Education Critical for the Development of the Pacific Region
“Education is fundamental to development and growth and all countries, regardless of their national wealth, stand to
gain from more and better quality education.”
This was the sentiment expressed by His Excellency Baron Divavesi Waqa, the President of Nauru during the Nauru
Government’s State Dinner for the Chancellor of The University of the South Pacific (USP) and President of Fiji, His
Excellency Major General (Ret’d) Jioji Konusi Konrote, members of USP Council and Forum Education Ministers on 24 May
2018 at the Menen Hotel in Nauru.
H.E Baron Waqa, acknowledged the hard work of the staff of USP for their dedication in making USP an institute of
excellence, “which we all can proudly call, our university.”
He congratulated the University on its 50th Anniversary and also congratulated the USP Council members for the
successful meeting in Nauru. He further thanked the University for hosting the Forum Education Ministers Meeting at the
new and excellent USP Nauru Campus.
H.E Baron Waqa highlighted that robust education systems – underpinned by qualified, professionally trained, motivated,
and well supported teachers – is critical to all development needs over the short and long term.
“Having quality teachers is absolutely important and teaching is a profession sometimes taken for granted. However,
teaching as a profession is a noble undertaking because a career as a teacher is so important to the development of the
future of any country and its most important resource - its children,” H.E Baron Waqa said.
He added that an ideal education is a balanced education, where development was not restricted to the intellectual
skills, but also development of character and personality.
The development of our education systems and the building of capacity across the Pacific, H.E Baron Waqa said, has been
the regions underpinning priority over the last 50 years, at time when the waves of political independence swept through
the Pacific region.
“Governments and donors have invested heavily in infrastructure and in developing the policies and best practises for
educating our children since then,” he stated.
H.E Major General Konrote in acknowledgement of the State Dinner highlighted that it was a wonderful coincidence that
both Nauru and USP are celebrating 50 years of existence together.
“One as an independent and sovereign nation State and the other as an institution of higher learning, which is now one
of the largest and successful regional institutions in the world! What remarkable achievements,” H.E Major General
As Chancellor of USP, H.E Major General Konrote extended an invitation to H.E Baron Waqa to visit Fiji and share Nauru’s
success story with USP and through the University, to the rest of the world.
“It is important for you to tell your nation’s story for the benefit of the young people not only here in Nauru, but
also throughout the Pacific and beyond.”
H.E Major General Konrote said it is critical the leaders and Governments in the Pacific continue to encourage “our
children to pursue higher and quality education so that we can determine our destinies with a great degree of certainty
“An intellectual mind, coupled with Godly wisdom and a benevolent heart, will take our Island nations well into the
future,” he said.