USP, Massey University renews MOU

The University of the South Pacific (USP) and New Zealand’s Massey University signed the renewal of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalise and standardise the relationship between the two parties for another five (5) years.

The MOU is a fruition of the efforts made by USP’s Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) under the leadership of the Dean, Dr Akanisi Kedrayate and initiated by the School of Social Sciences under the Social Work Programme.

USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra thanked the staff of the Massey University for working together with the staff of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) to see the fruition of the MOU.

Professor Chandra particularly commended the Dean of FALE, Dr Kedrayate, Associate Dean, Dr Bruce Yeates and Head of School of Social Sciences Dr James Johnson for their hard work in putting the MOU together.

“I am particularly happy that a good deal of this relationship will focus on getting accreditation for the programmes and if there is anything defining the work of the University recently, it is the focus on international benchmarking and growing USP’s reputation, and in this case, we can see some tangible outputs from this MOU,” he said.

He assured the delegation from Massey University that USP will put all its efforts into advancing the relationship with Massey University.

Massey University’s School of Social Work has a long standing history with USP’s Social Work Programme, spanning more than a decade.  It commenced in the early 2000s when a Massey team was engaged to teach a social work skills course for Fiji Department of Social Welfare workers, funded by AusAID.

Staff of Massey University had made several visits to USP’s then Department of Sociology and its staff over a period of 2-3 years. This led to the signing of the initial MOU in 2004 which was renewed in 2009.

In his address, Massey University’s Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Maori and Pasifika), Dr Selvwyn Katene acknowledged the role that USP has been playing in bringing together Pacific Island nations to advance tertiary education into the right academic essence.

He said that a major aim of the MOU is the importance of working together in collaboration, in the spirit of trust, mutual respect and great work in ways which will ensure that the two universities flourish.

“As part of the new term of MOU, both parties need to look at new and varied activities, particularly ones which will advance mankind,” Dr Katene said.

Some examples, he noted, that could be explored are sustainable resource use, being global citizens in a digital age and community resilience in times of natural disasters.

Some of the potential areas of collaboration include, course recognition and accreditation by professional bodies; collaborative teaching activities; exchanges of publications, academic materials and other information; exchanges of existing staff; student pathway arrangements; government scholarship programmes; joint application for third-party funding; professional development and other collaborative activities by agreement in writing.