I feel enormously privileged for having been given the opportunity to be the fourth Vice Chancellor of the University of Seychelles. This role is about realizing the potential of higher education, scholarship and training in order to respond to the various socio-economic challenges. UniSey, in spite of being a small and new university has to align its resources and mission to take a new role in the development of Seychelles. The University will soon be 10 years old. Even if for another 10 years or so, we will still be operating under the ‘new university’ status, we will certainly not be forgiven for failing in our mission. Therefore, we will have to demonstrate that we can be new and excellent at the same time, and that we do not need to be 150 years old to produce world class graduates.
I am leading an agenda of making the realisation of a university in Seychelles, a national project. By this I mean that we need everyone to make UniSey work. We need all stakeholders to accommodate the existence of the university by aligning their policies and practices to make things happen. Some organizations have to recalibrate their routines, re-adjust their schedules because after all, we are addressing manpower needs, directly preparing workers to serve this wonderful nation. I will be devoting a considerable amount of my time, working with other key stakeholders in achieving this mission of turning the Seychelles’ university project into a national project. Furthermore, and this has to be said very loud. UniSey trains professionals for Seychelles and all our graduates remain and work in the local workforce. Secondly, all of our graduates who have gone on overseas training, have come back. They are now occupying good position in their respective organizations and some of them are even assisting us as associate lecturers. So here at UniSey, we are taking this venture as a national project and we would like everyone else, in government as well as private sector to embrace this project for our beloved country.
A second element of my agenda is to increase students’ access to higher education. I subscribe to the ideology of at least one graduate per household and I exert all efforts towards the realisation of this target. Since UniSey opened it’s doors, we have seen newer categories of students getting access to tertiary education. Under the previous arrangement, many of these excellent students would have never got a degree. The arrival of UniSey has changed the landscape and we need to acknowledge this. Currently, students from all professional centres can aspire to undertake a first and/or postgraduate degree. Here at UniSey, we are re-looking at our menu and we are working with stakeholders for the creation of scholarships or bursaries, which will ultimately lead to more student enrolment.
A third element of my agenda, is to build a consortium of local scholars, so that people who have a vested interest in the University will have a forum for sharing and contributing ideas. The think-tank must be here. The interdisciplinary research conference which I helped introduce last year, seeks to achieve this aim. UniSey is now in a very good position to spearhead national debates. All our research institutes were created to bring together not only people from UniSey, but also local and international scholars, to come up with solutions for addressing local and regional challenges.
Fourthly, I seek to promote an agenda of building connections. We need partners to share experiences and visions, and promote what we seek to achieve. In other words, we need partners in order to grow. I wish to use my opportunity as the Vice Chancellor to strengthen our partnerships, both locally and abroad, while at the same time encouraging associates of this university to look for partners as well. We seek to partner with others to answer critical questions and surmount complicated challenges. As we strive to maintain the existing partnerships, we seek to team up with new organisations across the globe. We want our students to acquire a world class experience when they participate in our learning programmes. Needless to say, we are equally committed to supporting students towards achieving their academic goals. We have the utmost responsibility to advance students’ interest and ambitions. We believe in quality education and we are committed to educate and train all students, giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. We seek to groom workplace leaders and stimulate in them, the ideas that provide solutions to the most challenging problems. Our graduates must be problem solvers and innovators. And in order to achieve all these wonderful objectives, we simply need connections.
In concluding, I am inviting everyone one to share my vision. Our strategic plan lends an exciting base for all of these to happen. Let us transform UniSey into an exciting project.