OREANDA-NEWS. November 05, 2015. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and development partners joined the President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, today to officially open the newly renovated Tarawa campus of the University of the South Pacific (USP).

President Tong, the Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Rajesh Chandra, and ADB Pacific Department Director, Emma Veve, all spoke at the inauguration event. The campus has been upgraded under the Higher Education in the Pacific Investment Program, financed by ADB through a loan to USP.

“The much improved campus will help Kiribati’s growing youth population prepare for the workforce by providing them with better access to quality education and training,” said ADB’s Emma Veve at the event. 

The Kiribati campus development forms the first part of a larger program, funded by a \\$19 million loan package to USP, which will be implemented over 8 years. A \\$3.6 million loan, guaranteed by the Government of Kiribati, supported civil works and information and communication technology-enhanced classrooms on the Kiribati campus. This included the construction of additional classrooms, an information and communication technology studio, and student and administrative facilities.

Enrolment in higher education in the Pacific region remains low, with rates ranging from 10% in Fiji to less than 5% in most other Pacific island countries. There are some 3,000 Kiribati students enrolled at USP, and the number has been increasing, but lack of physical capacity and limited academic programs at the campus have hindered opportunities for boosting quality higher education.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled \\$22.9 billion, including co-financing of \\$9.2 billion.