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NZ Minister commissions new Tuvalu Campus satellite antenna

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USP Tuvalu Campus new satellite after the commissioning by Hon Aupito William Sio, New Zealand Minister for Pacific People USP Tuvalu Campus staff. He is pictured here with Hon Seruiratu, Dr Giulio Paunga, Vice-President Regional Campuses & Estates & Infrastructure; Dr Rosiana Lagi, Campus Director and her staff.

The University of the South Pacific (USP) Tuvalu Campus’ new satellite antenna was commissioned by Honourable Aupito William Sio, New Zealand Minister for Pacific People on 13 August 2019.

The new SM-T4.5R C-Band satellite antenna is one of two funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (MFAT) for USP’s Tuvalu Campus as part of the NZMFAT-funded USPNet Infrastructure Upgrade project - where regional campuses will be receiving new C-Band satellite antennae to replace end of life infrastructure that was installed in 2000.

Dr Giulio Paunga, USP Vice-President Regional Campuses and Estates & Infrastructure said the event, “marks the accomplishment of our dream that we believe will make a great impact on higher education and development in Tuvalu”.

He stated that the new satellite expresses the dedication of the Government of Tuvalu, the New Zealand Government and USP towards collaborating for the development of Tuvalu’s higher education system – and therefore the development of the country since education is the backbone of all development.

Dr Paunga acknowledged USP’s long term development partner, New Zealand, for their assistance to USP in boosting connectivity at regional campuses through its donation of the new satellite antennae for the USP Tuvalu Campus.

The New Zealand government’s donation will see USP campuses receiving new satellite antennae to replace old C-Band antennae that were installed in 2000 and are at the end of their operational lives. 

At the time of this release Nauru, Tuvalu and Kiribati campuses have all had new antennae installed with USP IT Services teams currently in Solomon Islands and Niue for the next batch of installations. 

The remaining USP campuses are scheduled to have their antennae replacement solutions completed by October, 2019.

Dr Paunga added that apart from the replacement of old satellite antenna infrastructure, this project will have a networks, systems and services upgrade component that will collectively have a transformative impact on higher education delivery and development in USP’s regional member countries. 

In his remarks, Hon Sio highlighted the significance of connections to one’s past and relations to one’s people and place. 

He elaborated on his journey to New Zealand from Samoa as an eight year old and his voyage to politics, emphasising the risk of losing one’s traditional knowledge in this technological era. 

However he challenged the students to be modern day explorers in their use of the internet in connecting the past to the present and future and to make good use of the connection in passing on important knowledge to the future generation.

“Before the plans for the commissioning of the satellite were finalized, the Hon Minister Sio had requested to be given time to ‘talanoa’ with the students.  The date for his ‘talanoa’ session coincided with the date planned for the commissioning and the Tuvalu Campus was blessed to have him commission the new satellite,” Dr Rosiana Lagi, USP Tuvalu Campus Director said.

Dr Lagi said students being happy and connected to their lecturers and courses means a happy and effective campus.

“The USP Tuvalu Campus will commit to making good use of the new USPNet satellite antenna in learning and research and more importantly in raising the retention and percentage pass rate for quality students who will be marginal citizens who can live sustainably in both the traditional and western world, and be employable in Tuvalu and in whichever part of the world or place they want to work in,” she stated.

She acknowledged the USP IT Services team for their efforts in ensuring that the antenna was installed and operational in time for the  Pacific Leaders meeting and Commissioning and also NZMFAT for funding the project not only for Tuvalu but for the other USP regional campuses.

Sama Fuafasila who is currently completing the Certificate in Teaching (Primary) cohort programme at the Tuvalu Campus said that “having the new satellite antenna meant faster internet and access to new information and communication with lecturers, students and family members”.

Vailuga Vailopa a student who lives next to the campus stated that having the new satellite meant that she could have access to Moodle and online resources from the comfort of her home.

The new satellite antenna is already attracting community members to enroll into USP programmes. 

“The new satellite antenna at USP makes me want to come enroll in a USP programme so I can have access to fast internet,” said Iakopo Moloti.

USP’s Tuvalu Campus was established in the early 1980s as an Extension Centre offering Print mode courses only. 

Today, the Campus offers courses through Print, Blended and Online Mode ranging from Pre-degree courses to Post Graduate Degree courses, including research in Masters and PhD programmes, with current enrolment of 449 students.


This news item was published on 16 Aug 2019 09:10:01 am. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email communications@usp.ac.fj


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