Fiji’s Minister for Education Honourable Dr Mahendra Reddy delivering his keynote address during the launch of the 2017 USP Orientation Week at USP’S Laucala Campus on 30 January, 2017.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) launched its Orientation week at the Laucala Campus on 30 January 2017 with Fiji’s Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts and National Archives of Fiji, Honourable Dr Mahendra Reddy being chief guest.
Professor Richard Coll, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning, Teaching and Student Services welcomed and congratulated the students for choosing USP as the University of their choice for higher education.
Orientation week Professor Coll said, marks the beginning of another academic year and it is the perfect opportunity for students to reflect on how they will spend their time at USP.
“By enrolling here you have become an integral part of USP family across the Pacific. USP is a very diverse community spread across twelve (12) member countries and fourteen (14) campuses and we have a large number of learned scholars and professionals who will guide and assist you in your USP journey,” he advised.
“At USP we are dedicated to excellence and every effort is made to ensure that your experience is an enriching one. The University’s Strategic Plan includes the theme Towards Excellence in Learning and Knowledge Creation which means that we strive towards excellence in everything that we do,” he noted.
In his keynote address, Honourable Dr Mahendra Reddy said the orientation programme, is by far one of the most important components of the education process as it provides new students a bridge in terms of their swift adjustment to the new environment and in making final decisions.
“Since its establishment in 1968 USP has steadily grown to create a special place amongst tertiary institutions in Fiji. Jointly owned by the Governments of twelve (12) member countries, today USP is one of the leading institutions in the Pacific,” Dr Reddy stated.
Dr Reddy acknowledged USP as a “provider of higher education which very much inputs to the Bainimarama Government’s vision of a knowledge-based society”.
“The Government of the day has continued to exhaust all resources and capital to ensure that priority is given to all facets of educational development in Fiji,” he remarked.
“Many students in the tertiary education sector are benefitting from the toppers and loans schemes and I am sure the students of USP are also reaping the benefits. As in previous years, USP has been the choice of the highest number of Toppers Scholarships students. That in itself is a crude indicator of the overall quality of education provided by USP,” he stated.
Members of Fiji’s Cabinet, from L-R: Honourable Semi Koroilavesau, Honourable Mere Vuniwaqa and Honourable Jone Usamate and new students attending the Orientation programme launch.
He said students not only from Fiji and the region but from countries all over the world have been attracted to USP over the year which makes it a unique institution.
“USP’s vision of achieving excellence and innovation for sustainable development of the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) is one that influences the growth and development of PICs,” Dr Reddy added.
Dr Reddy highlighted that over the years, USP through its mission has provided Pacific people with:
• Comprehensive range of excellent and relevant tertiary qualifications;
• Delivered the benefits of advanced research and its applications;
• Provided communities and countries in the region with relevant, cost-effective and sustainable solutions including entrepreneurship, to their main challenges; and
• Been an exemplary tertiary institute for the Pacific Islands in quality, governance, application of technology and collaboration with national tertiary institutions.
“The range of students enrolled at USP is many and varied. They come from different backgrounds, cultures, practices and geographical circumstances. Driven by the ambition to get quality education and qualification, they have made the hard yards and got themselves enrolled here.
I am proud that USP realises its commitment and have left no stones unturned in welcoming students and making them feel special,” he said.
The orientation programme he said is an annual event organised for new students to give them the opportunity to meet faculty members, attend orientation sessions, seek academic guidance and register for courses.
“Students also get to meet fellow students and take advantage of the services provided by USP. Also, during the week, workshops are conducted by various faculty staff to prepare the students for their new life at the University,” he added.
Dr Reddy noted the increased competition in terms of getting students to enrol at universities but assured that when a university embarks on quality deliverance, more students will be attracted to it.
“Under the leadership of our Prime Minister Honourable Voreqe Bainimarama, we have uprooted many blockades which affected our education system in the past,” he said.
However, the Government has stuck to its promise by prioritising education and it will continue to deliver.
“We want all Fijians to fulfil their education dreams and contribute effectively to nation building. I thank USP and its partners for teaming with us in this dream,” Dr Reddy added.
Furthermore, he congratulated all new students who have enrolled at USP and urged them to relish the opportunity to make their parents’ dreams and aspirations a reality.
“You are the future of our region, a region slowly but surely establishing itself as one of the powerhouses in the world.”
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