The University of the South Pacific (USP) Savai’i Centre in Samoa has officially opened its doors to the refurbished facility, made possible through funding from the Government of Japan Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).
The project aimed to renovate the 40-year-old building that belongs to the Government of Samoa – Ministry of Education and Culture and install a security fence. It was originally built with aid from the Government of Japan and has housed the USP Savaii Centre since 2002.
After initial discussions between the USP Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ahluwalia, the Japanese Ambassador, His Excellency Keisuke Senta, and the Minister of Education, Honourable Seuula Ioane Tuā’a, it was agreed that the USP Samoa Campus would apply for funding under the Government of Japan’s GGP for the renovation of the entire building, including the Savaii Centre and the Salelologa (Savai’i) Public Library.
The refurbishment, which started on September 4, 2023, and ended this month, totalled approximately WS$480,000 Samoan Tala.
The USP Vice-Chancellor and President, the Chief Executive Officer of Samoa Education and Culture, Aeau Christopher Hazelman and His Excellency Keisuke Senta officiated at the handing over of the project for the improvement of the facilities of the Salelologa Public Library and the USP Savai’i Centre.
Hazelman highlighted that the event is not just about the building but is a celebration of the dedication and boundless potential education holds for our community.
“Today marks the culmination of a transformative journey, fuelled by a shared commitment to enhancing educational opportunities and cultural enrichment for the people of Savai’i,” the CEO shared.
He added that the upgraded facility stands as a testament to the power of international cooperation and the unwavering support of the government and people of Japan.
In his official remarks, his Excellency Keisuke Senta highlighted that our shared commitment to education broadens the bond between Japan, USP and Samoa, and this initiative reflects the Japanese government’s dedication to fostering a safe and secure learning environment for students and staff.
“The significance of this project extends beyond the University grounds. Through Japan’s assistance, the Savai’i Centre will be a beacon of knowledge to the broader community. This signifies our commitment to supporting academic endeavours and offering a spirit of inclusivity, allowing the benefit of education to reach far and wide,” he added.
Professor Pal Ahluwalia said the handover of this project is a culmination of something that has taken USP about a year and a half from when they started initial discussions with the Japanese Embassy in Samoa.
“For me, this is the beginning of a very long journey that we must take, especially in Alafua, where we had to fix years and years of neglect of the facilities. This pains any of us to see this, and we are committed to creating many opportunities through our budgetary process to allow for more upgrading of our campuses,” Professor Ahluwalia added.
He said, “Walking around our Savai’i Centre this morning, I can see the transformation and the stark difference this will make for our students. This year in Savai’i, we have also improved our computer labs, and we have better connectivity now than ever for the first time.”
A plaque was unveiled by His Excellency Keisuke Senta. It was witnessed by staff and students from the main Samoa Campus and Savai’i Centre.