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“A university management intellectually bankrupt” (20/1/2018)


A University management intellectually bankrupt (20/1/2018)

Just this morning, I was amazed to read a Fiji Times advertisement by the fifty year old University of the South Pacific requesting tenders for a “Concept and Theme Design for USP’s 2017 Annual Report.

As with most other government organizations, USP’s annual reports have become glossier and glossier, with more and more pictures, and with less and less real information.  Don’t take my word for it: read them for yourself on the USP website (before they are taken off, as have many reports before).

But why should a university which claims to be the region’s “premier university” require costly outside help for a “Concept and Theme Design” for its 2017 Annual Report.

Any concerned USP Council Member (if there is one) who cares about the misuse of taxpayer funds might want to ask the USP Vice Chancellor how much of USP’s annual budget he uses up in hiring outside consultants to do work that a “premier university” ought to have at its own command internally.

Over the last six years, what reports have they produced, at what cost and on what topic.

Whether these reports are available to staff, students and taxpayers of the region; and whether they are on the USP website for all taxpayers to see, and not just held in the cupboards of the vice chancellor.

To get some idea of what USP has sought outside help on, read through the requests for tenders here:

But don’t hold your breath for any answers from USP management.

This is not just an affliction for USP.

Fiji National University is supposed to include the former FIT supposed to be the premier technical training institution in Fiji and the Pacific in all sorts of fields.   But then, have a look at their tenders page here:

Read through the dozens of their calls for outside tender, including such complex matters such as assembly and installation of furniture, supply of desktops, renovations to existing toilet facilities, redesign of sheds etc.

The mind boggles that this premier institution, allegedly expert at providing technical training to Fiji and the region, needs outside consultants to provide services in the very areas that they claim to train students in.

Then examine all the top-heavy management staff at USP (and FNU) and ask yourself what exactly is done by all these extremely costly “managers”, deputy vice chancellors, pro vice chancellors, directors of this and that,  at these two universities, positions which did not exist at USP (and FNU) thirty years ago when USP (and FIT) was genuinely a “premier university” by any standard, verifiable through their solid non-glossy annual reports.

But not any more.

This year USP will celebrate its fiftieth birthday, no doubt with great pomp and circumstance.

It will be interesting to read what its current vice chancellor and management claims great credit for, no doubt with a glossy document prepared by, wait for it, “an outside historian/consultant” with an interesting recent history.


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