3 million vatus for the EAS bachelor’s degree [fr]
Monday, 12 May, the Minister of Education, Hon. Bob Loughman, the French Ambassador to Vanuatu, Michel Djokovic and the Regional Director of AUF’s Asia-Pacific Office, Olivier Garro signed an agreement in the Parliament of Vanuatu to allocate EUR 25,000 (VUV 3.2 million) from the Pacific Fund to the undergraduate programme in Economic and Social Administration. This amount will be supplemented next week by another agreement, of equal amount, financed by the Government of New Caledonia. These two agreements are part of the larger commitments that France had undertaken in 2013 to finance the experimental phase of this project, until December 2015.
With this occasion, the Ministry of Education and the project partners have underlined the remarkable success of the project: courses started in April 2013, end of year exams in December 2013 resulted in an outstanding success rate, the quadripartite Memorandum of Agreement ensuring the sustainability of the programme in Vanuatu was signed in December 2013, the government budget was passed in the beginning of this year to allow a second cohort of students to enrol in February 2014. This second year of the programme was institutionally marked by the formation of an executive committee and also the establishment in the organisational chart of the Ministry of Education of a Department for Tertiary Education, including the positions of Academic Coordinator and Administrative Assistant for the ESA bachelor’s degree.
The French Ambassador noted that this success story was made possible by the remarkable commitment of all stakeholders: the Government of Vanuatu and the Ministry of Education in the first place, as well as the University of Toulouse 1 Capitole, the Francophone University Agency (AUF) thanks to its dynamism in Vanuatu, through Ms Catherine Petillon, but also in the Asia-Pacific Regional Office, through Mr Olivier Garro, and last but not least, the team effort of the French Embassy in Vanuatu.
Some exciting prospects have been put forth, such as an exchange programme for third year students (whereby 5 Ni-Vanuatu students would go to Toulouse, in France, to complete their third year, with scholarships from the Government of Vanuatu and from AUF, which would pay for flights and insurance) and putting the whole content online by 2015 so that this francophone bachelor’s degree in ESA truly becomes accessible to professionals wanting to continue their education.
The ‘Pacific Fund’, a fund for the economic, social and cultural cooperation in the Pacific, is France’s main instrument for regional cooperation in the South Pacific. Supplementing bilateral cooperation agreements (joint committee), this fund is reserved for regional actions aiming at strengthening the partnership between French Territorial Collectivities in the South Pacific (New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna) and Pacific countries.