PNG’s University Of Technology Faces Closure

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PNG’s University Of Technology Faces Closure Long-running student protest keeps classes from meeting

By Malum Nalu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 17, 2014) – The University of Technology in Lae, Morobe, faces closure if protesting students refuse to return to classes, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.

That is in support of the call by Higher Education Minister Delilah Gore for Unitech students to return to classes.

There have been no classes since the beginning of this year as students are staying away to support their demand for the return of former Vice Chancellor Dr Albert Schram.

"Students have got no right to appoint or demand vice chancellors. The University Council does that," O’Neill told reporters.

"The National Executive Council will deliberate on this matter next (this) week. If it means that there’s an option of shutting down the university, we will."

"If people are not serious about their education, we are serious about their education. We want to educate people who want to learn and become better citizens. Return to class or we will make some decisions. It may be tough, unfair on your parents, unfair on the government that is paying for many of these students."

"They get allowances, they get full scholarships, we pay for the teachers to be there, we build the university for them, we’re putting in another K500 million to build all the tertiary institutions in the country, we don’t need this to continue. I think it’s up to the students to make their decision."

"If the new council feels that Schram is the rightfully qualified person, they will employ him, if not somebody else."

"We will be recommending to the new council that they hire an international HR firm to recruit the best person to be vice chancellor. I think that is the fairest thing to do under the circumstances."

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