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Old 23-02-2003, 12:54 AM
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New Agreement Between Australia and the University of the South Pacific


AA 03 008 21 Feb 2003
New Agreement Between Australia and the University of the South Pacific

The Australian Government is contributing a further $9 million to the University of the South Pacific to allow it to expand its education and training programs.

Under a new Memorandum of Understanding being signed today, Australia will provide $3 million a year for the next three years in core funding and to help the University build up its work in the areas of governance, teacher training and distance education.

'This program is expected to have a significant impact in raising the quality of primary education in the Pacific,' the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Gallus said.

'In the area of governance, the university will establish a Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Governance and Development. Promoting good governance in the region is a significant priority for the university.

'Australia's funding will also enable the university to deliver a full Bachelor's degree in primary education by distance education. This will allow practising teachers living in Pacific island nations to upgrade their skills in their home countries.

In addition, Australia's funding will be used to support a three-year program aimed at assisting the university reform its distance education programs in the Pacific,' Mrs Gallus said.

This program is linked to the Virtual Colombo Plan which is a joint effort by Australia and the World Bank to bridge the growing gap between countries that are information-rich and those that are information-poor, through the use of new technologies.

'Money invested in education is generally money well spent. More and more regional leaders in government, business and the professions are graduates of the university. This is a very good example of regional cooperation,' Mrs Gallus said.

The University of the South Pacific has its main campus in Suva, Fiji, with smaller campuses in Samoa and Vanuatu. It operates distance education centres in nine other countries in the region. Australia has been supporting the University since 1968.

Alex Knox (Office of Mrs Gallus) 02 6277 4840 / 0411 287 257
Jo Elsom (AusAID) 02 6206 4960 or 0412 804 489
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