Remarks by Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra at the Official Launch of the 2018 Orientation Week -  Office of the Vice-Chancellor

Remarks by Vice–Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra at the Official Launch of the 2018 Orientation Week 29th January 2018

Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President

1. Greetings and Acknowledgement

The Chief Guest, Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Honourable Mr. Jone Usamate;
Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council, Mr. Winston Thompson and Mrs. Queenie Thompson;
Excellencies and members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Learning, Teaching and Student Services,
Professor Richard Coll & Members of the Senior Management Team;
Invited guests;
Members of staff;  Members of the Media;
Our valued First Year students;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Welcome, Ni Sa Bula, Namaste and a very good morning to you all. 

It is my privilege to welcome you all this morning to this extremely important occasion. At the start of every year, we look forward to meeting our new students and helping them explore and make the most of all the opportunities that await them at this premier institution of higher learning.  That is why we organise this week-long Orientation programme—and taking full part is important to your success at USP. 

I wish to especially thank the Honourable Minister for accepting our invitation to the Chief Guest, and to speak to our new students. The Honourable Minister is our alumnus, and this makes this occasion even more special. 

Orientation Week 2018 will run from today 29 January to 1 February and promises to be even bigger and better as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary this year. 

This week will offer the First Year Students an opportunity to explore the University, attend Faculty Orientation sessions, go through academic counselling, meet with Faculty staff and fellow new students and enjoy the activities at the new O/WK Village. The Village has been set up by the Campus Life department to celebrate the University’s 50th Anniversary while at the same time, providing the new students a place to meet with Faculty and Department representatives and enjoy the games, activities and entertainment organised for them at the venue. The O/WK Village is set up at the USP Book Centre car park and I encourage you to visit the Village and be a part of the activities organised there for you.

2. I want to thank all of the new students for choosing to come to USP. You have made the right choice because you will get the highest quality, internationally accredited programmes that means that the quality of your qualifications is as high as those in Australia, NZ and other countries, and you can easily work in any country you choose. A USP qualification also means that you can get a job quickly as we enjoy high employability of our graduates. Above all, you get all the ingredients necessary for life-long success in your chosen field.

3. The University is very positive about this new academic year. Total enrolment is up at this stage by 14%; we are excited by the additional improvements in our lecture capture system that makes access to lectures to every student possible; the distribution of tablet computers has been made earlier and easier; and we have shown a major improvement in quality as evidenced by the University exceeding its Strategic Plan targets by obtaining 26 international accreditations with hopefully a few more to come this year; and of course we are excited by our 50th anniversary landmark and celebrations.

4. Some very bright and talented students come to USP. Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting one of the students receiving our Pacific Academic Excellence Awards, Mr. Shivneet Prasad. Shivneet obtained 385/400 marks, the highest in Fiji Form 7. He obtained 100 percent in Mathematics, a very difficult subject for many students. I told Shivneet and his mother that he had extra-ordinary talent and there is no limit to what he can achieve—and that he should aim for the sky, to something extraordinary.

5. I said that with complete confidence because our students have been in teams that have already obtained 5 innovation patents that have been registered with the Australian Patent Office; they have developed many Apps, one of which will be formally launched soon but might be available to you to help you navigate around the campus during orientation. The USP Campus Map is designed to help you navigate to your lecture and tutorial rooms, labs and any other building in Laucala Campus. It also shows nearest ATMs, shops, washrooms and other places around the Laucala Campus. We hope to include the other campuses soon. 

6. Another App that has been developed for your learning and teaching is the USP Mobile App, developed by students in the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment. It has features such as, News Feed, Notification, Events, Course Finder, Orientation, Frequent Asked Questions, Timetable and other important features. 

7. We now live in a world where Apps make our life easier and studying more effective. I encourage all of you to use these (and other USP Apps) to make your journey at USP more convenient, enjoyable and successful.

8. I wish to assure all the students that the University will provide a most conducive environment for study; it will provide all the services well; it will ensure that when you are having difficulties, that we are there to help—but I do want to emphasize that you need to ask for help when you need it. Pacific students are shy of asking for help, and many fail their courses because they do not ask for help in the beginning of their studies. Please ask for help when needed.

9. 50th Anniversary Year

All our first year students have joined USP in a very special year for us: our 50th Anniversary year as I alluded earlier. Like you, on 5th February 1968, 200 students joined USP. Since then, USP has gone to become the premier university in the Pacific with over 30,000 students; it is widely admired as the most successful regional organization; and is on very strong foundation to scale even greater heights in the future.

A large number of activities are organized for this celebrations and the President of Fiji will launch our year-long celebrations on 5th February. It is a historic year for us—and for you I hope. Please take full part in these celebrations.

10. Apart from welcoming all of you and making a few remarks, my other very pleasant duty this morning is to introduce our Chief Guest, Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, the Honourable Jone Usamate.

11. Hon. Minister, Sir, we are most grateful to you for accepting our invitation to speak to our First Year Students at Orientation Week 2018.

12. Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable Jone Usamate has been serving as Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations since 19 September 2016 in the Fiji First Government. Prior to that, he served as Minister for Health & Medical Services and as Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment in the Bainimarama Government.

13. Hon. Minister is an educator at heart. He taught for two years in Lomary Secondary School from 1988 before joining the Fiji National Training Council as a Training Officer, eventually becoming the Director-General in 2000. He was the Director-General of the Training & Productivity Authority of Fiji from 2003 to 2010 and served the Fiji National University as Director TVET after the merger between FNU and TPAF.

14. The Hon. Minister has served in numerous capacities including as Alternate APO Director for Fiji, a Trainer, Consultant and Executive. A great proportion of his career has been focused on HRD, Training, Management Development, Business Excellence and Productivity.

15. Hon. Usamate holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Administration and Economics from our very own USP and is one of our esteemed alumni. He also holds a Masters in Management (SCU). He is an Honorary Fellow of the Asian Productivity Organisation as well as an Accredited Mediator with the Singapore Mediation Centre.

16. Hon. Usamate and is married to Cagi and they have 5 daughters and 5 grandchildren. 

17. Honourable Minister, on behalf of everyone present here today, I am honoured to invite you to speak to our students.

18. Vinaka Vakalevu; Dhanyabad; Shukriya; and Thank you.

Monday 29th January 2018, 9.15am, Lower Library Rara

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