The University of the South Pacific’s proposed new 2019-2021 Strategic Plan will be more student centred.
USP Vice Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia revealed during the stakeholders consultation on the new draft strategic plan at the USP Lautoka Campus on Thursday September 12, 2019 that the new pathway document will be more student centred as without the student the university will not exist.
The VC emphasized that they want to ensure in over a period students with a USP qualification are able to enter job markets on a much higher salary bracket than other universities. Students are the heart of our institution and our first priority area in the proposed new strategic plan is student success. Students have to be given quality education experience when they come to a university as they will remember this for the rest of their lives. We have to make sure that we provide the students the skills which will make them work ready.
Professor Ahluwalia pointed out that one of the most pleasing factors for USP is that a large number of their students are able to get employment. He informed that to ensure more of their students secure employment in a very short period of time USP is now going to engage more with the industry. He added that revised strategic plan will really make sure that appropriate pedagogies are used.
The VC stressed that some of the curriculums at the university are quite old and will be revised to keep the students in par with the continuously changing world. A curriculum for a university we have to be thinking 20 years ahead and not just what’s happening in the economy today. Because that’s where the future is and the world is rapidly changing with intersection between bio-tech and info-tech and I don’t want our island nations to be left behind as we will be in serious trouble if we don’t pay attention.
Also we have to strengthen our existing pathways whether it is from Pacific TAFE or from another provider and also develop new pathways so that as a 50 year old education provider more of our undergraduate students become graduates. “We want to make sure education is a lifelong experience and our graduates come back to further upgrade their education.”
Prof Ahluwalia further revealed that it is quite unfortunate USP has not paid any major attention towards health curriculum. He emphasized that USP has a huge responsibility in the health sector as well especially when dealing with Non-Communicable- Diseases in the entire region.
The VC revealed that two new health programs will be introduced in the next two to three years at the USP campus in the Solomon Islands to develop specialist who can tackle serious health problems such as NCDs.