FIJI BENEFITS MOST FROM USP: SIWATIBAU

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By Arthur McCutchan

SUVA, Fiji (June 8, 1998 - Fiji Times/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Pro-Chancellor and head of the University of the South Pacific Council, Savenaca Siwatibau, says the smaller island nations being served by the university feel that Fiji benefits most from it, the Fiji Times reports.

"We had a meeting of the university's governing body in Tonga last month and that was what they said," he said.

The fight last month in front of the Le Flamingo nightclub in Vanuatu dredged up the issue of the location of the law school.

The Vanuatu Trading Post newspaper reported on June 3 that it had been known for awhile that lobbying had increased in Fiji to move the region's law school to Suva because of the large number of Fiji students studying there.

Mr. Siwatibau said Fiji had the most members in USP's governing body.

"That body made a collective decision to have the school in Vanuatu in the interests of regionalism."

He said experience of regionalism in other parts of the world had shown that most of the benefits of such an arrangement tended to go to the largest country.

"It should be in Fiji's interest to cement regionalism and one way to do that is to see the arrangements for the university is fair to all, particularly to the smaller members," Mr. Siwatibau said.

"If Fiji is seen as monopolizing all the benefits it will weaken the glue that holds us together and all this will do is ensure that the agreement will not last.

"Our leaders should understand this - it is a simple thing."

Mr. Siwatibau said that unless the Vanuatu Government said it did not want the law school, there was no chance that it would be relocated.

"The law school is in Vanuatu and in Vanuatu it will stay," he said.

Head of the school of law on Emalus campus, Professor Bob Hughes, said a computer study system being developed would soon make the location of the school irrelevant.

"What we have being doing is developing course materials on the Internet so in future students can study law no matter where they are."

All materials, including course notes written by the lecturers, would be made available through computer.

"Shortly after that we will integrate voice technology so not only will the students be able to read all they want, they will also be able to hear the lecturer talk," Prof. Hughes said.

Title -- 1442 EDUCATION: Fiji 'benefits most from university Date -- 8 June 1998 Byline -- Arthur McCutchan Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Fiji Times, 8/6/98 Copyright -- Fiji Times Status – Unabridged

This document is for educational and personal use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source for reprinting. This PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific, and Journalism Studies, University of PNG.

Please acknowledge Niuswire: niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.pactok.net.au/docs/nius/

FIJI DECIDES AGAINST PULLING OUT USP-VANUATU LAW STUDENTS

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (June 9, 1998 - Radio Australia)---Fiji's Minister of Education, Taufa Vakatale, has announced that Fijian students will not be withdrawn from the University of the South Pacific Law School in Vanuatu.

The statement comes after the Fiji Cabinet considered withdrawing Fijian students following a brawl and reports of harassment amid pressure to move the Law School to the University's main campus in Fiji.

Mrs. Vakatale met Vanuatu Prime Minister Donald Kalpokas and Education Minister Joe Natuman in Port Vila today, to discuss the situation at the Law School.

Mrs. Vakatale also met leaders of the local Fijian community, and said she had been re-assured by these discussions.

The Fiji Government sponsors about 20 Fijian students at the Law School.

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