Aug 27, 2013

Orientation Day at the Faculty of Agriculture

The Students Orientation Week was held on the 6 August 2013 at the RBLT. The Orientation Week offered first year students an apercu of University life to facilitate their integration on campus. The Vice Chancellor , Prof HCS Rughooputh, addressed the students through a video presentation. One of the key messages of the Vice Chancellor  is that professional excellence should be matched with excellence in other areas such as social, spiritual etc.The Ag Dean of Faculty, Mr Navin Boodia  in his speech introduced the Faculty and provided key information to students about the education system at the University. The President of Student Union and student representative on the Faculty Board also addressed the students. They both encouraged the students to integrate into University life and to make the most on their studies.The speeches of the Ag Dean and the Faculty Rep Mr Chocalingum are reproduced hereunder.

Colleagues, President of the Students’ Union, Faculty Student’s Representative, and
our dear students. A warm welcome to you all! It’s indeed a great pleasure to address you this morning, as the Ag. Dean of the Faculty.

Let me first congratulate our first year students for securing a seat at this University. To get seat here is not easy. Just to give some statistics, we have accepted only 1 application for 4 applications rejected. I commend you for your hard work at secondary schools, which paved your way to our Faculty. Our Faculty, small as it may be described, is yet a united family of 408 BSc, MSc and MPhil/ PhD students.There is a saying ‘small is beautiful’. I’ll say so we are!

This year, around 108 students are joining the Faculty for the first time. We thank you for your trust in choosing our Faculty for your university studies. I assure you that you will enjoy our courses, which have been carefully designed and developed by our experienced professors. We have four (4) programmes of studies, namely:

BSc (Hons) AgriScience and Technology
BSc (Hons) AgriScience and Technology (Minor: Agribusiness Management)
BSc (Hons) Microbiology
BSc (Hons) Food Hygiene and Environmental Health (Top-Up Programme for inservice

Today it’s the 30th of July. It marks your first taste of university education. This date will be a memorable day for you and ‘MEMORABLE FOR A LIFETIME’. Today is the day when your transformation will start. You will start to discover life as never before. Let me share with you that university studies are not an extension of secondary schooling. You will surely get knowledge, but the way you use the knowledge is of paramount importance. Application of knowledge to solve industry problems, to design new products, to develop new processes, to set up experimental works, and to advise stakeholders will become part and parcel of your routine life, as a future professional. At the Faculty, we’ll ensure that you are empowered to perform at these levels. We are committed to your education, training and professional growth.

Our Faculty will soon celebrate 100 years as an agricultural training institution. It has, for several decades, been dedicated to its mission of capacity building in the field of Agriculture and Food. We have a committed academic staff, supported by a dedicated technical and administrative support staff. We are proud to have contributed to the economic development of the country. Some of you can recall: it all started with the Sugar Industry and the sugar protocol, 3 decades ago. Thanks to the profits generated by the Sugar Industry in the 1980’s, the economy was diversified into the tourism and EPZ sectors. Today we have a diversified economy, but we still eat 3 times a day. We need food, we need to feed animals and we are called upon by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (the FAO) to produce more because of food security issues.

So, opportunities are there for you to tap, not only here in Mauritius, but over the African continent and in the region, where significant economic growth is expected in the short and medium term basis. The Faculty does not operate in isolation. Over decades, we have developed strong linkages and partnerships with many local and international institutions. These help to ensure the relevance of our programmes to the job market and ensure the continued excellence in teaching, learning and research.

However, dear students, these assets will not make a difference unless you fulfill your responsibilities as students. We have been requested by the University Administration
to focus on some of your responsibilities.

1. Students’ discipline: There has been a decline in the discipline and conduct of students of the University over the recent years. We sincerely hope that you will takeresponsibility of your education: coming on-time for lectures and practical classes; ensuring that there is an environment conducive to teaching and learning at the Faculty; and showing respect to your elderly, be it your parents, members of the public or any staff at the University.

2. Be aware! These are two magic words. For everything you do in your University life, just ‘be aware’. Be aware of what is posted on the notice boards of the Faculty, be aware of the information sent to you by e-mails, be aware of information on the University web-site, be aware of your commitments, be aware of your responsibilities and the University regulations. Let me quote: “Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace” - Dalai Lama the fourteenth. Be kind to your ‘gurus’, please gift them this peace of mind and don’t be driven by ignorance. Dear students, I can assure you that our Faculty is doing everything to ensure that you have the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for employment. We are sparing no effort to get updated equipment, textbooks and other learning resources and to ensure the provision of a safe working environment. We expect you to put your best effort, to give your 100% in everything you do, and nothing less than 100%.

Before I move to the vote of thanks, let’s ponder on our country’s needs: safe and quality food, modern technologies and processes in agriculture; sustainable use of land and water resources; catering for food security of our nation, we need to be prepared for climate change, we have to change our mindset from a ‘small island state’ to a ‘large ocean state’. As you can see, challenges are awaiting you. We will inculcate in you the knowledge; the critical thinking skills; and the problem-solving skills to meet the challenges ahead.

Earlier on I used a word transformation. During your transformation at this University,you may also witness the transformation of the Faculty, following the Visitor’s Report duly endorsed by the Prime Minister’s Office. The Faculty will get a new appellation: Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Ocean Sciences and hopefully we’ll get more resources, and have more departments and staff. Let’s all take responsibility to contribute to thesetransformations for our own betterment.

To end, I wish to thank all members of staff who have spared no effort to make the Induction Session a successful event. I thank all staff for taking their valuable time to be present today. I am grateful to the Heads of Department, our Faculty Representative on the Induction Committee; our Administrative Officer, our SEA and his team; the Acing Farm Manager and CITS staff who have contributed to this event.

I take this opportunity to thank each and every member of our staff for their dedication and support. The Faculty is a great place to study, believe me I have myself experienced it.

Dear students, on behalf of all staff of the Faculty, I wish you a fruitful and enjoyable

Thank you!
Ag. Dean


Acting Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture
Mr Navin Boodia
Respected lecturers
Members of the technical and administrative staffs
Ladies and gentlemen
Dear Newcomers,
Today, I have the immense pleasure and honor of welcoming the new students of the faculty of agriculture on behalf of the UoM Students’ Union.
First of all, I would also like to express my heartfelt congratulations to you for your success at the HSC exams.
Indeed, as from today, you are embarking on a new academic journey which is completely different from what you have experienced at secondary level, in terms of studies, social life and personality building and I can assure you that campus-time is one of the best periods you will experience in your life. 
It is really encouraging to see students opting for the field of agriculture in our modern times.  Agriculture is still a very important pillar of the Mauritian economy.  Today agriculture is moving towards avenues such as biotechnology, food safety, microbiology, and sustainable organic production.
We all know the problems of global warming, Food crisis and many more that are arising due to eradication of our plants just to put up concrete everywhere. Hence we youngsters should be aware of the importance of Agriculture in our today’s’ world.
The faculty of Agriculture is well-known for forming young and dynamic graduates who are sufficiently trained and equipped to enter the world of work.  And you will be pleased to know that a number of graduates from the Faculty now, hold key positions in the public and private sectors.  You will also find dedicated academic and supporting staffs who will guide, help, advise and encourage you to achieve your goals.  However, University life involves a lot of your own research works and group works, determination and hard work.
Our faculty may be the smallest in terms of student population, but we are very popular for our solidarity, friendship and unity.  There is a deep sense of belonging that prevails here at FOA.  I can assure you that you will not regret to have chosen this faculty and we will also ensure that your adaptation is quick and smooth.  As from today, you are all part of our small family.  And I am very sure that your inclusion to our family is not less than a blessing. 
So dear friends, on behalf of the Students’ Union, I wish you a fruitful and successful stay at the University.
Long live the Republic of Mauritius
Long live the University of Mauritius
Long live the Faculty of Agriculture.

Thank you.

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