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SPC Community Education Centre Training Programme formally handed over to USP

11 November 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and University of the South Pacific (USP), Suva – A letter of agreement was signed at the Laucala campus of the University of the South Pacific (USP) this morning by USP Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra and SPC Director-General Dr Jimmie Rodgers, officially marking the closure of SPC’s Community Education Training Centre (CETC) and its formal acceptance by USP.

 
People wishing to pursue community development courses can now do so at USP. CETC specialised in targeted community development training and best practices to meet the unique needs of women, youth and community enterprises. Since its establishment in 1963, it has graduated over fifteen hundred women from Pacific Island counties and territories. During the signing, Professor Chandra said that USP, under its Strategic Plan 2013–2018, has a strong focus on regional and community engagement, which is an identified key priority area over the course of the Strategic Plan. 
He said he is confident about the handover and indicated that USP had the right expertise in its School of Social Sciences and the Centre for Vocational and Continuing Education (CVCE), the two sections of USP that will take over the CETC Programme, to ensure quality delivery of the courses. Professor Chandra said that continued partnership between the two institutions would benefit the region immensely, with USP being the premier provider of higher education and research in the region and SPC being the principal technical and scientific organisation, working in a wide range of areas – public health, geoscience, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and education, among others. He assured SPC that USP would do its best to deliver the programme well and be conscious of the expectations of stakeholders.

SPC Director-General Dr Jimmie Rodgers said they were grateful for the programmes’ continuity and he was sure it would be in good hands. He said that one advantage of the handover is that USP has a wider reach in the region and, once put online, even more people would be able to access it than hitherto. 'USP is our institution, it belongs to the region and we have a common agenda of capacity building in the Pacific. USP can add value to the programme by not only accepting but expanding on it,' he said. He said that some CETC graduates had successfully practised the knowledge they acquired from the CETC programme and made a name for themselves, such as the woman who set up the only garment factory in Kiribati.

An external review of SPC in 2012 recommended that the CETC training programme would be better located in a national or regional institution with a training mandate. USP agreed to take on the programme and 2013 was spent in deciding how and where at USP the programme could best be incorporated, as well as on the phasing out requirements to meet USP’s own programme approval processes. 

Specifically, the foundation level components of the CETC courses form a new Certificate in Community Development to be offered by USP’s Centre for Vocational and Continuing Education (CVCE); and the higher level components are integrated to strengthen the existing Diploma and Bachelor in Social and Community Work, currently offered by the School of Social Sciences in their Faculty of Arts, Law and Education at USP.  

The Certificate programme provides a pathway to the Diploma and Degree programmes, especially those offered by the School of Social Sciences, and a pathway also to the joint USP-SPC Diploma programme in Human Rights offered by the Faculty of Business and Economics. It is anticipated that the new programme at CVCE and the new units in the Diploma programme will be offered in 2014 in the blended mode.

The Letter of Agreement is part of a broader MOU signed between these two organisations to work closely together to maximise development outcomes of their shared membership and reduce duplication and inefficiencies in their service delivery within their respective mandates.

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