by Lance Polu
APIA: Monday 13 July 2009 – Samoa has raised its concerns over the strategic operations of the University of the South Pacific during the Directors Committee Meeting in Nadi, Fiji. Samoas delegation noted a decrease in the student intakes at the Alafua Campus while at the same time, observed an improvement in the Fiji School of Agriculture.
The Fiji Government is also moving forward with its plans to set up its National University that is separate from USP that will incorporate the Fiji School of Medicine, the Fiji School of Agriculture, the Institute of Technology and other faculties. The meeting also noted that 75% of the USP budget comes from the Government of Fiji;
Despite the concerns raised, the Fiji Minister of Education advised the Committee that the Fiji Government will always consider the USP as a priority. The Vice Chancellor advised that the University Campus at Alafua will be closely monitored by the Committee and that options for improvement will include offering new courses like research programs at the Campus.
Financial aid from overseas countries like Australia, Japan and USP Foreign Partners has helped the University fund some of its Programmes.
Samoa was represented by the Minister of Women & Social Development, Fiame Naomi Mataafa who is the Pro-Chancellor, the Minister of Education, Toomata Alapati Toomata and Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Hinauri Petana.