USP hosts High Achievement Awards Ceremony at Tonga Campus
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Honourable Minister of Education Mr. Penisimani Fifita delivering his address.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Faculty of Science, Technology & Environment (FSTE) recently held a High Achievement Awards Ceremony for five (5) high achievers at the Tonga Campus on 29 March 2018.
This initiative was set out to honour and motivate First Year Students in the in-country Science Programme, a first of its kind cohort teaching programme to deliver selected full science programmes in regional countries.
The ceremony was officiated by Honourable Mr Penisimani ‘Epenisa Fifita, the Minister of Education and also in attendance were Mr Claude Tupou, the Chief Executive Officer of Education; Dr Langitoto Helu, Climate Resilience Sector Project Representative; representatives from the Asian Development Bank; Principals from various high schools in Tonga; and USP staff and students.
Dr Bibhya Sharma, in-country Science Programme Coordinator, stressed that there is a strong advocacy for science in the region from Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP and Dr Anjeela Jokhan, Dean of the Faculty of Science, Technology & Environment.
This he noted, spoke volumes of continuous dedication and commitment from the University.
He highlighted that this was the first face to face in-country Science Programme, developed and implemented in Tonga with the hopes of extending it to other regional campuses.
He added that it is a collective effort and thanked the Tongan Government for taking definite measures to have science grow and expand in Tonga.
Sitting L-R: Climate Resilience Sector Project Representative, Dr Langitoto Helu, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Education, Mr Claude Tupou, Minister for Education, Honourable Mr Penisimani Fifita, and in–country Science Programme Coordinator, Dr Bibhya Sharma with recpients.
He also acknowledged school principals for supporting their teachers and accommodating their absences from classes, sponsors, teaching staff and most importantly the students.
While addressing the recipients, the Honorable Mr Fifita congratulated the awardees for their significant hard work for the advancement of their knowledge and also for society.
He added that education is the key to success hence the Government and the Ministry has placed utmost value on it as an investment in human capital.
The Honourable Minister also acknowledged donor partners that have contributed and continue to fund these scholarships which he believes is one of the top priorities, and is one of the largest items of public expenditure.
The following students were awarded:
1. Ms Mele Langafo’ou Tupou – High Achievement in Chemistry;
2. Ms Sela Na’a Latu – High Achievement in Biology;
3. Ms Mumui La’akulu – High Achievement in Environmental Science;
4. Mr Gatton Tonga – High Achievement in Environmental Science; and
5. Mr. Nimilote Halatoafa - High Achievement in Marine Science
One of the recipients, Mrs La’akulu, a teacher and mother shared the benefits of the in–country Science Programme saying that “We are very grateful to USP for bringing this programme here to Tonga”.
She noted that at the beginning of the programme it was quite difficult “because it is kind of new and we have been away from the classroom but this award has encouraged me and highlighted that it is possible and we can achieve much more regardless of our age and situation”.
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