UNIVERSITY OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA PLANS TO CUT COSTS

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By Phil Yombon

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (March 9, 1998-Niuswire/The National)--- The University of Papua New Guinea is planning a major cost-cutting exercise which is likely to affect many professional degree and diploma programs, The National reports.

The cost-cutting exercise aims to cut the university's salary bill [by about K2.5 million of $US 1.11 million] and axing certain degree and diploma programs.

The restructure is being looked at by a high-level working group chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Rodney Hills.

Dr. Hills had informed all pro-vice chancellors, deans and administrators in a memo that since there was a continuous imbalance in the university's budget, there was a need to cut salary costs and to do away with some academic disciplines.

About eight strategies have been suggested by the high-level working group and the academics have been asked to comment on them.

One of the major scenarios will be to fund core disciplines only -- whether the university should teach only basic traditional disciplines in arts and sciences or other vocational courses that have strong market value.

The memo noted that under this scenario, the disciplines that fall under the category of core areas will be funded while those which do not may cease.

It is understood that disciplines like commerce, journalism, computing and religious studies, may be affected under another scenario that is aimed at reducing duplication among PNG institutions.

This was part and parcel of a government directive.

Since there are other institutions which offer these programs, the university may not offer them, thus paving way for other institutions to improve their teaching quality.

A third scenario is to cut high cost areas. Under this, there will be a reduction in medicine and science programs.

Medicine and science lead the cost per student ratio with K27,000 and K21,000 annually. The costs for other departments are: arts/humanities K7,000, law K5,000, Faculty of Creative Arts K8,000, and Faculty of Health Sciences K12,000 (NOTE: $US 1.00 = K1.7969, March 6, 1998).

The fourth scenario is to abolish academic departments that seem unable to support themselves.

"This will see the demise of areas such as economics, psychology, archaeology, and chemistry as well as several departments in the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences as well as law," according to the memo.

The fifth scenario is to impose salary ceilings, although it was noted that a 15 per cent salary reduction imposed by the university council three years ago appears not to have worked.

The sixth scenario will be to cut salary levels. An across-the-board cut may not be possible but cuts may be focused on higher salary areas.

The seventh scenario is to cut manpower requirements.

And, the final scenario is internal courses rationalization and amalgamating programs.

The purpose of the memo was to inform university staff about the nature of the budget problem.

"During the next few months, as part of the general restructuring process, these will have to be addressed and a solution found," the memo said.

Title -- 1250 EDUCATION: UPNG plans to cut costs Date -- 9 March 1998 Byline -- Phil Yombon Origin -- Niuswire Source -- The National (PNG), 9/3/98 Copyright -- The National Status – Unabridged

This document is for educational and personal use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source for reprinting. This service is provided by Journalism Studies, University of Papua New Guinea. Please acknowledge Niuswire: niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.pactok.net.au/docs/nius/

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