Professor Richard Coll, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning, Teaching and Student Services (LTSS), during his address to the students for the second student forum for the year.
The Vice-Chancellor and President’s second Student Forum for 2018 of The University of the South Pacific (USP) was held at the Japan-Pacific ICT Multipurpose Theatre on 14 September 2018.
Facilitated by Professor Richard Coll, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning, Teaching and Student Services (LTSS), the student forum gave the students an opportunity to raise questions and issues and for the management to respond to these directly.
Students were shown a brief video about the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) Accreditation and how the University achieved it.
Professor Coll explained that the Commission, during their meeting with him and Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP in June this year, took the action to grant Initial Accreditation to USP for a period of six (6) years.
In addition to this, Professor Coll talked about new Strategic Plan (2019-2024), and relayed that most of the things in the drafting process is done and the University is now into the consultation phase, where the New Strategic Plan Development Committee is conducting University-wide consultations with its staff and students.
He added that it is expected that the Council, during its meeting in November will approve the New Strategic Plan (2019-2024) for implementation from next year.
Professor Coll further informed the students about Dr Anjeela Jokhan’s appointment as the Acting Vice-President (Digital Services and Human Resources).
He also notified the students that the 25th Chancellor of the University is His Excellency Taneti Maamau, the President of the Republic of Kiribati who will be visiting the Laucala Campus this week, for the graduation ceremony.
Professor Coll updated the students on issues raised during the previous Student Forum which was held in March this year, and how they have been addressed or are being addressed by the University.
A student enrolled in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme raised a number of concerns regarding the facilities at Statham Campus, including printing cards and binding of materials, fee structure of MBA programmes, food service provided by the cafeteria at that Campus, and for the University to consider having a mini library at the Statham Campus, where students can go to for study purposes.
A student raises an issue during the forum.
Responding to the concern on fee structure, Professor Coll said that the quality of USP’s MBA programme surpasses the rest as it has an international accreditation, and Professor Arvind Patel, Acting Dean of Faculty of Business and Economics, added that the University has hired highly qualified staff to deliver the programme in order to keep up with the international standards, hence the high cost of programme fee associated with MBA.
Furthermore, an international student inquired about fees charged to international students, and asked as to why there are differences in the amounts paid by local and regional students for each course compared to that of those who are from foreign countries.
To this, Mr Kolinio Boila, Executive Director, Finance, explained that USP member countries contribute towards the University through grants and as such students from these countries pay lesser amounts than those of non-member countries that do not directly assist in the subsidisation of costs.
Other concerns raised covered topics such as:
Flexi school courses for Law programmes;
ID card check at University entrances;
Facilities provided for student accommodation;
Special examination for students who cannot sit for final exam;
Effectiveness of student evaluation of courses; and
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