Rise in NZ uni numbers

THE number of Pacific students choosing Otago as a place to study has increased by more than 50 per cent over the past decade.

This was mentioned by the deputy vice-chancellor (VC) academic at the University of Otago, Vernon Squire, during the Otago Alumni Vakavinaka at the New Zealand High Commissioner’s residence in Suva last Thursday.

Mr Squire said this year was likely to have another successful increase.

“2017 looks like being another record year with a further seven per cent growth. We expect to end 2017 with 950 Pacific students at Otago,” he said.

He said 1300 Otago alumni were either from the Pacific or had an interest in the Pacific.

“Now Otago alumni are located all around the world. 150,000 in number with around 1300 who are either from the Pacific or have an interest in the Pacific,” he said.

“Crucially, while the University of Otago takes pride in its relationship with all its alumni and friends wherever they are in the world, Fiji holds a special place in our hearts.”

“Moreover, the Development and Alumni Relation Office and the Pacific Islands Centre have joined forces to develop an Otago alumni program in the Pacific, with a key focus on the 150th anniversary celebrations.”

Mr Squire said the university was working with the careers service to develop a mentoring scheme for international students.

“An initial pilot is occurring with Chinese students, where we are seeking Chinese alumni to mentor students in terms of helping them prepare for job applications and interviews when they return to China.

“If alumni were prepared to help Fijian students in a similar way and use their networks to help them find jobs that would be wonderful.”

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