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Academic Freedom Crucial, Says USP VC

Academic freedom is crucial for universities and USP is no exception, says University of the South Pacific’s (USP) vice-vhancellor and president, Professor Rajesh Chandra. He made the comment at the
03 May 2016 08:38
Academic Freedom Crucial, Says USP VC

Academic freedom is crucial for universities and USP is no exception, says University of the South Pacific’s (USP) vice-vhancellor and president, Professor Rajesh Chandra.

He made the comment at the first staff forum for the year at the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre in Laucala Campus on April 25.

Professor Chandra said academic freedom largely involved the ability of the university to develop its curricular without interference from anyone except for controls such as the relevance and modernity of the programmes and courses offered, and their alignment with the strategic plan objectives.

“It means the freedom that each lecturer has to perform the learning, teaching and research activities without interference,” Mr Chandra said.

He said academic freedom was the ability of staff to make comments publicly, observing the codes relevant to their professions, reflecting their areas of expertise.

“Academic freedom does not give you a license to defame other people or to pursue a biased and personal agenda or to endanger the academic freedom of the vast majority of your colleagues,” Mr Chandra said.

He also told USP staff that the university’s guidelines and provisions relating to academic freedom were similar to those of Australian and New Zealand universities.

Mr Chandra said the university could only succeed in its goal of transforming itself from good to excellent if staff cohesion was maintained.

He also urged staff at all levels to engage with each other.

“I would like to suggest that engagement be an important priority  at all levels – including senior management, deans, heads of schools, and all supervisors, so that we do not have any sense of alienation that can quickly set in, in any situation, especially so when there are a lot of changes going on,” he said.

 

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