CAPTION: Acting Head of Mission, New Zealand, H.E. Mr Phillip Taula and the Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra raise a toast to launch the partnership.
The University of the South Pacific celebrated its new three-year partnership with New Zealand at the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies in Suva on 30 January, 2013.
The partnership arrangement will provide the University with NZ$15 million over the 2013 – 2015 period to support the implementation of the new USP Strategic Plan 2013-2018. This Plan was approved by the USP Council in November last year.
The funds will also be used in support of activities and initiatives related to governance, regional coordination and coherence, cross-cutting issues such as gender and environment, quality, and institutional and financial sustainability.
Speaking at the launch, the Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra said the significant support meant that USP can proceed with greater confidence on its ambitious plans for growth and improvement, which are outlined in the Strategic Plan.
In expressing his sincere gratitude to New Zealand for the new partnership, Professor Chandra acknowledged the great deal of funding that New Zealand has contributed over the past four decades, ranging from funding for infrastructure to support for courses and programmes.
Over the years, New Zealand has funded several projects of the University, such as the Pacific Regional Initiative for the Development of Education (PRIDE) and the Governance and Management Enhancement and Strengthening Project (GMES).
Professor Chandra said that USP’s partnership with New Zealand has been very successful and has resulted in closer working relationships, more efficient sharing of information, incentives, and encouragement.
Like other partners, New Zealand also expects a demonstrable impact from the development assistance that it provides to countries and organizations. In this regard, the Vice-Chancellor said that USP has been able to achieve positive results over the years.
“USP has proven that it can deliver higher quality, greater efficiency, and better graduates. It has been encouraged by its members, stakeholders, and development partners, especially Australia and New Zealand, to build on this success and to do even more. It has grown from being a good regional university into one that is truly providing exceptional value and outstanding results for its members,” he added.
Professor Chandra confirmed to New Zealand that the University is not content to rest on its laurels.
He continued that “the Strategic Plan 2013-2018 challenges the University to expand, to improve, and to achieve excellence in areas such as climate change, Pacific studies, and ICTs for education.”
Under the partnership, USP and New Zealand have agreed that the University should prioritize work on regional coordination and coherence, which will include full reporting to Council on the achievements of relevant CROP working groups, cross-cutting issues and the development of an environment policy.
The Acting Head of Mission, New Zealand, His Excellency Mr Phillip Taula, explained that the objective of the support to USP was to engage with and support a relevant, sustainable, well-governed, effective and efficient institution of higher learning, from which high quality student’s graduate.
“Through USP, and other education providers, countries place their hopes of a better future. USP helps countries to build capacity and increase their ability to meet development needs, whether it be in marine science, education, engineering, social science or private sector development, to name a few,” he stated.
He went to say that USP was arguably one of the best examples of effective regional cooperation, adding that it is a place where people come together, and where relationships and networks are formed.
New Zealand’s support will focus on enhanced teaching and learning outcomes, strengthened regional engagement and service delivery, effective management of resources (human and financial), ensuring governance of the University enhances decision-making, accountability and membership engagement, and to support to effective strategic planning, implementation, and monitoring of results.
The Vice-Chancellor was assured by H.E. MrTaula that New Zealand has stood beside USP from its earliest days and intends to do so in the future.
“New Zealand takes its partnership with USP seriously. We will engage actively with USP through the life of the partnership arrangement, in order to assure ourselves that our investment produces results that will make a difference to the lives of Pacific people, but also to show our support for USP though this ambitious Strategic Plan period,” he elaborated.
The USP-New Zealand partnership launch was celebrated in conjunction with the USP-Australia partnership extension.