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By Jacqueline Kapigeno

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (January 1, 1999 - The Independent)---The newly introduced enrichment program at the University of Papua New Guinea lacks funds to run scheduled courses.

The Coordinator of the School of Enrichment Studies, Professor David Yeboah-Amankwah, said the budget cuts for the University of PNG might affect the school, as it needs funds to purchase teaching materials to facilitate the program.

Professor Yeboah-Amankwah said for the program to be more effective, the school needs equipment. "Physical facilities such as chairs, tables and display equipment are needed to run the courses," he said.

The program will be introducing more practical courses like computing, communication and life skills, ethics and civics.

So far the school has received 45 computers from donations by various business houses for the computing courses. It is also in the process of building a computer laboratory at a cost of K 140,000. However, the school needs more money to build more learning facilities.

The enrichment program has been designed to revitalize the UPNG undergraduate degree offerings.

Lecturers reported that many students had difficulty with listening and taking useful notes at lectures, others lacked skills in planning their time and studies while many faced difficulties in oral and written communication even after completing their studies.

"After the UPNG Emi Go We" lecture series in 1996, two working committees of UPNG academics were appointed by Vice Chancellor Dr. Rodney Hills to study the deficiencies of students and make recommendations to rectify the deficiencies.

The committees submitted their recommendations in 1997 to the University Council.

The recommendations were accepted and have since become the framework of the Enrichment Program.

The committee recommended that students entering the university should be taught to adjust from school teaching to the lecture tradition, be prepared for career changes they are to face while in their working careers and that students should be prepared to be alert to their rights and responsibilities as citizens and as future community leaders of a democratic state.

The Enrichment Program has been designed to function as part of the UPNG Restructure Program and will start with 1999’s incoming students.

The enrichment program will contain the compulsory, school and elective courses.

The compulsory courses include communications and life skills, computing and numeracy and ethics and civics courses.

The school courses are comprised of courses that lie outside the schools of humanities, social sciences, law and business studies, natural sciences and medicine. The elective courses are courses to be chosen by each student from the regular courses in any school except the student’s home school.

Meanwhile the restructure will commence in 1999 as planned despite the budget cut from K 25 million to K 20 million and the late start of classes.

According to UPNG’s Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) Dr. John Luluaki, all proposed statutory amendments are now before the National Executive Council for its consideration and consent.

The Chancellor, Dame Rose Kekedo, said the budget cut was more than what was expected.

"The restructure was decided upon as a cost saving measure. However, we did not expect the budget to be cut by this much," she said.

The University is currently looking into cost-saving measures. It has already retrenched 130 staff from the building and estates division. These are all non-academic staff.

The University Council will meet in the new year to decide the number of intakes for 1999 and also on what measures are to be taken to generate additional revenue for the University.

Dr. Luluaki said it is foreseeable that a review of the existing University fee structure may be undertaken with a view to increasing current fees for applications in 1999. This will also be determined by the Council.

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