Analysis

Five Top Academics Among Those Who Could Be Forcibly Retired Under Vice Chancellor’s Plan

But UniFiji may re-sign them on shorter-term contracts, if they are willing, healthy and performing. Retirement age row causes tension among staff. Who is going to go, they ask?
26 Feb 2020 12:36
Five Top Academics Among Those Who Could Be Forcibly Retired Under Vice Chancellor’s Plan

Analysis:

Five top academics could be on the list of those forcibly retired if a plan to introduce 65 years as the new retirement age goes ahead at the University of Fiji.

The five are: Professor Tupeni Baba, Dr Fred Merchant, Professor Subramani, Professor Anirudh Singh and Professor Shaista Shameem.

The plan to introduce the retirement age was in a bulletin circulated to staff last weekend by Vice-Chancellor Professor Sushila Chang.

Professor Chang had said that the retirement policy was discussed at Staff/HR Policy Staff consultation meetings. She said only a minority had objected.

She said staff who were above the age of 65 would be re-employed as long as they were willing and able to contribute.

Profiles:

Professor Tupeni Baba.

Professor Tupeni Baba.

Professor Tupeni Baba, 79.

Professor Baba is the Dean of School of Humanities and Arts. He is one of the oldest academics in the country and widely respected.

Before UniFiji he was Dean and Professor of Education at the University of the South Pacific (USP).

He later served as a senior research fellow at the Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, from 2001 to the end of 2005. He was active in politics once as a Fiji Labour Party stalwart before forming the now defunct New Labour Party. He is a former MP and senator.

 

Professor Fred Merchant.

Professor Fred Merchant.

Professor Fred Merchant is believed to be in his seventies

Professor Merchant is Dean of Umanand Prasad School of Medicine and Health Science (UPSM & HS). He has a long and widely recognised Science-Pharmaceutical-Surgical career.

He joined UPSM & HS in its inaugural year, 2009, as Professor of Surgery and Anatomy. He brings with him vast surgical experience.

He has Fellowships in Surgical Oncology and Blunt/Penetrating Trauma and Cardiovascular Surgery combined with Research and Clinical Teaching.

He has many scientific publications as well as articles in creative writing under his name.

 

Professor Subramani.

Professor Subramani.

Professor Subramani, believed to be in his seventies

Professor in Language and Literature University of Fiji. Before UniFiji he was at the  Fiji National University (FNU), 2011 to 2017. and before that held senior roles at the University of the South Pacific.

He was Visiting Professor in Ethics and Literature FNU 2009 to 2010 Visiting Professor Sri Sathya Sai University, Puttaparthi, 2008 Distinguished Professor North Gujarat University, Patan, India, 2004.

He is one of Fiji’s leading authors.

 

Professor Shaista Shameen.

Professor Shaista Shameen.

Professor Shaista Shameen,  believed to be over 65 years

Professor Shameem is the Dean of the Justice Devendra Pathik School of Law.

She is believed to be the only female PhD holder in law in Fiji.

Professor Shameem also has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Waikato which she attained in 1991.

She taught Sociology, Social Anthropology and Women’s Studies at the School of Social Sciences at Waikato University from 1985 until 1997 when she returned to Fiji to practise law, initially at Gates and Associates and then as Director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission from 1999 until 2009 when she joined the School of Law, the University of Fiji as Associate Professor.

 

Professor Anirudh Singh.

Professor Anirudh Singh.

Professor Anirudh Singh, 70.

Dr Anirudh Singh is the Dean of Science and Technology College.

He graduated from the University of the South Pacific with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1972.

After a short stint as a Physics teacher at his old school, Xavier College, he took up a teaching position at the then Derrick Technical Institute (now known as the Fiji National University).

His desire for further education took him to the University of Auckland, from where he graduated with Master of Science. He returned to Fiji in 1982 and took up a lectureship in Physics at the USP.

He then went on to do his PhD.

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