USP Tonga Campus Director Hosts Secondary School Principals Consultation Session

In the follow-up to USP’s Principal and Career Teacher’s Consultation that was held in Fiji in September, USP Tonga Campus Director, Dr. Robin S. Havea and staff met with Principals of all secondary schools in Tongatapu on 29 October.
The two-hour session gave an opportunity for staff to highlight and share first-hand information about the pathways and opportunities that USP can offer here in the Kingdom.
Welcoming the Principals, Dr. Havea said, “although we visit and talk to senior students at secondary schools, we feel that it is equally important that we hold a talanoa session with the school principals so we can strengthen our existing working relationship with a reminder that through its Vision and Mission, USP is here to serve.”
All 13 principals and/or their representatives attended the event.  Secondary Schools across Tonga consist of Government, Mission and one International School owned schools.
The programme included presentations from the Pacific TAFE (PacTAFE) Coordinator on Campus, Lofan Tupou and Student Administrative Services (SAS) Office, ‘Ana Ve‘ehala.
Mr. Tupou and Ms. Ve‘ehala are key staff who oversee the admission and registration process at the Tonga Campus.  Mr. Tupou’s presentation focused on Preliminary & Foundation Programmes and Enrolment & Admissions to PTAFE.  Ms Ve‘ehala’s presentation covered graduate programmes, especially at undergraduate degree level and Enrolment & Admissions processes at the three Faculties.
A Question and Answer session followed which saw the school principals engage actively in seeking answers on a wide range of questions, including admissions to preliminary, foundation and graduate level programmes, consolidating the need for Tonga Campus to conduct presentation to senior students at their respective schools at the end of external examinations in a few weeks’ time.
Co-Director of Ocean of Light International School, Kalolaine Koluse said, “the presentation was very informative and worth attending.    It helps us as a school to make sure that there is ongoing counselling of the students on the importance of subject choices.  These choices will enable students to pursue their desired field of study locally and internationally.”
Ms. Oketi ‘Akau‘ola, Principal of Tonga High School said that she was happy to attend the consultation programme, the presentations were clear and very informative.  “The information will be very useful to our students and our teachers too, so they will have full awareness of the requirements for the various pathways,” she said.
Ms. ‘Ana Haupeakui, Principal of St. Andrews High School said, “I am glad I came to your 2020 Career and Pathway consultation on Thursday. It was like an eye-opener for me, especially to see the importance and to be part of the career path consultations.
“I was also glad of how clear your pathway to the future especially with the unclassified and classified programmes. A few students have repeated Form 5 & 6 which I agree is a waste of their time. I am sure if they can be convinced to come to USP to continue, that would be awesomely helpful.”
Father ‘Ekuasi, Principal of ‘Apifo‘ou College, the biggest Catholic School in Tonga, before the closing prayer, said he found the session quite significant. He wants to ensure that other schools take advantage of these consultations and offered to bring this to the attention of other secondary school principals at the next Secondary School’s Principals association meeting.
Dr. Robin S. Havea delivered the closing remarks with an emphasis on the effects COVID-19 had brought to Tonga and its effect on education, saying, “the COVID-19 Pandemic has taken its toll on all of us in many ways and, as far as what the future holds, the elements of uncertainty cannot be overstated.”
Dr. Havea said USP values the continued support it receives from its stakeholders and Development Partners in Tonga and the secondary schools are no exception.
“As a responsible academic institution, we make sure that we continue to deliver and promote quality education even during such trying times where the borders are closed and travelling abroad is very limited. The year 2021 comes with challenges that we all must be prepared to face and this consultation session with the school principals is part of our preparation,” he said.
The Tonga Campus Director and staff thanked the Principals and representatives from all secondary schools in Tongatapu for availing themselves from their busy schedules to attend the Consultation.
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