The VISP is a cohort teaching model developed by the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) to enable science teachers, mature students and freshman the opportunity to complete their science degree from their local campus.
The event was attended by the Prime Minister of Vanuatu Charlot Salwai, Minister of Education and Training Jean Pierre Nirua, Speaker of Parliament Esmon Saimon, Pro Chancellor and Chair of USP Council Mr Winston Thompson, Members of Parliament, Members of Diplomatic Corps, Representatives of Private Sectors and NGOs, USP staff from Emalus and Laucala campuses and the VISP cohort.
Pro Chancellor Mr Winston Thompson in his opening speech stated that the University is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and this successful journey has been “possible through the partnership and support of the 12 member countries and development partners”.
He further added that USP will continue to deliver more face to face programmes to regional campuses and through programmes such as the Science Teachers Accelerated programme; STAP for short and the In-country Science Programme, the University’s vision will be possible. Emalus Campus becomes the third regional campus to adopt the cohort based science programme.
The Prime Minister Honorable Charlot Salwai believes that the upskilling and upgrading of qualifications of science teachers will improve science in schools. He added that not only will the programme enable more Ni-Vanuatu aspiring scientists to enroll into education institutions; eventually they will serve their country in specific science disciplines.
The Government of Vanuatu in its efforts to motivate more students to take up science has pledged 80 scholarships which will greatly benefit in-service teachers teaching science across Vanuatu. This initiative is further supported by the University by providing every student enrolled under VISP a free Tablet to facilitate and support learning.
The Prime Minister together with the Pro Chancellor presented the VISP cohort their certificates, student packs and tablets.
In addition, FSTE also unveiled the VISP Mobile App which was specifically designed for students in the programme. The mobile app complements the use of the tablets as it will further support the learning and teaching of VISP students.
The Minister of Education and Training Hon. Jean Nirua congratulated the students that were selected for the VISP and encouraged students to “make the most of this opportunity, successfully complete your studies and impart your science knowledge to school students, raise the awareness of the need for more scientists in our country and region and also motivate them to pursue science-related professional careers in the future”.
The Honorable Minister then concluded the launch by acknowledging the efforts of the Pro Chancellor Mr Thompson, Associate Professor, Dr Bibhya Sharma and his team from Laucala Campus, the Emalus Campus Director Mr Ruben Markward and his team, the Emalus Campus Science Coordinator Dr Krishna Kotra, and his team at the Ministry of Education and Training for bringing VISP to reality.
The VISP cohort will attend a preparatory workshop which will be conducted from 25th of June till the 6th of July. The workshop will be facilitated by FSTE’s Student Learning Specialists together with USP Emalus staff with an array of topics that will greatly assist and prepare students for their academic programme which begins in semester two.