A total of seven hundred and eighty eight (788) students from The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) were awarded certificates, diplomas and degrees at the National Gymnasium on23 March 2018.
This was the third ceremony for the first graduation of 2018 for the Laucala Campus. The first two graduations – for the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment and the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) in the morning and Pacific Technical and Further Education in in the afternoon, were held in two separate ceremonies on 22 March 2018.
Today’s ceremony was attended by the Chancellor, the President of the Republic of Fiji, His Excellency Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konusi Konrote and First Lady Sarote Konrote; Pro- Chancellor and Chair of Council of USP, Mr Winston Thompson and Mrs Queenie Thompson; Honourable Ministers and Senior Officials of the Fijian Government; Members of the Diplomatic Corps; Heads of International and Regional Organisations; Members of Council, Senate and their Committees; Members of the USP Senior Management Team; Graduands, their families and friends; and staff and students.
Professor Richard Coll, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning Teaching & Student Services (LTSS) on behalf of Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President extended a warm welcome to H.E. Konrote and acknowledged the graduands and their families.
In total, 1,774 students graduated in the three ceremonies, which is five (5) per cent more than last year.
Since its establishment, the University has issued close to 60,000 qualifications, testifying to its foundational role in the tertiary education of our member countries.
Of those that graduated, 345 or 20 per cent were from FSTE, 300 or 17 per cent from FALE and 341 or 19 per cent from Pacific TAFE. Today’s graduation saw 44 per cent graduating from the Faculty of Business and Economics(FBE).
Fifty-eight percent (58%) of those graduating are women. Nine hundred and eight (908) or 51 per cent students graduated from undergraduate programmes (certificates, diplomas and degrees), 364 students or 21 per cent received postgraduate certificates and diplomas, 143 or 8 per cent received their Master’s Degree. Five (5) students graduated with PhD. Graduates were from 28 countries, including 16 non-member countries.
Professor Coll, while addressing the students, congratulated them heartily for reaching the milestone they had today saying that their qualification will help them increase the chance of lifelong success anywhere in the world.
“I hope that you will stay connected to the University through the Alumni Network. You now join over 44, 000 USP alumni worldwide,” he stated.
“Today, you really deserve to celebrate your hard work, sacrifice and perseverance. Remember to thank those who have supported you in your journey, your parents & families, sponsors, lecturers and tutors without whose support you would not have reached this far,” he added.
On USP’s significant achievements, Professor Coll said USP is now in the last year of its current Strategic Plan and has already achieved 81 percent of what it set out to achieve.
“The new Strategic Plan for 2019 – 2024 is in the process of being developed and the first draft will be presented to Council in May with the final draft being considered and approved at the November Council,” he said.
“While the University has undoubtedly improved its reputation and value in the current Strategic Plan and moved closer to excellence, the new one will ensure that the lift in vision and performance will continue to ensure that USP remains the region’s exemplar in tertiary education, premier provider of highest quality education and the innovation hub of the Pacific as well as the breeding ground of entrepreneurship,” he said.
He added that the University continues its quest to improve its quality and reputation through international accreditations of its programmes.
USP now has a total number of 26 international accreditations and 10 international recognitions exceeding the Strategic Plan KPIs.
For a University with no international accreditation before 2013, this is a remarkable achievement.
According to Professor Coll, FBE’s overall student enrolment has increased by 10 per cent and Postgraduate enrolment has increased by 14 per cent. The number of PhD students has also been increasing.
He noted that students from FBE represented USP and won in the Inter-tertiary debate between USP and FNU, organised by the Consumer Council of Fiji on World Consumer Rights Day on 15 March 2018.
He added that several young FBE staff have received prestigious Australian university PhD scholarships with staff of the School of Government, Development and International Affairs attending COP23 and side events in Bonn recently, in which Fiji was the co-chair.
USP has been working in a number of areas to strengthen and improve learning, teaching, research and its services that it provides to the students.