The news last week of the University of the South Pacific ranked as one of the top 10% of world universities is “A big win for regionalism, a big win for our alumni and a big win for the 12 governments who own us and the donor community. They can see that the money they have invested in us is justified. We are producing the quality of academics and the quality of our students are really world-class now.”
BCN News spoke via Zoom with USP Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Pal Ahluwalia on Thursday last week about the Times Higher Education of World University Ranking for 2022.
Professor Ahluwalia explained that there are a number of factors that influence the ranking which involves a vigorous and independent process, about 50% of the ranking is dependent on the citations and the work of the university’s academic staff.
“You can’t actually get into the ranking unless you meet the threshold of at least a thousand publications over a period of five years.”
If you take into account the number of universities in Africa, Asia in China, you can see the fact that USP is being ranked is really a remarkable achievement.”
Professor Pal said that trying to get USP into the World Rankings has been an ambition of his since taking up the role as Vice-Chancellor of the university in 2019.
“It was an ambition right from the beginning when joining USP. It’s an ambition we talked about with the students at the meeting in the Cook Islands when you were there, I said we must get into world rankings, and to be able to realise it is a testament to all USP staff”.
When asked if he sees this ranking as vindication of his strong position to ensure good governance prevails at the university, Professor Ahluwalia said that it’s more a vindication for the Council for their belief in him to reinstate him as Vice-Chancellor and President of USP.
“Regardless of what the ranking has done, if this ranking is anything, its vindication of the Councils’ belief in me as a Vice-Chancellor and for that, I’m really grateful to Council and I’m really grateful to all the countries that so strongly supported me. So I see this really as vindication, not for me but vindication of Council for its position.”
The news couldn’t have come at a better time for the sixty-four graduands of the USP Niue campus who will be receiving their qualifications at a graduation ceremony on October 22nd.
Professor Ahluwalia said that he will be joining the graduation via Zoom from Nauru where he and his wife Sandra are still based awaiting their move to Samoa where he will be based from Alafua campus.
The picture is of Professor Pal Ahluwalia and Esther Pavihi in the Cook Islands in March 2019 for the Student’s representative body, the USPSA Federal Council meeting.