Fiji Government lauds USP’s efforts in promoting research skills
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Fiji’s Education Minister Honourable Dr Mahendra Reddy opening the Pacific People’s Research Skills symposium at USP.
A Pacific People’s Research Skills symposium hosted by The University of the South Pacific (USP) was officially opened by Fiji’s Education Minister Honourable Dr Mahendra Reddy at USP’s lower campus on 14 June, 2017.
Dr Reddy welcomed USP participants from Tuvalu and Vanuatu including other institutions from the Fiji Police Force, Fiji National University, Royal University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Hanoi University in Vietnam and University of Adelaide in Australia.
Participants of the Pacific People’s Research Skills symposium at USP.
Such symposiums help strengthen not only research skills but also the link between research, academia and policy making, he remarked.
He noted that the use of explicit structured research framework such as the Research Skills Development (RSD) will enhance the nurturing of quality and relevant research, which will encompass the issues and challenges and offer solutions and avenues.
RSD is about explicit and coherent development of research literacy and skills in a systematic manner from undergraduate to postgraduate levels in USP’s curricula. Integration of research literacy and skills in USP curricula is intended to produce graduates who are ‘discerning consumers’ of information, able to undertake research and apply research findings to address various challenges facing the Pacific region.
Dr Reddy noted, “It is important that academia engage in research but we also look forward to problem–solving research by the academia”.
USP he said, has contributed a lot to the development of Pacific Island Countries (PICs) since its establishment in 1968.
“Apart from providing a set of skilled personnel, USP has also contributed to the establishment of a small cadre of researchers. Over the last few years under the leadership of Professor (Jito) Vanualailai, I have seen a shift in USP, moving upwards, strengthening its research and filling the gap that exists in the region of developing solid researchers, which could really be the think-tank behind government policy making throughout the Pacific region,” he noted.
Dr Reddy also urged academics to engage in healthy debates with regard to the many recent issues in the Pacific.
“We are grateful to USP for hosting this symposium and I congratulate this university, the inaugural higher education institution of the region, as it builds up to its 50th Anniversary next year,” Dr Reddy added.
Professor Derrick Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and International acknowledged the Honourable Minister’s presence and thanked him for being supportive of the University.
According to Professor Armstrong, the explicit development of Pacific Peoples’ research skills, USP will:
• educate the Pacific region’s next generation of well educated, flexible, ethical, high-performing leaders and thinkers;
• enable students to be skilled and adaptable employees in a fast-changing, highly competitive global workplace;
• earn greater peer and international recognition for the strength and relevance of our degrees and our research in priority areas; and
• promote students’ capacity to succeed in a globalising, knowledge society and develop member countries’ human resources;
“On this RSD initiative, we welcome collaboration with colleagues from FNU to join us in this capacity building enterprise.
“We invite other institutions represented here-Royal University of Phnom Penh and Hanoi University- to find ways of adapting our approaches to the RSD in ways that suit the peoples and needs of Cambodia and Vietnam. We wish you all the best in that enterprise, knowing that you have come to this symposium so that we may learn together from each other,” he said.
Professor Armstrong added that, “As an institution, we do need to do a lot more to evaluate the effectiveness for graduates of explicit research skill development, but this symposium is a great start to pull some evidence together, and to further develop evaluative strategies”.
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