Fiji’s Minister for Education, Hon Rosy Akbar, Commends USP’s Efforts During Challenging Times


Fiji’s Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, Hon. Minister Rosy Akbar, praised The University of the South Pacific (USP)  at the Virtual Thanksgiving Day held today for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and for achieving a significant milestone in securing 11th place in the World Universities with Real Impact (WURI) in the area of crisis management on 10 June 2021.

Hon Akbar said that Crisis Management in education delivery means that adequate support is provided to students, including localised support for remote students with digital issues and inadequate supply, and USP managed well and continued to offer its academic programmes during this crisis.

Last year, universities globally moved quickly to remote learning from face to face delivery mode. However, since many of these universities were not set up to provide online education delivery, the mode of learning brought several challenges in terms of the quality of education, delivery and the ability of educators to prepare and deliver online courses.

For students to switch to fully online education delivery was the biggest challenge for education, but USP successfully did so.

Hon Akbar said that at a time like this when the world is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, effective crisis management is a vital part of operations in any university. No institution has been spared, and business continuity amid this crisis is a means of survival for all institutions, including for academic institutions and the challenges of USP are far beyond what many universities face.

Hon Akbar said that such prestigious global recognition for USP reassures that the University continues to provide quality education to the students even during these unprecedented times.

She emphasised that “USP has a long history in distance education and the University started offering distance and flexible learning in 1928. In print mode, it reached thousands of other students given various motivations. Since then, it has grown in flexible delivery and moved to providing online education.”

“Over many years, USP has developed a robust ICT infrastructure across all member countries, including reaching out to students in very remote areas. The years of training and technical support has put the University in a very strategic position to deliver education to students during this time.”

Hon Akbar said in terms of internet access, the transition was easier for USP.

“Developing countries including the small island developing states have had a disadvantage in quickly and effectively making this transition, but USP has had numerous advantage over other universities around the world because it was well placed to lead the way in delivering quality online education,” she said.

She said that for institutions in the developing states, the challenges will always remain even greater, but with commitment and a will, we persevere and achieve great things, and this is an example of one such achievement that we are celebrating today.

She mentioned that it is important to think of innovative ways to engage the students and maintain the interest for the successful delivery of education.

“A number of students from around the world have shown that success of remote education delivery depended on how well our educators keep the students engaged globally,” said Hon Akbar.


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