Part of students during the student forum at Japan-Pacific ICT Multipurpose Theatre.
The Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of the South Pacific (USP), Professor Rajesh Chandra held the second Student Forum for 2017 at the Japan-Pacific ICT Multipurpose Theatre, Laucala Campus on 6 October.
Professor Chandra welcomed the students and said that the Forum provided a good opportunity for them to raise questions and issues with the members of the USP Senior Management Team.
The University, Professor Chandra said, is in the process of submitting its Annual Plan and budget to Council and added that “we are trying to do our best to ensure that the Strategic Plan Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are met as much as possible.”
The University is also working hard on the preparation of the next Strategic Plan as the current one will come to an end at the end of 2018.
“We want to involve as many students as possible and we have run competitions for you for the vision of what the University will be like in 2024,” Professor Chandra said.
Professor Chandra highlighted that the Strategic Plan preparation will be an inclusive process.
“As we go through all of the steps that should ultimately culminate the draft plan for Council, we want to see that students have the centre stage,” he added.
He informed the students that there is a portal in operation, and if students come up with a bright idea anytime, they can contribute towards the new Strategic Plan preparation via the portal.
Professor Chandra noted that the Executive Council and Finance and Investment Committee were pleased with the manner in which the University is tracking its work on the Strategic Plan and planning ahead for the new Plan.
He further pointed out that there have been increasing concerns about security and burglary on Campus and added that the student forum will provide a platform for students and members of staff present to openly discuss about what could be done in regard to this.
Professor Chandra highlighted that from next year, the University will re-introduce a completely revised English Language Skills Assessment (ELSA) test.
He noted that there are two areas where employers have raised their concerns about the graduates’ inadequacies and these are in English competency and numeracy.
The Vice-Chancellor and President announced that the Online Mathematics Diagnostic Test (OMDT) will become compulsory for all students across the University from next year.
“We want to see that when you leave USP as a graduate, you do not have problems in literacy and numeracy,” Professor Chandra commented.
Professor Richard Coll, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Learning, Teaching and Student Services provided an update on the concerns highlighted by students during the last student forum in April this year and said that they have been addressed.
Some of the issues that were raised during the student forum included:
Request for more student accommodation;
Affordable accommodation off campus;
Use of some of the paid facilities on Campus;
Clarification on face-to-face and blended courses;
Theft at the Information Technology Services (ITS) labs;
Security issues in the computer labs around Campus;
USP Students’ Association audit report; and
Academic staff turnover affecting students.
Professor Chandra and his Senior Management Team clarified the issues raised and assured students that these would be dealt with accordingly.
A similar forum for staff was held earlier during the day.
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