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USP leads learning excellence

Simione Haravanua
Tuesday, February 06, 2018

WHEN the Fijian Government first considered the possibility of establishing a regional university based in Fiji in the mid-1960s, President Jioji Konrote said, no one realised that it would grow into the centre for learning excellence that it was today.

A time capsule was opened yesterday by Mr Konrote that was buried in 1997 by the then Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer during his visit to the University of the South Pacific.

"I am deeply honoured and very happy to be here today, not only as the President of Fiji, but also as the chancellor University of the South Pacific, to launch the 50th anniversary celebrations of a premier and distinguished regional institution of learning," Mr Konrote said.

"The first classes commenced here on this very campus and on this very date, 5th of February in 1968 — exactly 50 years ago to the day."

He added that the University of the South Pacific (USP) had grown in the past 50 years.

"The past 50 years have been a period of tremendous change for USP and all of Fiji," Mr Konrote said.

"Our young people today enjoy more opportunity in education than ever before in our history.

"USP has been a steadfast partner to the Fijian Government in widening the reach of the Fijian education system and fielding a more competitive and talented Fijian workforce.

"The generation of young Fijians entering USP today are among the many in recent years that have benefitted from the Government's free education initiative, free textbooks and subsidised transportation to school."

University of the South Pacific vice-chancellor and president Professor Rajesh Chandra was privileged to be part of such a memorable occasion.

"As a former student, having spent a large part of my working career at this university and having led the university for a decade now as vice-chancellor, I have been part of the ups and downs and can see the transformational change that has occurred over the past 50 years," he said.

"I am privileged to have been an active contributor, along with many others, in a great number of initiatives that have led to USP becoming the premier university of the region that it is today.

"I thank my staff at all levels have been so supportive in my role as the vice-chancellor."

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