TAHITI UNIVERSITY WELCOMES 2,500 STUDENTS

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Job placement a priority of university

PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Aug. 26, 2008) – The University of French Polynesia has begun a new year with 2,500 students and a slogan: "Make your diploma a passport to employment".

During ceremonies welcoming new and returning students, prizes of 250,000 French Pacific francs (US$3,145) each were presented to the top 10 undergraduates who are now beginning graduate studies. The prizes were presented by 10 local companies as part of a new program to encourage further studies.

The ceremonies were held Monday in the big amphitheater of the university on the Outumaoro campus in the hillside of Tahiti's west coast Commune of Punaauia. The university has grown from 109 students when it was inaugurated in 1992 to today's 2,500.

Welcoming speeches were made by Louise Peltzer, the university's president, and Steve Chailloux, the student vice president on the university's board of directors. Seated in the front row were the representatives of the 10 local companies who sponsored the graduates from the 2007-2008 school year.

Some 1,200, or nearly half, of this year's students are beginning their first year of studies at the university. There are 360 new students in the economy-management sector, 200 in the law sector, 100 in the science sector, which includes mathematics and physics, French language daily newspaper Les Nouvelles de Tahiti (LNDT) reported Tuesday.

In the social science sector, there are 160 new students studying "re ma'ohi", or Tahiti's Polynesian languages, 160 studying history, 80 studying geography, more than 100 studying English, 90 studying modern languages and 30 studying the arts, LNDT reported.

The new university year also includes two master's degree subjects with 30 law students specializing in economic activities and some 10 students specializing in traditional Pacific society studies. Other new studies this year include a third year of biology and a third year of computer science studies.

During her welcoming speech, University President Peltzer told the students, "beyond research and education, which are the fundamental tasks of any university, our institution has made job placement a priority for its students; for what will a diploma serve if it does not lead to a job?"

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