Graduates during the special graduation ceremony of parliamentarians in Samoa.
Eighteen (18) students from The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Alafua Campus graduated in a special ceremony for Samoan parliamentarians in Apia, Samoa on 14 June 2018.
Those who attended included Reverend Lemalu Livisitone Toelupe; Afioga Lemamea Ropati Mualia, Member of the Council of Deputies; Honourable Afioga Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa; Mr Winston Thompson, USP Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council; Honorable Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament; Excellences and Members of the Diplomatic Corp; Ms Aloma Johansson, the Deputy Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council; Associate Professor Mohammed Umar, Head of the School of Agriculture and Food Technology and Director of IRETA; Mr Esekia Solofa, Former Vice-Chancellor of USP; Development Partners; Members of the Judiciary; Members of the Clergy; Professor Fui Le'apai Tu'ua 'Īlaoa Asofou So'o, Vice-Chancellor and President,National University of Samoa; CEOs of Government Ministries, Corporations and Business houses; Heads and representatives of other Educational Institutions; Members of the Alafua Campus Advisory Committee and distinguished guests.
In his address, Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP welcomed everyone saying it was a special occasion to have the parliamentarians attending.
The students, who are Members of Parliament in Samoa, Assistant Ministers or Ministers, graduated in the programme - Certificate in Law (Civil).
The Certificate in Law (Civil) is a vocational certificate programme, designed by the School of Law for those who do not require degree-level knowledge of the law but who may be working in a legal field and wish to know more about specific areas of the law in which they work, and of the law in general. Comprising eight (8) courses, this programme was offered here at the special request of the Samoan Government.
Professor Chandra stated that the journey to graduation is a wonderful one and it was a day to celebrate the achievements of their hard work.
“You all have worked hard and persevered and you must remember to thank those who have supported you in your journey - your families, sponsors, lecturers and tutors without whose support, you would not have reached this far,” he noted.
Professor Chandra said it is a privilege for the University to have members of parliament take up this programme, which is designed to assist in their parliamentary work and to strengthen the functioning of parliaments in the Pacific.
“I should also say that it was a very proud moment for all of us connected with USP to see so many of our alumni march with pride on Tuesday when the Hon. Prime Minister launched the “Samoa’s Moment to Shine” as part of USP’s 50th anniversary celebrations,” he shared.
According to Professor Chandra, USP has graduated almost 2000 Samoans since its establishment and all alumni have gone on to make very significant contributions to the development of Samoa.
“Today’s graduates join this large and proud family of USP alumni,” he said.
With regards to significant achievements at Alafua, Professor Chandra said USP also offers the LLB programme in Samoa through the online mode and many people have done their full LLB online.
Professor Chandra said the Science Teachers Accelerated Programme (STAP), a USP initiative in partnership with regional governments to upgrade the qualification of Science Teachers to a Bachelor of Science degree, has been very successful in Samoa.
Other developments he highlighted included the recent introduction by the School of Agriculture, Food & Technology (SAFT), of new products from Samoa’s natural ingredients and indigenous crops like the papaya ice-cream; significant increase of egg production by IRETA from May 2018; and significant investments to the Alafua Campus IT infrastructure.
The University, he said, is in the last year of its current Strategic Plan (2013- 2018) and has already achieved about 81 per cent of what it set out to achieve.
He said when compared with what other universities achieve, this is exceptionally high level of achievement despite the fact that USP is funded at about half the level of a typical Australian or New Zealand university.
“USP continues its quest to improve its quality and reputation through international accreditations of its programmes. We have now achieved a total number of 27 international accreditations and 15 international recognitions exceeding the SP KPIs.
On the 50th Anniversary preparations and considering that this week is Samoa Campus “moment to shine”, the University’s focus is on Samoa with special exhibition and activities planned throughout the week.
“We had a most successful launch of Samoa’s “Moment to Shine” component of USP’s 50th Anniversary by the Prime Minister, Honourable Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. The Pro Chancellor, and our staff were pleased to hear the Hon. Prime Minister speak warmly about the contributions that USP has made to Samoa’s development, and about the strength and warmth of our relationship,” Professor Chandra added.
Professor Chandra acknowledgedthe Alafua Campus support service team and the Head of School of SAFT/IRETA and Acting Campus Director, Associate Professor Mohammed Umar and his team for the significant improvements to the Alafua Campus as a whole.
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