The first-ever batch of The University of the South Pacific (USP) law graduates based in Tonga have successfully completed their Professional Diploma in Legal Practice (PDLP) and were celebrated earlier this month.
Following the successful culmination of the first PDLP course offered at the USP Tonga Campus, the eleven law graduates were joined by lawyers from the Tonga Attorney General’s Office who helped facilitate the programme. The Honourable Attorney General, Mrs Linda Simiki Folaumoetu’i SC, USP Deputy Vice-Chancellor Regional Campuses and Global Engagements, Dr Giulio Masasso Tu’ikolongahau Paunga and Tonga Campus Director, Dr Robin Havea also joined in to celebrate their achievement.
Dr Robin Havea said, “this is a great achievement not just for the law graduates but for USP Tonga Camps as now, it will be facilitating the PDLP programme and students will not need to travel to USP Laucala Campus in Suva to complete their studies.”
Dr Havea explained that COVID-19 posed a lot of challenges in the facilitation of the programme, but through continued support from USP and other partners, they managed to continue with the programme.”
“The lecturers and teachers from the Laucala Campus were not able to travel to Tonga because of the pandemic, but thanks to the School of Law and Social Sciences (SoLaSS), we could still run the programme here in Tonga. So, we had some local staff assisting in the teaching of the programme while some went online and would attend classes via zoom with lecturers from Fiji,” he added.
Dr Havea further added that, the successful running of the PDLP programme at the USP Tonga Campus was possible through a partnership between USP, the Ministry of Education and the Office of the Attorney General of Tonga.
USP’s Director of Professional Legal Training Programme, Mr. Sharvada Sharma said that, with USP being able to offer the PDLP programme in other centres across the Pacific, students are able to conveniently complete the programme in their own countries.
“Law graduates studying in the Island Kingdom have an added advantage as the PDLP programme in Tonga is focussed on the law, practice and procedure of Tonga, and it has been taught by senior legal practitioners from Tonga. We are indeed grateful for the assistance provided by the AG’s Office in Tonga. We believe that by taking this programme to other USP centres, we are able to better prepare the graduates for legal practice in their own countries. We are hopeful that more graduates will join this programme when it is offered again in Tonga in Semester 2 this year.” he added.
USP’s PDLP Programme for Semester 1 2023 commenced on Monday, 16 January 2023 in the Fiji, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands Campuses with approximately 68 students from 5 member countries currently part of the 22-week programme.
Meanwhile, USP’s admissions are now open. New applicants or those resuming studies can now apply for admission for Semester 1, 2023. For more information or academic counselling, visit a USP Campus near you or contact Student Administrative Services at firstname.lastname@example.org