Programme sought for Solomons USP campus
The University of the South Pacific and the Solomon Islands government set their sights on 2018 to complete the $15million US dollar campus.
Marine Studies, Public Health and Vocational Skills Training are some of the potential regional anchor programmes being considered for the University of the South Pacific's 15 million dollar campus in Solomon Islands.
The USP's other offshore campuses with regional anchor programmes include the law school in Vanuatu and agriculture in Samoa.
The USP's vice chancellor, Rajesh Chandra was in Solomon Islands last week presenting a report on the project to the new Solomons government.
He told Koroi Hawkins he is pleased with the level of support for the project.
RAJESH CHANDRA: Well the new campus is actually a very large undertaking and green field side and it will have a regional anchor programme together with whatever we are doing at the moment.
KOROI HAWKINS: Do you have a couple of options that you're looking at? Either like three or four different disciplines. I know that in the past Solomon Islands wanted the School of Marine to be here but that's been moved somewhere else.
RC: Yes, while I think while there was interest in the School of Marine Studies which was already in Suva and had very large investment there, so that was not feasible at that time which will now be returned to Solomon Islands. One option we have been thinking about is public health but I don't want to make it sound like it is the only option. There is interest here in technical and vocational education and there may well be interest in other areas. So right now the position is that we have a taskforce that will do more consultation within Solomon Islands and will undertake consultation within the region and then agree on something that really makes sense both to the Solomon Islands and to the rest of the member countries.
KH: And the institution itself. Who's going to fund it? How much is it going to cost? Have you acquired the land? Where is all that at?
RC: Well we have acquired land of just over 200 acres at Doma, and we have secured funding in the way of soft loans from the Asian Development Bank. The main issues we have to work through are 'how do we take services there?,' such as electricity, water and sewerage services and basically do a lot more work around the academic plan and there will have to be some market studies of labour needs as well as a feasibility study of the new campus and basically all the parties are working together on getting clarity on when the services would reach there and what timeline we can have for the completion of the campus. My discussions here have given a very strong commitment to have the campus completed by 2018, which will also be the year in which we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the university.
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