With support from the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), the University of the South Pacific (USP) met with industry stakeholders to explore the possibility of offering the Bachelor of Engineering programme at its Emalus Campus in Vanuatu.
The Bachelor of Engineering is currently offered at USP’s Laucala Campus in Fiji in three different disciplines: Civil Engineering, Electrical-Electronic Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.
This four-year degree is accredited by Engineering New Zealand under the Washington Accord and by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.
The initiative to deliver the program in Vanuatu is part of USP’s broader strategic goal to enhance the role and potential of its regional campuses taking into account Vanuatu’s unique language situation and the presence of many francophone industry stakeholders in the country.
The first half of the program would be offered in French. At this stage, the objective is to deliver the first two years in Vanuatu, with 75% of the courses taught in French and 25% taught in English, followed by the final two years in Fiji. This would make the Bachelor of Engineering the fourth program offered in French at USP.
The Head of USP’s School of Information Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Physics (STEMP), Professor Maurizio Cirrincione, who is also a francophone, joined online.
About 25 stakeholders from Vanuatu, including the private sector, government and NGO representatives attended the workshop. The initiative was welcomed and supported by industry leaders, who nonetheless emphasized the need to develop not only high-level engineering training, but also more vocational and technical training in Vanuatu.
Significant investments will be needed to deliver the program in Vanuatu, especially in terms of laboratories and human resources. AUF has already pledged to fund laboratory equipment to the amount of EUR 40,000.
The program is expected to begin in 2023, with more meetings and consultations planned.