Office of the Vice-Chancellor



USP OPEN DAY
 
Address by Mr Filipe N. Bole, CBE, Minister for Education, National Heritage, Culture & Arts, Youth & Sports,
Industrial Relations & Employment, Local Government Urban Development, Housing and Environment,
at the USP Open Day, at 10.00 am, Friday 17 October, 2008.

________________________________________________________________________________________


A    ADDRESS

•    THE VICE CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC,
•    MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY COUNCIL,
•    MEMBERS OF THE  FACULTIES,
•    STUDENTS,
•    DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

B    INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

I AM INDEED THANKFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS THE STAKEHOLDERS OF THIS UNIVERSITY DURING THIS OPENING CEREMONY.

2.    FURTHERMORE, I AM DELIGHTED TO SHARE WITH YOU SOME THOUGHTS ON THE ROLE OF THIS INSTITUTION, IN ADDRESSING COMMON DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES, THAT ARE FACED BY COUNTRIES IN OUR PACIFIC REGION.

3.    BUT BEFORE DOING THAT, I MUST COMMEND THE ORGANIZERS OF THIS OPEN DAY FOR YOUR CHOICE OF SUCH AN APT THEME – LEADING A QUALITY REGION – DRIVING EDUCATION WITH TECHNOLOGY.

4.    IT IS INDEED FITTING, THAT THE TWO CONCEPTS OF QUALITY EDUCATION AND OF TECHNOLOGY ARE UNITED, FOR THEY REPRESENT THE BEST INGREDIENTS OF LEARNING, IN ANY INSTITUTION.  

5.    IN THIS GLOBALIZED WORLD THE TWO ARE REALLY INDISPENSABLE TO EACH OTHER.

6.    NEEDLESS TO SAY, THE ADVANCEMENT OF EDUCATION DEPENDS A GREAT DEAL, ON THE PURSUIT OF QUALITY AND THE UTILISATION OF TECHNOLOGY IN PEDAGOGICAL PROCESSES.

7.    IT IS NOT A COINCIDENCE THEN THAT EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS THAT STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE THROUGH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY, TEND TO ATTRACT THE BEST AND PRODUCE OUTSTANDING RESULTS.

8.    ON THAT NOTE, I CONGRATULATE THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE HERE AT USP, WHO HAVE RECOGNISED THESE BASIC FACTS THROUGH THE CREATION OF A UNIQUE AND FORWARD-LOOKING ORGANIZATION.

9.    I APPLAUD THE UNIVERSITY FOR ITS ACHIEVEMENT AND THE BENCHMARK IT HAS SET, AS PER THE COMPLETION OF THE RECENT ACADEMIC QUALITY AUDIT.

10.    GIVEN THAT THE INSTITUTION CELEBRATES ITS FORTIETH YEAR OF EXISTENCE, THE SUCCESSFUL RESULTS OF THE AUDIT INDICATES THAT THE VISIONS AND THE DREAMS OF THE PIONEERS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC HAVE BEEN REALIZED, TO A LARGE EXTENT.

11.    IT PROVES THAT THE HARD WORK OF THOSE WHO WERE HERE BEFORE AND THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE HERE NOW, HAS NOT BEEN IN VAIN.

C    QUALITY OF LEARNING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

12.    THROUGH THE YEARS, USP HAS GROWN FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH, AND GIVEN THE FACT THAT IT SERVES SMALL ISLAND STATES THAT ARE SCATTERED THROUGHOUT THE WIDE PACIFIC OCEAN, THE ISSUE OF ACCESS, HAS BEEN ONE OF ITS GREATEST CHALLENGES.

13.    AND IN THIS REGARD, I SALUTE THE TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN ACHIEVED, WITH THE PROVISION OF ON-LINE STUDY.

14.    THIS MODE OF LEARNING HAS TAKEN HIGHER EDUCATION TO THE HOMES AND OTHER LEARNING LOCATIONS, THAT ARE ISOLATED AND FAR-REMOVED FROM USP’S MAIN CAMPUSES.

15.    HOWEVER, WHILE ON-LINE LEARNING MIGHT BE CONSIDERED A MILESTONE ACHIEVEMENT, I BELIEVE THAT GREAT CAUTION MUST BE EXERCISED, IN CERTAIN ASPECTS OF LEARNING THAT CAN NEVER BE ACHIEVED THROUGH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY, NO MATTER HOW ADVANCED IT MAY BE.

16.    IN THIS REGARD, I WISH TO EMPHASISE, THAT WHILE THE PROVISION OF DISTANCE LEARNING IS APPRECIATED, THE UNIVERSITY SHOULD BE MINDFUL OF MAINTAINING AND UPHOLDING THE ETHICS AND THE VALUES OF ANY PROFESSION OR JOB THAT IT TRAINS STUDENTS FOR.

17.    I AM SURE THAT YOU WILL ALL AGREE WITH ME THAT THESE PRINCPLES AND VIRTUES CAN NEVER BE INCULCATED IN ANY PERSON THROUGH THE USE OF EVEN THE MOST MODERN TYPE OF EQUIPMENT.

18.    THESE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED THROUGH FACE-TO-FACE LEARNING AND BY PERSON-TO-PERSON INTERACTIONS.

19.    IT IS VERY IMPORTANT, THEREFORE, THAT THE UNIVERSITY VIGOROUSLY PROMOTES THE HUMAN ASPECTS OF WORKING TOGETHER, AND THE ESSENCE OF FORMING GOOD RELATIONSHIPS.

20.    I SAY THIS BECAUSE AT THE END OF EACH WORKING DAY, IT IS NOT ONLY THE SKILLS OF THE JOB THAT MAKE AND SHAPE PEOPLE.

21.    MORE SO, IT IS THE HUMAN VIRTUES AND PRINCIPLES DISPLAYED BY AN EMPLOYEE THAT DECIDE THE QUALITY OF THE PERSON.

22.    I AM FULLY AWARE THAT THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN CERTAIN SECTORS OF USP IS PART OF THE COST-CUTTING MEASURES TAKEN BY THE UNIVERSITY, AND FIJI COMMENDS THE CURRENT MANAGEMENT FOR THE BOLD INITIATIVES TAKEN.

23.    WHILE THIS IS A NECESSITY, THE EXTENT OF OUR ACTIONS SHOULD NOT COMPROMISE THE MOULDING AND NURTURING OF PACIFIC ISLANDERS WHOSE CULTURES AND TRADITIONS, ARE STEEPLY ENTRENCHED IN THE ETHICS AND VALUES THAT WE ARE WELL-KNOWN FOR.

D    LEADING A QUALITY REGION

24.    ON THE THEME OF LEADING A QUALITY REGION, I WISH TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO CONGRATULATE THE HARD WORKING STAFF AT OTHER USP CENTRES THROUGHOUT THE REGION.

25.    LET ME ASSURE YOU, THAT FIJI IS FULLY COMMITTED TO REGIONAL COOPERATION, AND NO DOUBT, THE OTHER CAMPUSES OF THE UNIVERSITY ARE REFLECTIONS OF HOW BEST WE CAN ALL WORK TOGETHER AS A REGION.

26.    THEY ARE ALSO SYMBOLS OF INCLUSIVENESS AND IF WE WISH TO HAVE OUR VOICES HEARD, ON THE INTERNATIONAL PLATFORM, THERE IS NO BETTER WAY OF DOING IT, THAN COLLECTIVELY, AS A REGION.

27.    ON OUR OWN, WE WILL JUST BE ANOTHER OF THE VOICES IN THE WILDERNESS.

28.    ON THE ISSUE OF QUALITY, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I MUST COMMEND THE UNIVERSITY FOR THE RANGE AND DEPTH OF EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT, WHICH OVER THE LAST 4O YEARS, HAS CONSTITUTED THE SEEDBED OF THE PACIFIC’S FUTURE.

29.    ONE OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF OUR PACIFIC PEOPLE HAS BEEN THE RECOGNITION OF THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY EDUCATION AS THE BASIS FOR MAINTENANCE OF AN EFFECTIVE AND AN EFFICIENT SOCIETY.

30.    A PROMINENT STATESMAN, ONCE SAID THAT “NO COUNTRY CAN POSSIBLY BE SUSTAINED, UNLESS IT HAS AN EDUCATED CITIZENRY WHOSE QUALITY OF MIND AND HEART PERMIT IT TO TAKE PART IN THE COMPLICATED AND SOPHISTICATED DECISIONS THAT ARE DEMANDED OF ALL CITIZENS.” UNQUOTE.

31.    I WOULD LIKE TO THINK, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THAT IN THIS REGARD, THIS UNIVERSITY SHOULD BE THE KEY PLAYER.

32.    AND INDEED, MY EARLIER COMMENT ON PROMOTING VALUES AND PRINCIPLES, AND MAINTAINING THE HUMAN TOUCH IS MOST LIKELY WHAT THE STATESMAN REFERS TO AS QUALITY OF MIND AND HEART.

33.    I BELIEVE, I CAN RIGHTFULLY CLAIM THAT ONE OF THE MOST PROMINENT CHARACTERISTICS OF OUR PACIFIC SOCIETY IS AN ATTACHMENT TO MORAL AND SPIRITUAL IDEALS.

34.    HENCE IN THE PURSUIT OF QUALITY EDUCATION, THIS UNIVERSITY HAS A MORAL OBLIGATION TO PLAY A LEADING ROLE IN MENDING THE MORAL FIBRES OF OUR COMMUNITIES.

35.    ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN RAVAGED AND SHREDDED BY THE CONFUSIONS THAT ACCOMPANY GLOBALIZATION.

36.    HAVING SAID THAT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I BELIEVE THAT WHILE IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE PROVIDE QUALITY EDUCATIONAL SERVICES, WE MUST NOT DO THIS AT THE EXPENSE OF STAKEHOLDERS.

37.    CONSIDERATION MUST BE GIVEN TO THE COSTS OF DELIVERING QUALITY EDUCATION.

38.    OVER THE RECENT PAST THERE HAVE BEEN CONCERNS RAISED ABOUT FINANCE MATTERS, HERE AT USP.

39.    REGIONALLY, CONCERNS HAVE BEEN RAISED IN REGARDS TO RECENT INCREASES IN FEES.  AND FOR FIJI, OUR SCHOLARSHIP PROVIDERS HAVE ALSO VOICED THEIR CONCERN.

40.    IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING, THEN, THAT THERE WILL BE HIGHER LEVELS OF CONCERN RAISED BY PARENTS OF PRIVATE STUDENTS.

41.    NATURALLY, IF FEES ARE UNAFFORDABLE, THE ENROLMENT RATES WILL DECREASE, AND IF SUCH A SITUATION ARISES, THEN I DREAD THE DAY, WHEN USP WILL ONLY BE ACCESSIBLE TO AN ELITE GROUP OF PEOPLE.

42.    AS A DEVELOPING NATION, AND A DEVELOPING REGION, WE DEFINITLEY CANNOT AFFORD THIS.  THE TRANSITION FROM THIRD TO FIRST WORLD, REQUIRES CITIZENS WHO ARE DEEP AND CREATIVE THINKERS.

43.    AND THE ONLY WAY, WE CAN PRODUCE SUCH HUMAN RESOURCE IS THROUGH TERTIARY EDUCATION.

44.    FOR THIS REASON, I PROPOSE THAT THE USP RE-LOOKS AT STRATEGIES OF MANAGING ITS FINANCES.

45.    THAT IT CUTS COSTS WHERE THE IMPACT WILL NOT RESULT IN DRIVING AWAY PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS WHO HAVE THE TALENTS AND THE SKILLS TO ADVANCE TO HIGHER EDUCATION LEVELS.

46.    IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT WE NEED, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IS QUALITY EDUCATION, AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE.

47.    UNESCO’S WORLD DECLARATION ON HIGHER EDUCATION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY STIPULATES THAT THE MANAGEMENT AND FINANCING OF HIGHER EDUCATION REQUIRE THE DEVELOPMENT OF APPROPRIATE PLANNING AND POLICY-ANALYSIS CAPACITIES AND STRATEGIES…”

48.    GIVEN THE KNOWLEDGE AND THE DEPTH OF EXPERIENCE OF THE CURRENT MANAGEMENT OF USP, I AM CONFIDENT, THAT YOU WILL EXPLORE ALL AVENUES THAT WILL ENABLE THE INSTITUTION TO DETERMINE THE PRE-REQUISITES FOR ATTAINING AND SUSTAINING, AN INDISPENSABLE LEVEL OF QUALITY WITHIN AFFORDABLE BOUNDARIES.

E    CONCLUDING REMARKS

49.    IN CONCLUSION, AS THE UNIVERSITY COMMEMORATES ITS FOURTH DECADE OF EXISTENCE, I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT THERE IS SO MUCH TO BE CELEBRATED.

50.    IN THE PAST FOURTY YEARS, THE UNIVERSITY HAS BEEN ABLE TO PROVIDE FOR ALL ITS MEMBER COUNTRIES, A POOL OF REGIONAL LEADERS WHO HAVE EARNED THE RESPECT OF OUR NEIGHBOURS AND WHO HAVE MADE A MARK FOR THEMSELVES AND THE PACIFIC, ON THE INTERNATIONAL FRONT.

51.    I THEREFORE, CONGRATULATE THIS INSTITUTION WITH PARTICULAR PLEASURE.  USP HAS DEFINITELY PROVED ITS WORTH, AND IT HAS FURTHERMORE DEMONSTRATED ITS VALUE.

52.    THE UNVIVERSITY WILL CONTINUE TO GROW AS THE INTELLECTUAL CENTRE FOR THE PACIFIC, AND I SAY THIS WITH A LOT OF CONFIDENCE, BECAUSE USP’S STAKEHOLDERS HAVE RIGOROUSLY DEFENDED THE UNHAMPERED FREEDOM OF DISCUSSION AND INQUIRY, WHICH IS THE SOUL OF INTELLECTUAL ENTERPRISE AND THE HEART OF A VIBRANT UNIVERSITY.

53.    THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE IMPLIES A WORLD WHERE NATIONS ARE FREE TO SOLVE THEIR OWN PROBLEMS AND TO REALIZE THEIR OWN IDEALS.

54.    IT IMPLIES, A WORLD WHERE COLLABORATION EMERGES FROM THE VOLUNTARY DECISIONS OF NATIONS, STRONG IN THEIR INDEPENDENCE AND THEIR SELF-RESPECT.

55.    INCIDENTLY, IT WAS ONLY A WEEK AGO, THAT FIJI CELEBRATED ITS 38TH YEAR OF INDEPENDENCE.   INTERESTINGLY, OUR INDEPENDENT NATION, IS TWO YEARS YOUNGER THAN USP.

56.    IT IS OBVIOUS TO ME, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THAT THIS UNIVERSITY HAS AND WILL, IN THE FUTURE, CONTINUE TO PLAY A MAJOR ROLE IN SHAPING THE DESTINY OF OUR PEOPLE.

57.    AS WE CONDUCT THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE, WE CREATE A WORLD WHICH FREELY UNITES NATIONAL DIVERSITY AND INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP.

58.    AND DIVERSITY AND INDEPENDENCE REPRESENT THE VERY ESSENCE OF EXISTENCE IN THIS 21ST CENTURY.

59.    IF FIJI AND THE REST OF THE PACIFIC WISH TO ACHIEVE THIS IDEAL, THEN THIS UNIVERSITY WILL HAVE TO TAKE GREATER RESPONSIBILITY TO EQUIP THE YOUNGER GENERATION WITH NEW SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE AND IDEALS TO BUILD A PROSPEROUS ECONOMY AND CREATE A STABLE AND HAPPY SOCIETY.


60.    AS THE UNIVERSITY BEGINS ITS JOURNEY INTO THE LAST DECADE OF ITS FIRST HALF CENTURY BIRTHDAY, I WISH THE INSTITUTION WELL IN ITS PROGRESS.

61.    ANNIVERSARIES ARE USUALLY REFERENCE POINTS FOR ASSESSEMNTS.  

62.    AND I AM QUITE CERTAIN THAT TEN YEARS, DOWN THE LINE, WHEN USP REACHES THE HALF CENTURY MARK, ITS SUCCESS WILL LARGELY BE DETERMINED BY HOW COMMITTED AND RECEPTIVE IT HAS BEEN TO ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF ITS MEMBER COUNTRIES.

63.    IT IS MY HOPE THAT WHEN THAT DAY ARRIVES, THERE WILL BE MANY GOOD STORIES TO BE SHARED BY ALL!

64.    IN THE MEANTIME LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE A BUSY DAY AHEAD OF US.  

65.    I WAS INVITED TO PERFORM THE HONOUR OF SETTING THE DAY IN MOTION, SO WITHOUT FURTHER ADO,  I NOW HAVE GREAT PLEASURE IN OFFICIALLY DECLARING OPEN, THE UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC OPEN DAY FOR 2008!



VINAKA VAKALEVU!
DANIYA BHAD
THANK YOU.



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