USP defies distance with link-up

May 26, 2000

The University of the South Pacific has launched a multimillion-dollar communications project linking students in its 12 member states.

USPNet2000 is probably unique because of the area it covers and the number of countries involved. USP is one of only two regional universities in the world.

Three donor countries - Australia, Japan and New Zealand - have donated F$9 million (Pounds 2.8 million). A further F$2 million has come from USP's 12 member countries.

USPNet will allow students to participate in audio tutorials from any campus, take part in video conferences and tutoring from the Laucala campus and watch live transmissions of lectures from any of three main campuses in Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu.

Students will also be able to use the network to communicate by telephone, fax or email with lecturers and other students.

The USP communications network was set up in 1974 to support the university's distance-education programme. With its member states scattered across thousands of square kilometres of ocean and a commitment to decentralise the university, it was necessary to find a way to enhance students' access to tertiary education.

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