Tuesday, 13 March 2012 8:54 AM

Response to the USP issue

Establishment of 4th Campus, a view well taken, but when we come to look at it, is it time that we start with our own campus. I agree alot with the views that is expressed by having a USP campus in Solomon Islands. However, we on the other hand need to asses the fact that we are growing and there will come a time we need to establish our own. Let me allude to your view, of why the FNU is still using the USP logo under most of its schools. If you recall FNU was recently established. Thus, 'it is still going through its transition phase', it will take time but the honest thing is that it will eventually have its own logo and will eventually gain its recognition. Now I see the disagrement by everyone as genuine in their love for USP but, let us look on the pros and cons of having our own very own University. The USP has always been a part of Solomon Islands and it will always be there. What we need to look through is a diffrent lens on how we can still operate with all this educational institutes available to all of the citizens of Solomon Islands. I must be honest that I am a supporter of having our own university. Simply for 2 reasons:

1) Currently, the Solomon Islands governmet has approximately 900 SIG funded students in Fiji and and probable 200-300 in Vanuatu and Samoa. Now this figures are increasing each year and financially this is a turmoil on our government. We must also understand that a number of good students (100+) who scored a GPA of 3.00 and above were not selected because funds were short and so MEHRD had to do selective cuts on the top ones only. Now this only implies that these 100 were not failures but simply not budgeted for. Thus, in terms of finance, I say we are pumping in alot of money into education for our children simultaneously, helping the economy of Fiji grow with this students. Since, SIG spends aproximately FJD$4 million per year on allowance for all students to spend in Fiji, you add that to tuition fees and accommodations and you should have a good figure of how much we spend a year to Fiji. However, in the name of investment one can say, it is a good investment but again, I'd like to ask why cannot we do this at home? Where we can also avoid those students not selected because of selections and not because they failed.

2) The issue of land, the Panatina Land is a SICHE land and has been the pride of Solomon Islands education system. If any University was to take over that school it should be a National University. I agree with you that having a credible institution will take time, but from my understanding SICHE has had relationships with Waikato University (NZ), UPNG and recently a relationship with Kwantlen Polytec University (Canada). Now to me this are all potential allies when we think of establishing our own University. It will take time but will eventually get there if we work closely with this relationships in establishing a national university. For the pride of the country and to avoid sending alot of students abroad when we can train them at home.

Now all this does not imply that we will get rid of USP, we can still support USP and send our students their to undertake programs not offered by our University or better still the govt can foster a relationship with USP on exchange programs. So you see, to me the idea of establishing a University is not one of getting rid of USP but one of establishing cooperation amongst the institutions of the region to enhance the education of individuals within the region. USP has always been a premier University and nothing will change that, even having our own University will not change that, but it is time that we have our own and USP should assist us in establishing one if it wants education for all in the region at the highest level a priority.

Thank you and hope you all see my sense of patriotism.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Travis Javis and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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