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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 9, 2002 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---Violence is rife in Papua New Guinea schools and institutions of higher learning, University of Technology Vice Chancellor Misty Baloiloi warned.

And he said that added to this is a trend where some students are practicing "satanic worship".

Speaking in Lae at Unitech’s 34th graduation ceremony, Mr. Baloiloi said schools and colleges were becoming places of violence and "devil worship."

"Across all our institutions of higher education and even our high schools, there is a culture of thuggery, bullying, intimidation and lawlessness among students," he said.

He called on the Education Department and Commission of Higher Education to consider holding a summit to address the issue of lawlessness in schools and colleges.

He said discipline among students at Unitech has also been a problem. He warned that students who act violently or threaten other students and staff risk suspension and expulsion.

Mr. Baloiloi's warning to violent and disruptive students follows similar warnings by University of Papua New Guinea administrators in Port Moresby.

Mr. Baloiloi said: "It appears that despite the systemic nature of the problem, we all seem to think that it is a normal process of social change and hence our continued tolerance of such culture much to the detriment of the unrealized potential of our children."

He said the problem was serious enough to warrant a collective approach to the search for a solution.

"Our universities, colleges and high schools must be places conducive for learning and spiritual development," he said. "We should refuse to accept any lesser goal than this."

He said the ability to think clearly and to comprehend is developed and nurtured only in civilized environments.

This is where interpretations, debates, and disagreements about the various dimensions of knowledge can be entered into without fear of the loser resorting to violence to regain lost pride, he said.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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