Earlier last week, The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Kiribati Campus was an array of colours and activities as its doors were opened to high school students, the general public, and distinguished guests, marking a day of celebration, enlightenment, and unity.
The Open Day event, a significant annual event, was structured into two distinct parts and was a time for prospective, working and resuming students to enquire about the programmes and services available at the USP Kiribati Campus.
Some of the highlights of the morning session were the speeches from the Guest of Honor, Officer-in-charge of the Ministry of Education- Ms Ruta Tekeraoi, dignitaries, reflection by two first-year students, an array of traditional dances showcasing the kind of extracurricular activity students involved in, Kiribati choir from one of the best groups on South Tarawa and touring of booths.
In presenting the keynote speech, the Guest of Honor, Ms Ruta Tekeraoi, affirmed the partnership between the Government of Kiribati and USP and acknowledged that such a partnership is a testament to a shared vision for a brighter, more educated Kiribati.
“Managing a regional university, encompassing the diverse needs of 12 member countries, is an intricate task that demands determination and strong leadership,” said the Ministry of Education Officer-in-charge.
She commended the University’s management, schools, and staff, particularly on the Open Day occasion, and the team of USP Kiribati Campus for their unwavering commitment and resolve.
USP Kiribati Campus Director Dr Takuia Uakeia highlighted that the USP Open Day is not just another event on the academic calendar but a golden opportunity for all to embark on a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and success.
“USP Kiribati Open Day is a gateway to explore the diverse range of programmes, courses, and educational pathways available on campus. It is also a chance for prospective students to envision their future and discover what truly excited you academically and professionally,” Dr Uakeia added.
A speech by an Australian representative eloquently lauded the University of the South Pacific for its success stories as a regional University. He emphasised the significant contributions made by USP alumni, who have excelled in government and NGO sectors across the Pacific.
The New Zealand High Commission representative added depth to the discussions by drawing parallels between Maori and Kiribati cultures. He stressed the critical role of both cultures in nurturing children through education, highlighting the importance of extracurricular activities in tertiary education.
Ms Meretiata Tion, a Bachelor of Law student, and Ms. Joy Kabotoa Lolohea, a Bachelor of Science student in Chemistry and Biology, shared their reflections and expressed gratitude for choosing USP Kiribati Campus due to its proximity to their families, offering a sense of security and community connection.
They valued the unique learning experience in their homeland alongside familiar peers and new students, fostering camaraderie. Despite limited internet and tutors, they embraced these hurdles, showcasing resilience. Both emphasised the transformative power of education, citing personal growth and broadened knowledge. Their stories underscored the importance of accessible education, highlighting the University of the South Pacific Kiribati Campus’s role in empowering students and nurturing resilient leaders.