University of the South Pacific

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The University of the South Pacific
TypePublic
Established1968
ChancellorTaneti Maamau
Vice-ChancellorPal Ahluwalia
Location,
Fiji (main campus)
Websitewww.usp.ac.fj

The University of the South Pacific (USP) is an intergovernmental organisation and public research university with locations spread throughout a dozen countries in Oceania. It is an international centre for teaching and research on Pacific culture and environment.

The British colonial link and the establishment of the University of the South Pacific in 1968 allowed the education system to follow suit from the qualification system of the Commonwealth of Nations.[1][2]

USP is owned by the governments of 12 Pacific island countries: the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.[3]

Despite its multi-campus nature, the USP is not a university system. It is a single university with several branches across the Pacific Region. USP's Laucala campus in Fiji is the main campus of the University, also serving as its administrative centre.[4]

Courses and programmes[edit]

USP is organized into three main faculties: the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education; the Faculty of Business and Economics; and the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment.[5] The faculties and their associated schools offer undergraduate and postgraduate study programmes including:

Campuses[edit]

USP's main campus, called Laucala, lies on Laucala Bay in Fiji's capital of Suva. It also has two other satellite campuses in Fiji: Labasa and Lautoka. The Alafua campus in Samoa hosts the School of Agriculture and Food Technology. The Emalus campus in Vanuatu is the location for the School of Law.[6] The Nuku-alofa campus in Tonga is where the Institute for Education, directed by Seu'ula Johansson-Fua is based.[7]

In addition, USP operates 11 regional centres based in Pacific islands countries. The region served by USP covers 33 million km2 of the Pacific Ocean, an area more than three times the size of Europe. In contrast, the total land mass of territories served corresponds to the area of Denmark. Populations of member countries vary from Tokelau with 1,500 people to Fiji with more than 900,000 people. (The population of the region is about 1.3 million.)

Campus in Port Vila, Vanuatu, in 2013
Campus in Teaoraereke, Kiribati, in 2011
Campus in Honiara, Solomon Islands, in 2019

The following are the extension campuses of the university, aside from its campuses in Fiji, Samoa, and Vanuatu.

Centres Town Country
USP Cook Islands Rarotonga  Cook Islands
USP Kiribati Teaoraereke  Kiribati
USP Marshall Islands Majuro  Marshall Islands
USP Nauru Yaren  Nauru
USP Niue Alofi  Niue
USP Solomon Islands Honiara  Solomon Islands
USP Tokelau Atafu  Tokelau
USP Tonga Nuku'alofa  Tonga
USP Tuvalu Funafuti  Tuvalu

Controversy[edit]

In 2019, Vice-Chancellor Pal Ahluwalia made some allegations about a group of individuals who had a record of mismanagement at USP over the years during the leadership of previous VC, Prof. Rajesh Chandra.[8] This led to an audit and investigation by Auckland accounting firm BDO, who compiled a report over 100 pages that was leaked online.[9] In June 2020, a special council meeting led by Pro-Chancellor Winston Thompson led to the suspension of Vice-Chancellor Pal Ahluwalia who was later reinstated after a number of protests by student and staff bodies in the region. The report shows that several individuals were holding key positions with a pay range of over 300,000–400,000 FJD which were above their pay range and questionable for a small-scale unranked university. These were never advertised which include some of the Directors, Deans and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor positions. It also highlights the list of bonuses and payments received by the selected group of individuals which called for further investigation by FICAC and the Fijian government.[10]

Notable alumni[edit]

USP has produced a number of graduates that have played important roles in the South Pacific region. Its alumni include Mark Brown, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Elizabeth Iro, WHO Chief Nursing Officer, Ludwig Scotty, former President of Nauru; Bikenibeu Paeniu, former Prime Minister of Tuvalu; ʻAkilisi Pōhiva, former Prime Minister of Tonga; Joe Natuman, former Prime Minister of Vanuatu; and Solomon Islands women's activist Alice Pollard.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The University of the South Pacific | Tethys Engineering". tethys-engineering.pnnl.gov. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  2. ^ "University of the South Pacific, Rewa". vymaps.com. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  3. ^ "USP: About the University". www.usp.ac.fj. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  4. ^ "USP: USP - An Introduction". www.usp.ac.fj. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  5. ^ "USP: USP - An Introduction". www.usp.ac.fj. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  6. ^ "Regional Campuses: USP's 50th Anniversary website". 50.usp.ac.fj. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  7. ^ "Establishment of Network for Educational Research promises to improve education outcomes across Pacific". Saipan News, Headlines, Events, Ads | Saipan Tribune. 2018-07-05. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  8. ^ "USP to enforce report on mismanagement and abuse of office". Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  9. ^ "BDO report about mismanagement at USP". Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  10. ^ "AG on mismanagement at USP". Retrieved 2020-06-22.