A journalism student asks a question during the media conference.
Students of The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Journalism programme held a successful media conference with the University’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra on 10 May 2017.
Professor Chandra welcomed the students and said that as they train to become journalists, it is important to have dialogue with them for accountability and transparency purposes.
Journalism, he said, is crucial for USP as an institution that makes a contribution to development.
“Holding people accountable for their decisions is a fundamental requirement for democratic societies so you all have a big role,” Professor Chandra told the students.
Professor Chandra highlighted that the University’s administration is all about transparency and accountability.
While the Journalism students’ duty is to ask questions as part of the media conference, Professor Chandra stressed that, “our job should really be willing to share information with you not as a special service but as part of the job.”
This year has started well for the University with enrolment growths being stronger than anticipated.
The Vice-Chancellor and President informed the student journalists that the University has decided that it will strengthen its offerings and position itself well for the big challenges ahead for the region.
“We have made allocation to strengthen climate science and climate modelling with a new professor to be appointed and we have strengthened our oceans area by making new allocations for natural resources economists so that the region is increasingly looking at what value they can get out of the resources,” Professor Chandra said.
In academia, the University has received an international accreditation for its Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education and Care) programme. The University is expected to get more than six (6) other programmes accredited this year.
Professor Chandra further stated that today every leader in the Pacific is thinking well about USP than they did 5-10 years ago.
He also informed the students that he has recently completed the High Level Consultation with Australia and New Zealand. This he added was a good barometer of what development partners think about the University.
Professor Rajesh Chandra, USP Vice-Chancellor and President explains an issue to journalism students during the media conference.
The Australian Government was pleased with the outcomes and has extended the funding of the University from July this year to the end of 2018.
“The important thing to note is that they committed to the funding of the University as the new Strategic Plan develops for six (6) years from 2019 – 2024,” Professor Chandra said.
The New Zealand Government has approved up to NZD 6m for the upgrade of the USPNet, which has been designed to enhance current USPNet satellite equipment, networking and communications systems across all of USP's regional campuses.
The press conference covered a number of USP issues including regional campus development, upgrade of Laucala Campus infrastructure, security, progress on the University’s Strategic Plan (2013-2018), graduate attributes and 50th Anniversary celebrations.
Professor Chandra appreciated the students’ role in getting the information out in terms of what the University does, its achievements and challenges.
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