USP: No Jab, No Exam Saga

Student association up in arms after strict directive where students are required to show their vaccination cards.
01 Jul 2022 09:41
USP: No Jab, No Exam Saga
Bate Tiaeki Tioti .

The newly-appointed University of the South Pacific Student Association (USPSA) president, Bate Tiaeki Tioti, said they were surprised with the recent directive issued by the university administration.

The directive was through an email sent to all university students on Wednesday reminding students that they are required to be vaccinated before they enter examination venues.

Additionally, the email said that those who were not vaccinated were to contact their course co-ordinators.
USP’s Semester One final examinations are scheduled from July 4-15.


Mr Tioti’s reaction comes after the university allowed for major gathering events such as social nights organised by various student bodies.

The iTaukei Students Association’s Tarakoro was held at the USP Gymnasium on May 6.

The Indian Students Association’s Indo-Fijian social night was held on June 4 at the Vodafone Arena.

The USPSA’s Social Night was held at the USP Lower Campus on June 18, the Pacific Market day was held between June 21 and June 24 at the USP Laucala Campus carpark.


These did not observe COVID-19 protocols and measures although an email sent from the administration said so.

The requirement for entry of  these events were for students present USP ID card and a vaccination card.

With that in mind, Mr Tioti is questioning the administration directive saying that a lot of students had raised concerns regarding this.

“It is quite surprising and many students have complained,” he said.

“It has created a lot of challenges especially with exams and this requirement was given at a short notice.”


“It was not implemented from the students’ association and a better explanation would come from those above us since the directive came from them.”

“The problem students are facing is that some have lost their card and they are finding it hard to get it replaced at a short notice.”

“I believe that the recent directive was to align with the Fijian Government when it comes to vaccination.”

“For USP students, 90 per cent have been vaccinated.”


University Response

The university said the directive was in line with the higher education commission’s advisory dated on April 26.

“Following the advice from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, individuals over the age of 18 are to be fully vaccinated to access and use the HEI premises unless granted an exemption,” the circular stated.

“Please note it is not compulsory for learners below the age of 18 to be vaccinated to access and use the HEI premises.

“Wearing face masks and the enforcement of physical and social distancing requirements within the HEI premises is left to the discretion of HEI.”

The university said it “has been reinforcing COVID-19 protocols across all its regional campuses, and this has been regularly communicated to all students and staff via their emails since the University reopened.”


Fiji Higher Education Commission

FHEC Director Dr Rohit Kishore who said it would work with USP to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Mr Kishore highlighted that the policy was imposed by USP at its own discretion.

“USP has not sought any advice and probably exercising as per their COVID-19 protocols,” Mr Kishore said

“The commission reiterates and recommends higher education institutions to ensure that the quality of educational experiences and support for learners is paramount and should not be compromised.”

Dr Rohit Kishore

Dr Rohit Kishore

“In saying so, institutions must make provisions for unvaccinated students to be able to sit for their examinations or have an alternative venue for students that are unvaccinated and the like.”

The Fiji Higher Education Commission has sent questions to USP and the university has responded to their queries.

USP says it would issue its full response today.



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