University of the South Pacific’s contribution recognized

Tongan students studying at the USP School of Agriculture at Alafua

By Rula Su’a – Vaai

APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 13 JUNE 2018: The contribution of the University of the South Pacific in its 50 years existence is celebrated this week as its alumni make up the top brass in government and business in the island countries USP serves.

For the USP School of Agriculture at Alafua, the push is to have more students go into agriculture. In the opening of the University’s 50th celebrations this week, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi said College and Secondary school principals were to blame for failing to emphasize to local students that they can achieve higher degrees at the Alafua campus.

“The government is injecting a huge amount of financial assistance to USP, an assistance the government is not offering to other scholarship programs but only at Alafua.”

Tuilaepa made reference to agricultural courses at USP of which the government is sponsoring as well as appealing to Science teachers to take up their degree programs at USP, all paid by government.

“The campus is huge, with less number of local students, simply because of students who want to be lawyers, auditors and accountants but we don’t need them anymore.”

He said Samoa needs plumbers, electrical and civil engineers, architects and science teachers, not lawyers.

Some members of Samoa’s Judiciary and some senior public servants during the parade

USP – Alafua’s first PhD student graduated in 2016.

“It was an achievement by the University, so I see no reason why students prefer to take studies in Australia and New Zealand when it can be done at Alafua.”

This year also sees another achievement through its inaugural Samoa Parliamentary Law program where 16 MPs are graduating tomorrow.

“It is a new program where the Parliamentarians have a chance to learn law in drafting bills relating to their functions as parliamentarians.

Yesterday more than 200 current students and alumni – from various sectors in the public and private sector took part.

The 16 Samoan parliamentarians who will graduate tomorrow

The regional University of the South Pacific was established in 1968 as an initiative by 11 Pacific countries with the aim of advocating self-independence from colonial powers.

The University started with 200 students and to date, more than 30,000 registered students, and 40,000 former students are making their mark in various fields around the world.

Celebrations continue with an open day on Friday and a Cultural evening where winners of a photograph competition will be announced.

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