Student bodies meet to discuss affairs

The 8th Council Meeting of the Students Associations of the University of the South Pacific began on 9 April, 2013.

The week-long meeting, which was held at the Great Council of Chiefs Complex in Nasese, Suva, was to formalize procedures, deliberate on student matters, discuss financial matters and reports from the different USP Student Association (USPSA) branches.

As the main student representative body within the University, USPSA has branches in all USP campuses in the region. It was formed to enhance and protect the general welfare and the academic, social and cultural interests of all students engaging in study at USP.  

The meeting was opened by the Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra, who was warmly welcomed by the Chairperson of the USPSA Federal Office, Ratu Poasa Veidreyaki, and Student Council members.    

In expressing his delight to be at the meeting, Professor Chandra said the University is working closely with the USPSA leadership in the development of the University and will continue to do so in the future.

He reiterated USP’s commitment to provide students with the best environment to excel. He said that this will see further improvements to the University’s learning and teaching facilities, purchase of additional bandwidth to enhance ICT facilities, better campus life experience with the construction of new student hostels at the Laucala and regional campuses, as well as to provide more international exposure for students. 

Professor Chandra outlined plans to build and upgrade campuses in Lautoka, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Marshall Islands. 

Such developments, the Vice-Chancellor explained, are a key part of the University’s new six-year Strategic Plan, which is aimed at transforming the University from good to excellent. This involves improving facilities at regional campuses so that they are, as much as possible, brought up to the level of the main Laucala campus.

As one of the core businesses of the University is teaching, Professor Chandra mentioned that USP is working on finding out how well teaching is done at the University. He assured the student leaders that the methods used to assess the quality of teaching will be on par as those used in Australian and New Zealand universities. This is expected to be completed by October this year.

He told the student representatives that the University is open to hearing student complaints, and acting on resolving them, adding that, there will be two student forums in a year to obtain more feedback from students. These forums will also be held in regional campuses.

Professor Chandra affirmed that there will be additional representation of students on University committees, and encouraged the Student Associations to further engage in entrepreneurial activities.

The plans announced by the Vice-Chancellor to engage more student input towards the development of the University was well received by the Student Council members. 

The meeting was preceded by a two-day workshop where USPSA representatives from 14 regional campuses were trained on areas such as professionalism, leadership and code of conduct.


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