Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogovare says USP continues to shape the region's higher education.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) courses and programmes have contributed significantly to the development needs of the Solomon Islands, said Prime Minister Manasseh Sogovare.
He made the comments while delivering his keynote address at the Solomon Islands, Honiara Campus Open Day on 26 July 2019.
A total of 324 students attended the event from nine secondary school, ranging from Forms 5, 6 and Form 7 in the Arts & Science subjects.
USP he said, has produced some of the finest leaders, public servants, and graduates working in our private sector, civil society churches engineers, and other sectors of development throughout the country.
He stated that the theme for this year’s Open Day: “USP: Shaping Pacific Futures” was very appropriate for the occasion, emphasising that since USP’s establishment in 1968, the University has and continues to shape the region’s higher education for many of our countries – including in Solomon Islands.
He said, “the theme also aligns very well with our own goals in tertiary education - to educate and train citizens so that they are equipped with relevant skills and knowledge for employment, decent jobs, entrepreneurship, good citizenship, and to solve problems they may face in their lives”.
“USP has contributed to this country’s competitiveness and growth. Our people are starting to enter into the regional and international labour markets. It is a classic example of regional cooperation,” said Hon Sogovare.
He mentioned that the establishment of Centres in each of its 12 member countries and regional campuses in four including Solomon Islands is testament of USP’s desire to work with and uplift human resources development of its members in shaping Pacific futures.
He noted that in terms of student numbers enrolled at USP, Solomon Islands has the second highest numbers to Fiji – more than 4,460 students, 3470 of which are enrolled in Solomon Islands and the remaining 990 outside of Solomon Islands. The majority of these (990), about 757 are based in Fiji, 220 and the rest in other countries.
According to Hon Sogovare, the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) prioritises investments in education that drive economic growth with a focus on producing graduates that are not only job seekers but are also job creators.
He added that the DCGA government is committed to support USP in its plans to construct the Solomon Campus. The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management will work with the Honiara City Council to provide the Planning and Development Consent for the project soon.
He also encouraged students to be committed to their studies, to push themselves, set their goals high and aim to be successful.
“Make use of the opportunity to find more information on the courses and programmes that USP is currently offering and identify your prospective career pathways. This is an opportunity for you to explore the campus facilities and to talk with Lecturers and current students,” he added.
Professor Prem Misir, Pro Vice-Chancellor said the Open Day is critical in terms of trying to attract many people from Solomon Islands to become part of this University.
“One of the many reasons for this Open Day is to help you to appreciate the significance of STEM, the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM is a method of learning that integrates the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” he said.
For the first time, a mini Open Day was also held concurrently in Taro, Choiseul Province where Choiseul Province Premier Watson Qoloni was the chief guest along with the Choiseul provincial secretary and all members of the Choiseul provincial government.
Also present were the chief education officer of Choiseul province and his team of staff and the principal and teachers of Choiseul Bay Provincial Secondary School and their Form 6 students.
Dr Patricia Rodie, former Campus Director said USP has certainly shaped the future of many Solomon Islanders since its inception and the theme fully reflects the University’s commitment to providing quality and sustainable higher education for Pacific Islanders, including Solomon Islands.
In his speech, the premier of Choiseul province acknowledged USP’s role in shaping the future of the people of Solomon Islands by providing knowledgeable and skilled employees currently working throughout Solomon Islands, including Taro.
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