The University of the South Pacific has finally received a final loan approval of USD$15.4 million for the development of its fourth Campus in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
The final Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan approval was received on 21st October 2016.
“We received the final approval of USD 15.4m loan by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) President on 21 October 2016,” the University (USP) Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra said in an email cited by Solomon Today Post.
He said, the three different agreements (Loan Agreement between ADB and USP; Guarantee Agreement between ADB and Solomon Islands Government (SIG); and Grant Agreement between ADB and USP) will be signed on 3 November (today) in the presence of our Council members at the Council Meeting.
“Furthermore, ADB after consultation with USP has shortlisted six firms following the call for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for the Architectural, Engineering Services and Construction Supervision consultancy.
“These firms have been invited to submit their Request for Proposal (RFP) which is expected to close on 2 December 2016,” Professor Chandra said.
Professor Chandra said, he is pleased with the progress they are making with the Solomon Islands Campus and following the signing at the Council meeting and they hope for expeditious implementation.
Solomon Islands former Minister for Education and Human Resources Development, Dr Derek Sikua during the signing of the historic land lease agreement between SIG and the USP last year in Honiara 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 at that time 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.
It is understood that 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.
By STEPHEN DIISANGO