Pacific Connect-USP Academic Dialogue discusses digital innovation

| June 29, 2018

The International Centre for Democratic Partnerships (ICDP) convened its Inaugural Pacific Connect – USP Academic Network Dialogue in Suva on 19 June.

Ten Australian representatives from ten different tertiary institutions discussed opportunities for collaboration around the digital innovation theme with 13 representatives from the University of the South Pacific (USP), Fiji National University, University of Fiji, Solomon Islands National University, National University of Samoa, Australian Pacific Technical College, and the World Health Organisation.

The whole day dialogue was facilitated by Prof Rajesh Chandra, Vice Chancellor and President of USP, Prof Ian Young AO, Director of ICDP, and Peter Fritz AM, Special Advisor ICDP and Chairman of Global Access Partners.

Scott Hook, Economic Infrastructure Advisor, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), delivered an informative economic overview of the Pacific, while Gordon Burns, Counsellor, Regional Development Cooperation, Australian High Commission in Fiji, also assisted ICDP and participated in dialogue discussions.

The Dialogue focused on digital capacity building in regional universities, including online education, and new efficiencies in information and student management systems through enhanced IT processes and data security.

Through robust discussions, participants identified a number of topics and are currently collaborating online to formulate practical projects to take forward through a series of subsequent meetings and longer term relationships.

Topics ranged from the development of online training programs for academic and technical staff incorporating best practices across Australia and Pacific including enabling for mobile technology, to the development of a Tertiary Administration Support Network to assist with virtual networking on administrative matters and exploring practical ways of making the Pacific a focus in Australian schools.

The participants from the Pacific and Australia will continue to collaborate on several of projects and present progress and outcomes of these at the Pacific Connect Forum in Sydney on 6 September 2018.

Dr Chie Adachi, Senior Lecturer of Digital Learning and Innovation from Deakin University who attended the dialogue, also took the opportunity post-Dialogue to deliver a presentation on learning futures at the Pacific TAFE, USP and has continued sharing information and linking them with other areas of Deakin University.

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Tina Briggs

Tina Briggs is the programme coordinator for the International Centre for Democratic Partnerships.  She has extensive experience in project management across government, private, and not for profit sectors and has worked in international development with the Kenyan and Botswanan Red Cross.