University of the South Pacific

Warning over USP stand-off

The fallout between the university's governing body, the USP Council, and the head office host nation, Fiji, came to the fore following the deportation of the Vice-Chancellor and President (VCP) three weeks ago.

Pal Ahluwalia and his wife, nursing lecturer Sandra Price, were forced to leave Fiji after the government claimed the couple had breached provisions in their work permits.

USP Chancellor and Nauru President Lionel Aingimea has condemned the removal of the Canadian-born academic.

Vanuatu willing to take in Ahluwalia

This was the word from Vanuatu Prime Minister Bob Loughman.

He publicly declared that the USP Emalus Campus in Vanuatu was ready to host Prof Ahluwalia after his forceful removal from Fiji earlier this month.

Mr Loughman said Vanuatu as one of the 12-member countries was willing to give a work permit and prepare to host Prof Ahluwalia.

He called on other USP member countries who were not pleased with the shenanigans to voice their opinions to the council. Mr Loughman also called on the Fijian Government to work with the USP Council and management.

USP staff seek second legal option on VCP's removal

The Canadian-born academic and his wife were deported two weeks ago after the government claimed they had breached of the Immigration Act.

This week, the Association of the USP and the USP Staff Union opted to seek a second legal opinion on Professor Ahluwalia's deportation and his employment contract.

The unions' move comes after Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told Parliament the advice from the USP's lawyers indicated 'Professor Ahluwalia's contract had been deemed to be terminated because of the revocation of his work permit'.

University of the South Pacific to be smoke-free in 2021

In a message to staff and students this week the USP's senior management said starting on New Year's Day campus security will enforce the decision.

It said those who failed to comply with the new rule would be fined about $US24.

The university said the decision included a transition period so the necessary preparations such as signage could be in place by January, 2021.

However, the new rule excludes staff residences on campus.

USP crisis continues as Fiji govt halts funding

This comes after months of conflict at the regional institution between the governing council and the university management.

Fiji had allocated almost $US13 million in grants to the university for the current financial year.

Last week, the Chancellor and Nauru President Lionel Aingimea called for a special council meeting to determine the fate of two senior executives.

Mr Thompson held a press conference earlier this month and said he had accepted the decision by the council to exonerate Vice Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia of misconduct allegations.

Call for allegations against USP vice chancellor to be addressed

Vice-Chancellor Pal Ahluwalia was suspended earlier this month by the university's executive committee over alleged malpractice, but he was resinstated after weeks of protest when the university council ruled due process had not been followed.

Mahmood Khan, who is the chair of the USP's Audit and Risk Committee, told the FBC he had compiled a report with 33 allegations against Mr Ahluwalia, although the FBC report didn't detail them.

Academic disputes China debt claims

The Head of School and Director Politics and International Affairs, Dr. Sandra Tarte, outlined this when speaking to journalists at the Pacific Journalists Dialogue at the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) in Suva.

Dr. Tarte said this was not an initial Chinese government strategy and the current perception of the Asian powerhouse as an economic colonizer in the Pacific stems from the actions of Chinese firms, rather than the government.

USP appoints new VC and President

The decision was made during the 86th Council meeting of the University in Nauru last month.

Professor Ahluwalia will formally take up his new role as VC&P in November 2018.

This will allow for a smooth transition and handover process from USP’s current Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra, whose term comes to an end in December 2018.

Professor Chandra served as USP’s Vice-Chancellor and President for a maximum term of ten years.

USP’s IT Diploma gets NZ recognition

 Skills International NZ is the largest employer body in New Zealand that advises accredited industry standards to NZQA.

This means that this programme is comparable to New Zealand Qualification Authority’s (NZQA) relevant Diploma in IT.

Director Pacific TAFE, Mr Hasmukh Lal said, “This is yet another achievement for Pacific TAFE in terms of international validation.”

ADB stands ready to support Pacific Regionalism key priorities

President Nakao made the statement Friday in his public lecture at the University of the South Pacific on “Pacific Islands: Development Opportunities and policies priorities.

“ADB recognises the diversity of the Pacific. The region has over 800 languages. Pacific Island economies are very different. But a regional approach to common challenges can benefit all.

“Pacific Island leaders will be discussing a new framework for Pacific regionalism at the Forum Leaders meeting in Port Moresby in early September. ADB stands ready to support their key priorities,” he stressed.