Eke said.

In line with the Tongan Government’s vision of achieving excellence and innovation for sustainable development and its mission to provide Tongans with a comprehensive range of excellent and relevant tertiary qualification, the Government has partnered with USP, becoming the exemplary trendsetter for other regional campuses in bringing education to the turf of the community.

Dr Bibhya Sharma gifts a tablet to the Guest of Honour, Honourable Dr Aisake Eke, Minister of Finance and National Planning.

“From our perspective, the scholarships offered in this programme is part of our effort to build Tonga’s capacity to have more qualified people in three years’ time for building our resilience to the effect of climate change,” the Minister highlighted.

Honourable Dr Eke further stated that the delivery of face-to-face science programmes at the Tonga Campus this year is a concrete example of the success of the strategic direction that USP has been pursuing over the years.

“This regional development strengthens the member countries sense of ownership that USP is their University, and can serve its member countries well at least cost. I commend USP management for working hard to bring about that vision,” Honourable Dr Eke said.

According to Dr Bibhya Sharma, Associate Dean Learning & Teaching at FSTE, the project was made possible through the strong partnership of the Asian Development Bank and Government of Tonga. He thanked the two partners in helping USP take full three-year science programmes face-to-face in the region for the very first time. He congratulated Tonga to be the first in the region to undertake this initiative.

Dr Sharma said that the University continues to showcase the quality and relevance of its programmes which sets USP apart from others through internationally recognised accreditations and very high benchmarks.

“Our vision, mission and aspirations are deeply rooted in the USP’s Strategic Plan 2013-2018 which has been successfully implemented to transform USP into an excellent University,” Dr Sharma said.

For every student joining this programme the USP Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra has awarded a tablet to help the students in their studies and garner the best learning experience.

This news item was published on 26 Jan 2017 02:21:53 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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