UPNG to know fate today

Students and staff at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) will know by today whether the 2016 academic year will continue or be terminated.

Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister Malakai Tabar will address the students at the Forum Square today regarding the fate of the academic year.

The students have not been attending classes for up to eight weeks now after they first boycotted classes on May 2.

Classes were then suspended for an indefinite period by the university council on May 20.

The suspension lasted for 10 days and students were asked to return to classes to continue semester one on June 13, which was a public holiday.

This was so classes would kick off on Tuesday, June 14, while the medical students were told to commence classes on June 6.

However, this did not eventuate following the shooting of students by police on June 8 during an attempted peaceful protest to Parliament.

This left four male students admitted to hospital with bullet wounds while several others suffered minor injuries.

The students were left in mourning and decided not to return to class until their colleagues were released from hospital.

Following the incident, the UPNG Student Representative Council (SRC) wrote to the vice-chancellor and management requesting for a reconciliation meeting.

The university administration welcomed the request by the students for reconciliation on June 23.

Unfortunately, this did not eventuate when the university properties sustained damages in confrontation by the students on the day of the reconciliation.

Five vehicles and the Uni Venture building were burnt, a slate of glass which walls the Michael Somare Library was shattered while the canteen at the Forum Square area was nearly cracked open.

The university council met on Saturday, June 25, and resolved that first and foremost, the university properties must be secured before allowing for any potential mediation to take place.

The university senate met last week to discuss the fate of the academic year. The university acting chancellor Dr Nicholas Mann confirmed that this will be announced today.


Quintina Naime