USP Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra and Pro Vice-Chancellor Iqbal Janif Share a light moment with special graduate Timote (center).
Fifty three students graduated from The University of the South Pacific’s (USP’s) Tonga Campus on 20 September, of which 13 were from the region.
While addressing the graduands USP Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra congratulated them on persevering and completing their studies.
Of the 53 graduands, 58% were females; 12 students received postgraduate qualifications with 5 receiving Masters (3 Master of Business Administration, 1 Master of Education and 1 Master of Commerce).
Professor Chandra told the graduands that it took a lot of courage, effort, sacrifices on their part and others to surpass any challenges faced during their journey.
“As graduates, you have obtained new knowledge and earned qualifications through hard work and sacrifices, but more importantly, you have been equipped with new knowledge, skills and tools,” he said.
He reminded the graduands to give back to their communities and find solutions to problems because that is what a USP graduate aims for.
“USP has been richly blessed with a strong and steadfast support of development partners, member governments and stakeholders, our tasks have been made easier. We gratefully acknowledge this support and confidence in the University,” Professor Chandra said.
The Tonga Campus is the sixth largest Campus after Laucala, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Lautoka, and Kiribati. Since 2009 there has been a steady increase in enrolment at the Tonga Campus, with a corresponding decline in the Tongan students at the Laucala Campus.
According to Professor Chandra they welcomed this trend as it implies that Tongans now see USP as its regional University with a preference to access USP programmes by coming first to the Tonga Campus and then Laucala.
“As expected, this growth combined with the relocation of the Institute of Education (IOE) here from Suva and increasing cohort-based teaching of postgraduate programmes such as MBA and MEd demand further development of our Tonga campus,” he said.
The Vice-Chancellor said they were pleased to note that a taskforce had been set up and chaired by the Hon. Minister of Education to progress the development of the Tonga Campus especially the utilization of the 14 acre land gifted by the Government of Tonga.
“With the launch of the USP Tonga Campus Fibre connection to Tonga’s fibre optic cable network on 15 July 2014, there are huge opportunities that could be harnessed through maximum use of this land and harnessing technology that would once again improve the services that Tonga Campus can offer its students,” Professor Chandra said.
Tonga pays 2.9 percent of the government contributions, but has almost 10 percent of the enrolled students. During the last triennium Tonga paid a total of F$3,624,915 in government contributions but the University delivered direct and indirect benefits of just over F$9 million for the same period.
“Clearly the benefits that Tonga has gained through USP are substantial and in terms of human resources and capacity development, almost 1600 graduates from Tonga have graduated from USP since 1968. For those remaining in Tonga, I urge you to continue to build a very strong USP Alumni Association”.
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