U.S.P. law students sit online exams

School of Law students are among the few at the University of the South Pacific (U.S.P.) Alafua Campus, who will be required to sit online final exams as the Faculty has had to adapt course requirements to comply with coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions this semester.

Campus Director for U.S.P. Alafua Campus, Dr. Joeli Veitayaki, told Samoa Observer that administrators and the Faculty staff are doing all that they can to support their students in these challenging unprecedented times. 

"For most sections, there will be no examinations because additional continuous assessments have been taken to compensate for the absence of exams...some of the schools, they are going with some version of online exams," he said.

"And some are doing take-home exams where they have some options in terms of how students can be assessed. The School of Law are planning to have online exams."

Final exams for law students will all be done online with a limited time for each course.

"We have [had] to encourage our Faculty members to work on having continuous assessments. They have to do all of the activities normally covered by exams through alternative methods," added Dr. Veitayaki.

To date, the U.S.P. has completed four exams for a student pursuing a master's degree in business administration, he said.

"This student is a returning Samoan student who came home before the borders closed. This was made possible because there was only one student."

Students of U.S.P. School of Agriculture and Food Technology have been assessed and they will have no final exams.

In addition to reordering instruction and assessments this semester, implementing online classes and the like, the U.S.P. Alafua Campus has given students an extension for tuition payment deadlines.

The University announced that the fee deadline for Semester 1 and Trimester 1 this year has been extended up to the end of exams. 

"This will allow students and parents time to settle fees in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students who owe fees beyond that point will be placed on hold, meaning that they will not be able to obtain their results and also not able to re-enroll into Semester 2," Dr. Veitayaki explained.

"This is to help some students who may be struggling to meet their payments. We are trying to minimize the number of student withdrawals because that may affect their progress in Semester 2. This is because of pre-requisite requirements for some of the courses."

The U.S.P. Alafua Campus had its semester break which was supposed to last one week, however, there were delays due to the global pandemic.

"Semester break was supposed to be one week but it went longer because we were observing the lockdown," Dr. Veitayaki added.

"We were hoping to have the thing [state of emergency] pass by that time and it did not happen and we are still under various stages of lockdown across the region."

At least one U.S.P. Campus in the Solomon Islands is fully closed due to the pandemic. 

There have been no face-to-face classes for USP Alafua Campus students for at least seven weeks with classes done online. 

"We are welcoming the Laucala-based students to come and use the facilities at the Campus and are now contacting our students around the Pacific that we know are not actively using moodle to ask them if they need some assistance," Dr. Veitayaki said.

"Under these difficult conditions we work under, we are doing all we can to minimize the negative impacts of COVID 19 on the education and training of our future leaders."

Not all schools at U.S.P. have reported their arrangements for final exams to the campus director but U.S.P. Alafua Campus director said they will advise Samoa Observer when plans for final exams are finalised.

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