RMI President commends USP for Pacific educational needs
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H.E Dr Heine officially opening the 84th Meeting of the USP Council in Majuro, RMI.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) has responded significantly in translating the aspirations and hopes of the Republic of Marshall Islands Government into productive ends, said the President of RMI, Her Excellency, Dr Hilda. C. Heine.
She made the comment while officially opening the 84th Meeting of the USP Council on 24May 2017 at the USP RMI Campus.
“USP has been a significant contributor to the continuing realisation of the investment made by RMI to education, which remains a singular most important priority of my Government,” H.E Dr Heine said.
She commended the University for responding to her request for the need for more vocational education in RMI.
“I want to thank USP for their rapid response to my personal request for courses in Accounting. Funded by the National Training Council and the Bank of the Marshalls, this programme completed 21 students – many of whom have gone on to Diploma and Degree studies,” she added.
More initiatives like this, H.E Dr Heine said, are needed to meet the chronic shortages in skilled vocational areas in RMI.
“The completion of phase 2 and 3 of the Long Island USP Campus renovation project will provide the facilities needed for vocational training,” she added.
The President affirmed her confidence in USP in enabling Marshallese students to obtain full degrees in the area of Science and Technology.
“I am confident that USP will make every effort to assist and enable students to obtain full degrees in these disciplines to meet increasing science, health sector and engineering requirements of RMI,” H.E Dr Heine stated.
She hoped that the new USP RMI Campus would become a Centre of excellence in teaching science.
H.E Dr Heine called on all education leaders from USP member countries present at the Council meeting to strengthen the momentum in positive development in their education systems – as education is the only assured life savior to the Pacific Island nations.
“USP’s role in the delivery of quality tertiary education is tantamount, given this very challenging time in the Pacific Islands.
“We are increasingly haunted by health concerns, climate change concerns, financial concerns, and perhaps exacerbated by our limited voice in the global arena,” she said.
USP, H.E Dr Heine said, played a key role in preparing the Pacific Island students to become leaders in combating issues such as climate change through quality, innovative and robust research.
Honourable Mr Henry Puna, USP Chancellor and Prime Minister of Cook Islands while officially welcoming H.E Dr Heine and the education ministers and other members of the Council, said that he was privileged to be part of the opening of the new USP RMI Campus as part of the Council.
USP Council members during the official opening of the 84th Meeting of USP Council in Majuro, RMI.
“I am privileged to be part of this historic development, which marks a new era in the education in RMI. I am also pleased that the new Campus has been established in my term as the Chancellor,” Hon. Mr Puna said.
He reminded the Education Ministers of the USP member countries of the two major challenges faced by the people of the Pacific region.
“Firstly the challenge of ensuring that our people, especially the young generation are well grounded and educated in modern technologies so that the people in the Pacific can keep pace with the developments of the world around us.
“The second challenge that we face is the challenge of never losing our identity and culture, because these define the people of the Pacific,” Hon. Mr Puna said.
He called on all Education Ministers present at the event to make education a priority as good and quality education is the only way in which the Pacific region can face these challenges and succeed.
Hon. Mr Puna further congratulated H.E Dr Heine for being the first woman president of RMI and the first female leader of any independent Pacific Small Island State.
Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, reassured the President H.E Dr Heine and the Council Members of USP’s commitment in engaging with each of the member governments in a range of activities including the delivery of programmes, both academic and vocational.
He also assured H.E Dr Heine of ensuring the development and success of the Micronesian Centre for Sustainable Transport (MSCT).
“We (USP) will also ensure that culture remains a strong component of USP’s work at the RMI Campus, as it is throughout our entire system,” Professor Chandra said.
He also thanked the RMI Government for assistance in working out mutually beneficial relations between the College of Marshall Islands (CMI) and USP.
“I reiterate our commitment to work for the benefit of RMI in assisting CMI where needed,” he said.
The USP Council is the highest decision-making body of the University, and meets twice a year to discuss the affairs of the University. The two-day meeting will end on 25 May 2017.
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