THE Government yesterday has signed a historic land lease agreement with the University of the South Pacific (USP)
which will now give way for the construction of the University’s fourth Campus in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
USP’s Vice Chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra and Solomon Islands Commissioner of Lands signed the transfer agreement in Honiara this afternoon following a one day tripartite meeting comprising representatives of the Solomon Islands Government, the USP and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The Asian Development is financing the project with a loan of US$15 million through the University of the South Pacific. The Solomon Islands Government will provide other necessary support including site clearance and tax exemption on construction equipment and materials from brought in from overseas. USP will provide additional support through staffing to implement the project onsite.
Solomon Islands Minister for Education and Human Resources Development, Hon. Dr Derek Sikua said the Honiara Campus which will be built on a Government leased land adjacent to King George Sixth School will host a regional school of Public Health and other degree courses.
Vice Chancellor Professor Chandra said the USP is hoping to establish four large clusters to be hosted by the campus.
These will include Public Health, a Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment, a Faculty of Arts, Law and Education and a Faculty of Business and Economics.
“One of the justifications of developing this campus is to give Solomon Islands students the option of studying in-country for their first degree here and that is going to be a big saving for the Solomon Islands Government,” said Professor Chandra.
Education Minister Dr Derek Sikua said once the campus is operational, the Government would save money in terms of sending students to other regional campuses overseas for their first degree training.
Solomon Islands currently have approximately 850 students studying at Laucala Campus in Suva with an additional 300 at other regional campuses around Fiji.
Meanwhile, the proposed site at Doma in Northwest Guadalcanal will be used for a long term development plan to build a school of medicine which will later host the Faculty of Public Health.
The tripartite meeting will conclude in Honiara tomorrow.
Source: GCU, press release