The University of the South Pacific will today open its new campus in the Marshall Islands.
The $US2 million campus is situated in a renovated section of the Long Island Hotel in Majuro which had previously been acquired by the Marshall Islands government.
The government contributed $US 500,000 to the renovations while the USP provided the balance.
The USP’s vice chancellor Rajesh Chandra who is in Marshall Islands this week for the opening spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the Long Island campus.
RAJESH CHANDRA: This is a very important component of our regional campus strategy because this is the main campus in Northern Pacific. The previous campus was a temporary campus with always the view that a new modern campus would be built. So we had difficulty in having enough classrooms, we had to split our operations at two places and essentially the learning environment in terms of computer lab, science lab, quality of staff offices that was not the kind that we want fitted into the university’s branding of being an excellent university.
KOROI HAWKINS: And how many students will that service?
RC: Well it has the capacity to serve over 1000 students at the moment we have around 500 students. So it will allow for all of the current ones and a good amount of future expansion for the students and we have still a lot of capacity because we have renovated only one building of three buildings.
KH: Within the same complex.
RC: Yes so the hotel has three large buildings and we have taken the one that meets the academic requirements and the other two buildings one is being used as a convention hall and the other building is being used for some accommodation.
KH: Right so you have potential for even further expansion if need be?
RC: Yes, significant, I mean it was a fully functioning Long Island Hotel with the beach and right on the water so probably the most beautiful of all our campuses.
KH: Now you mentioned on the way to Marshalls you stopped off in Kiribati to look at campuses there. Where else in the region are you, is your push to establish further campuses going on?
RC: So we currently have 12 members and we already operate 14 campuses. Of these places we have a desperate need for a new campus in Solomon Islands and so there we have taken a soft loan from the Asian Development Bank and we have given out the engineering design and building to provision contract to the engineers their and that is the biggest project that is underway at the moment in terms of campuses. And in Nauru a new campus is being funded as part of the Australian funded land village, that will be ready sometime in October.
(Source: Radio New Zealand [RNZ] 23 May 2017)