Partnership boosts border security
A Samoan Immigration official, Paul Ah Kuoi, was among graduates to have benefitted from a partnership between the Pacific Immigration Development Community (P.I.D.C.) and the University of the South Pacific (U.S.P.).
Mr. Ah Kuoi has graduated with a Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma in Border Security.
The units of study commenced in January 2020 with over 60 students from across the region enrolled.
Mr. Ah Kuoi is among the lead group of graduating students, including several Immigration and Customs officers.
The programme, which looks to strengthen Pacific’s critical thinking about border security, was developed to build knowledge and critical thinking about common migration issues facing the region.
One of the graduates, Rasieli Rabukuwaqa from Fiji Immigration, said the course has strengthened her knowledge of immigration and border enforcement significantly.
“The course has allowed me to access a lot of new academic, policy and operational information from across the Pacific Islands and this helps me directly in my border enforcement role,” she said.
“The online course afforded me the opportunity to pursue my study through a program that was flexible and convenient for my schedule. It gives me great pleasure to say with pride that I have completed my Post Graduate Certificate as one of the pioneers of this programme.”
Mr. Ah Kuoi said the U.S.P. course materials are very useful and relevant.
“The academic information supports my operational and procedural knowledge of Samoa Immigration laws,” he said.
The Head of Secretariat for P.I.D.C., Ioane Alama, said that the U.S.P. online academic programme is a real game-changer for immigration agencies and the broader law enforcement community in the Pacific Islands:
“In fact, anyone that works with migration issues in the Pacific will find this information extremely useful," he said. “P.I.D.C. is happy to have supported this activity given it provides an information product and service that was not readily accessible to most border officers and public officials in the region.
“The fact that U.S.P. had to turn some students away due to the high class [numbers] shows that there is significant interest in the region.”
He said that they are especially happy because the programme modules view academic teachings and principles through a Pacific Islands lens.
“And it was a great milestone when we had a recent online lecture attended by a significant number of Pacific Island students to analyse the Boe Declaration on Regional Security and its impacts on their agencies and communities,” he said.
The P.I.D.C. is a forum for official Immigration Agencies of the Pacific region. The organisation was established in 1996 with the initial support of the Pacific Islands Forum and is currently chaired by Kairangi Samuela of Cook Islands Immigration.