- The 'University of Seychelles Foundation', which was established one year ago to provide the archipelago with its first university, is successfully starting to gather first donations to advance its work.
According to the Seychellois government, a major donation of rupees 1 million (euro 80,000) was made by Nouvobanq, one of Seychelles' principal private financial institution. Nouvobanq chairman Viswanethan Shankar handed the cheque to the patron of the university foundation and President of Seychelles, James Michel.
The 'University of Seychelles Foundation' was established mid-2007 following an initiative by President Michel and the Seychelles business community. The foundation aims at establishing a full-fledged university in the small island state to assure further development and diversification of the tourism-based economy.
According to President Michel, the initiative is centred on development of Seychelles' "human resources capacity, intellectually empowering our people with the knowledge and skills that will permit our micro-sized nation to advance in the world economy and progress as a knowledge-based society."
No timeframe has been set for the establishment of the University of Seychelles, but it is not expected that the higher education institution will be able to open its doors before earliest 2010. "A high-quality establishment is not built overnight, and it cannot be shaped and sustained by a solitary hand," President Michel said in a statement shortly after the foundation's establishment.
The only university degrees obtainable in Seychelles today are in medicine, provided in cooperation with the American Institute of Medicine. The country is therefore urgently in need of domestically produced degrees and research in fields such as medicine and social sciences.
While government is expected to be the main financial source of the upcoming university, the business community has pledged to contribute financially. President Michel has in particular focused on fundraising in the financial sector.
With the growth in financial services in the country – expected to expand further in the next two years – the University of Seychelles is "slated to play an important role in providing high-quality graduates to work in the industry," according to a government release. The Nouvobanq donation is among the largest received by the university foundation so far.
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