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Making tertiary education easier

Friday 21 October 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Education, National

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Making tertiary education easier
Last year Tereora college students Zhera Vunibaka (left) Josifini Wong and Shalom Moetaua are keen to continue with further education next year. 22102007

Tereora College final year students Shalom Vunibaka, Josifini Wong and Zhera Moetaua were among those who attended the University of the South Pacific (USP) open day at its Cook Islands campus in Takamoa, Avarua yesterday.

“Our teacher Mrs Barrett encouraged us to come here after school to listen to what USP has to offer, studying from here and not having to move overseas sounds good too,” said Moetaua.

All three students would like to continue further education next year and were excited to see and listen to what USP has to offer.

The regional university opened its doors to students from the Pacific Islands in 1968 at its main campus in Laucala bay, Suva, Fiji. It offers students the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education within the region.

Since then over 800 Cook Islands students have graduated from USP, including 114 students who celebrated their academic achievements with a graduation ceremony at the National Auditorium last year.

USP Cook Islands campus director, Dr Debi Futter-Puati, who opened the open day event, expressed the benefits of studying from home.

“For NCEA students, USP can pre-approve your study for next year – subject to your NCEA results coming out – so if you are still at school, USP can pre-approve your study and enroll you now so that you are ready for next year,” noted Futter-Puati.

And if a student does not have enough level 2 or 3 credits, they can undertake a preliminary business, arts and science course (same as level 2) or a foundation course in business, arts and science.

“These qualifications give you entry into university with USP or at New Zealand universities.”

Members of the Cook Islands USP Students Association including president Stephanie Vaiimene and colleagues shared their experiences of studying from home.

University of the South Pacific Students Association (USPSA) president and Cook Islander Mani Mate delivered a presentation on the student body organisation.

“The vision of USPSA is achieving the best experience possible for students as they navigate through university,” said Mate.

With a membership of over 30,000 across 14 campuses (including international student member), the USPSA is supported by 12 Pacific Island countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

USP offers courses in finance, economics, accounting, marine science, the arts, history, Cook Islands Māori language, education, geography, Pacific studies, Law, climate change, social work, counselling, politics, development, fisheries and more.