Rajesh Chandra, New FNU Chancellor and Chair of Council

“Students form the core rationale of universities and I will support the Vice-Chancellor and Management to enhance this priority area,” he said.
12 Apr 2019 16:47
Rajesh Chandra, New FNU Chancellor and Chair of Council
Fiji National University Vice Chancellor Nigel Healey with the new Chancellor and Chair of the Council Rajesh Chandra. Photo: Selita Bolanavanua.

Rajesh Chandra is the new Fiji National University Chancellor and Chair of the Council.

“I am very honoured by this appointment and expression of confidence by the Fijian Government in my ability to contribute to the next phase of FNU’s development into a premier university,” he said.

Mr Chandra said he plans to contribute his knowledge and experience of transforming the University of the South Pacific from a good to an excellent university to lifting FNU’s reputation through international accreditations, high quality relevant research and reputable publications, excellence in student services, greater links with industries and professions, and a major focus on the employability of graduates.

“Students form the core rationale of universities and I will support the Vice-Chancellor and Management to enhance this priority area,” he said.

“Given its role as the national university of Fiji, it is vital that the strategic direction and activities of FNU are closely aligned to national aspirations and goals, especially to that of developing Fiji into a smart, sustainable, ICT-savvy, peaceful, inclusive and progressive society”.

Mr Chandra added that FNU has already been undertaking significant reforms and they have hired some very good people.

“I plan to work closely with the Council and the Vice-Chancellor and his Executive to facilitate its work, while ensuring that the Council provides clear strategic direction, ensures that FNU’s operations are transparent and in compliance with its Act, closely

monitors the performance of the Vice-Chancellor and the university, and overall to give confidence to the stakeholders in the operations, value and the future of FNU.”

Role of the Council

The Council is the supreme governing body of the university.

“Good governance is crucial to the university,” Mr Chandra said.

“Its main tasks are to ensure that the activities of the university comply with the provisions of the FNU Act.

It sets the direction in which the university needs to go through the approval of the Strategic Plan, monitors the work of the university to ensure full accountability and transparency, and ensures that all stakeholders have a voice in the work of the university.”

He adds that the Council monitors the performance of the Vice- Chancellor and ensures that the university enjoys excellent reputation and support of the society. The Council discharges its responsibilities through a number of Committees.

Mr Chandra’s Background

He studied at Cuvu College and Marist Brothers High School before studying at the University of the South Pacific.

He was the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of the South Pacific from 2008 to the end of 2018, “being its longest serving vice-chancellor”.

“My term at USP has been widely seen as a transformative one. I eliminated the deficits and financial difficulties that it was having prior to my appointment,” he said.

“Enrolment grew from about 18,000 students in 2008 to 32,000 at the end of 2018. Aid per annum doubled, and more than half of the USP’s total graduates since its establishment were produced during the last ten years.

“I introduced the requirement of international accreditations at USP and USP achieved 27 international accreditations by the end of last year.

It was also accredited by the American accrediting body as equivalent to any accredited American university.

“All of the 8 patents obtained by USP in 50 years were also obtained during my term.”

Before assuming that position, he was the first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji.

Mr Chandra thanked the outgoing Chancellor Iqbal Jannif for all his contributions to the University and the changes that took place under his leadership.

He also commended the level of support from the Government towards FNU.

Vice-chancellor Nigel Healey said they welcomed Mr Chandra and are pleased to have someone with so much experience.

Mr Chandra hails from Maro in Nadroga.

Edited by Susana Tuilau

Feedback: selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.

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