Greetings, Ni Sa Bula Vinaka, Salaam Alaykum and Namaskar.
I am greatly honoured to provide a message on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary celebrations for the University of Fiji, of which I have had the distinct pleasure of being the Chancellor for the past six years.
I wish firstly to acknowledge the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji for its vision in establishing an institution to provide high quality and affordable education for the many young women and men who, up until ten years ago, could not afford to attend tertiary education.
The Sabha’s virtuous initiative has meant that all Fijians now have access to not less than two fully locally-owned tertiary institutions that are already helping to produce a highly educated workforce. This is boding exceptionally well for Fiji as a developing nation.
I also wish to congratulate UniFiji and all its stakeholders including the administration, academic and ancillary staff, the students – both past and present – and importantly the benefactors and their respective families within Fiji and abroad.
Growing an institution of higher learning from scratch and seeing to the gradual development of infrastructure at the campuses in Saweni and Suva, the continuous recruitment of highly qualified and experienced staff, and the steady increase in student numbers – averaging 30 percent annually – among other developments, is no mean feat. These are milestone achievements of which UniFiji can be justifiably proud!
The entire nation is aware of Government’s vision to modernize Fiji through a knowledge-based society. Government continues to place unprecedented attention on the education sector. In addition to channeling increased funding, Government is also relooking at how the sector can contribute to Fiji’s socio-economic growth. Essentially, this means revolutionizing Fiji’s education system.
I have every confidence that UniFiji is positioned to be an integral player in this revolution.
I once again thank the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji for its original vision and I congratulate UniFiji on its 10th Anniversary. May the University continue to prosper in the coming years.