Eighty-three students successfully graduated from The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Cook Islands campus on 9 October 2015.
Out of the total number of graduates, 81 percent were females and this according to the Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra, was the highest proportion in any USP graduation.
The ceremony also saw the first cohort of 27 students graduate with a Professional Certificate in Educational Policy and Planning.
Professor Chandra said that this new programme was established at the request of and with the blessings of the Ministers of Education of member countries.
He added that Cook Islands was one of the first to take on this new initiative and the fruit of such an initiative was evidenced by its first batch of graduates.
USP Chancellor and the President of Vanuatu, His Excellency Womtelo Rev. Baldwin Londsdale confers the award to a graduate.
This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of USP’s Cook Islands campus. Professor Chandra said that during these 40 years, the University has played a growing role in meeting the human resource needs of
Cook Islands with more than 400 Cook Islanders graduating with degrees, diplomas and certificates.
He added that the graduation ceremony was also one of the many celebrations designed to mark 50 years of Cook Islands self-government.
Professor Chandra thanked the past and present members of the University’s Cook Islands Advisory Committee and staff of the Cook Islands campus, in particular Mrs Shona Aviu who has served the campus during the entire 40 years of its existence in the Cook Islands.
While talking about the quality of USP’s programmes, Professor Chandra said that the Academic Quality Audit of universities in New Zealand undertook a quality audit and was pleased with the programmes and quality of USP.
Professor Chandra assured that USP will continue with its transformation for excellence by keeping “quality” as a core theme, and aiming for more programme accreditations to form the central part of the University’s quality assurance.
He added that the University will be paying more attention to its student support services, especially at the first-year level, and added that these will not be confined to USP’s Laucala campus only but also to regional campuses.
Professor Chandra said that the University is grateful for the confidence and support it continues to receive from the Cook Islands Government and its people.
“We thank in particular the Cook Islands Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Honourable Henry Puna for the unwavering support and trust placed on USP,” he said.
Present at the graduation ceremony were His Excellency, the Queen’s representative to the Cook Islands, Mr Tom Marsters and Mrs Marsters, the Deputy Prime Minister of Cook Islands, Honourable Teariki Heather, USP Chancellor and the President of Vanuatu, His Excellency Womtelo Rev. Baldwin Londsdale, the Acting Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council, Mrs Fekitamoelea ‘Utoikamanu, ministers and members of Cook Islands parliament, excellencies and members of the diplomatic corps.