Honourable Jone Usamate, Fiji’s Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations opens the new 11th Halls of Residence at USP's Laucala Campus.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) FJ$9.3million 11th Halls of Residence at its Laucala Campus was opened by Honourable Jone Usamate, Fiji’s Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations on 17 July, 2017.
The 11th Hall was financed through a loan of F$7.5 million from the Fiji National Provident Fund and $1.8 million from Australian Pacific Technical College.
The eight (8) buildings have three (3) floors each, each floor consisting of an eight (8)-bedroom multi-share with its own hot water showers, bathrooms, toilets, washing machines, kitchen and cooking facilities. Kitchens are equipped with electric hot plates, refrigerators and microwave ovens. Dining tables, chairs, couches, TV and wireless facilities are also provided in each apartment. The apartments are designed with generous common spaces to foster intellectual and social interaction for lasting friendships, academic stimulation and fun.
In his address, Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, welcomed Hon. Usamate saying his presence meant a great deal to the staff and students of the University.
He mentioned that the demand for more student accommodation has always been high, given the increasing number of the regional and international student population, as well as Fiji students from outside the Suva area needing on-campus accommodation.
Since 2014, USP, he noted has been recording, on average, a five per cent (5 %) increase in student numbers and the new halls now allow 192 more students to live within the Laucala Campus community.
“The University believes that staying on the campus contributes to student success and well-being and promotes our aim of promoting regionalism, and understanding and mutual respect for the diverse Pacific communities,” he said.
He noted that the provision of accommodation is a basic student support facility that is part and parcel of an excellent university. Such support he said, enhances the study environment for students who are pursuing their studies in accredited and recognised programmes thus adding to the University’s objective of attaining excellence throughout.
Hon. Usamate congratulated USP, “for this wonderful achievement in building this excellent accommodation for our students”.
He mentioned that in providing this new student accommodation facilities, USP is fulfilling an important objective of the Government of Fiji as well as those of its other members.
“The Fijian Government applauds USP for its efforts in ensuring that students have safe and secure accommodation in their pursuit for higher learning. We also appreciate that regional students from other member countries of USP will also benefit from increased availability of accommodation,” he remarked.
He noted that there are many factors that bear on student success rates and a good and clean place to live with adequate educational facilities is very important.
“I am delighted to see that USP has made provisions for student accommodation as one of its key strategic objectives. Four years ago, USP built the 10th Hall which was officially opened by the Prime Minister of Fiji Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama; and today we are here to witness the opening of the 11th Hall. I understand that work has started for the 12th Hall, a FJ$20million, 420 bed project. I would like to congratulate the Vice-Chancellor and President for his leadership in making this happen,” Hon. Usamate noted.
Part of the invited guests that attended the official opening of the new 11th Halls of Residence at USP's Laucala Campus.
“I understand that the new student halls have been built with USP funding through a loan from the Fiji National Provident Fund. It shows how effectively USP is being managed financially to generate internal funds and have the confidence to borrow money for capital development,” he noted.
“I am happy to note that the University continues to improve its accommodation standards.
When a first year student arrives at the University, the first thing the student wants to see is the place where he/she will stay. I can only imagine the smile this new accommodation will bring to students’ faces, he noted.
Referring to his own student experience at USP, he said the 11th Hall is a far cry from the facilities they used to have back then.
“In the 1980s, I used to stay on campus and was billeted at the 7th Hall. This 11th Hall is fully equipped like a five-star hotel,” he added.
“USP’s contribution to education and employability in Fiji and the region has been enormous. We have all, including me, benefited from this leading educational institution of the Pacific and it continues to provide the best to students from Fiji, the region and beyond.
Hon. Usamate noted that the Government of Fiji is committed to high quality education and is very serious about making sure that no student is left behind in the pursuit for high quality education.
“I would like to reiterate our Hon. Prime Minister’s statement, “education is the tool that will take us out of poverty”. This belief and sentiment by the Hon. Prime Minister shows how committed the Fijian Government is about educating our youths who are the leaders of tomorrow,” he remarked.
According to Hon Usamate, the Fijian Government is making substantial investment in the education sector in Fiji and this is clearly evident in the recent budget announcement by the Minister of Economy Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, where a total of FJ$964.5m was allocated for education.
“This commitment is seen in the increased total funding in the National Budget for the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS), National Toppers Scheme (NTS) and other scholarships from $115.4m to $196m with several new initiatives for tertiary students under the TELS,” he added.
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