During The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Niue Campus graduation ceremony held on Friday 24 June, twenty-two graduates received their awards with women accounting for 78% of the graduates.
Of the 22, forty-five per cent graduated from Pacific TAFE programmes, and fifty per cent were awarded Undergraduate degrees. One student graduated in the Postgraduate programme with a Master’s in Business Administration.
On behalf of the Pro-Chancellor, Dr Hilda Cathy Heine, the Honourable Sauni Tongatule welcomed everyone to the graduation ceremony and congratulated all graduates on their achievements.
USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia said although COVID-19 was a deterrent to students completing their studies on time, these numbers signified a strong desire to further education.
“USP will continue to ensure that the quality and excellence prevalent within our University are maintained, and we are committed to supporting students’ completion,” he added.
He said, “As students, you have also forgone many of the conventional University experiences of your final years as national lockdowns closed campuses and learning facilities, moving your learning experience to a predominately digital platform. I want to recognise your resilience and perseverance in responding to the pandemic”.
Professor Ahluwalia stated that in terms of Research, USP continued to push the frontiers of Research, having a record number of outputs and research grants, with an all-time high totalling $12.8m in Research funding.
“We want to push our Research and vibrancy and continue to meet the research budget demands that we have placed not only on ourselves but also on the demands of our member countries. These figures speak to the future of our performance in Research,” he said.
“We have also completed the USPNet Satellite iDirect Hub Upgrade. Our ITS team has worked intensively with providers iDirect to bring this to fruition after almost a year of COVID-19-induced delays. USPNet is vital to our university; it allows us to operate in 12 countries to connect and become part of that one community we are so proud of.”
He said the University was created to ensure the future security and development of the Pacific region.
“May the lessons of your journey with USP navigate you to fulfil your purpose and potential for the greater good of your communities, your countries, and the Pacific region. Be active citizens who are endowed with values we hold dearly here at USP,” Professor Ahluwalia added.
Diploma in Secondary Teaching graduate, Aroha Taumokatama Inia said she was fortunate to be accepted into the programme.
“It was a challenge to kick start my study routine after a very long gap and alongside managing work with my family, school, community, and church. However, the staff at Niue Campus are very helpful with USP administration issues, internet connection, and the use of the library and this assisted well with my study experience at USP. My educational experience has been positive during this global pandemic as there were no difficulties, as zoom lectures were available online.”
Certificate IV in Accounting graduate, Iokapeta Satalaka who worked while studying said USP had a massive impact on her education.
“It is not easy to work and study at the same time, especially when you are a single mother who must look after her family. Accounting was my best and favourite subject in school, and I thank God and the Government of Niue for supporting me to fulfil this choice and dream of mine.”