IBS not a uni, maintains DHERST

The Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology maintains its position that the Institute of Business Studies (IBS) is not a university.

In a media statement, Secretary Fr Jan Czuba said one of the grounds was that the National Executive Council on the 4th of December 2016 had been misled.

He said the requisite legal procedures and processes, leading up to the creation of universities, were not complied with by IBS. These statutory requirements are set out in sections 113-121 of the Higher Education (General Provisions) Act 2014.

“Thus the non-compliance by IBS of the legal requirements was intentional and in total disregard and ignorance of repeated advice and invitation by the DHERST to IBS for the need for compliance with the requirements,” said Fr Jan.

He said on June 13, 2017, he wrote a five-page letter to Edward Silva, Director of IBS, explaining the correct procedures for IBS to follow in order to obtain university status.

He said Silva responded on the 23rd of June, 2017, saying: “Now that IBS University has been established, in accordance with the act, by the NEC the core body of parliament, we request you to rest the matter...”

Fr Jan said a further four letters were sent to IBS requesting the Institute to follow the law of the land as well as to go through an independent institutional audit and benchmark itself against 12 standards for institutional recognition.

“It is evident that IBS does not appreciate the importance of an independent institutional audit,” stated Fr Jan.

“We must put on record that all PNG recognised universities are submitted to such an independent audit for the sake of upholding the integrity of the Higher Education sector and to ensure that we can maintain the academic currency of degrees, diplomas and certificates granted by the higher education institutions.”

The National Higher Education and Technical Board (NHETB) unanimously expressed concerns about this action, which in its view compromised the standards for quality assurance in PNG and students enrolled at IBS.  

He said the board was appointed by NEC on the 4th of February 2016 (Decision No 20/2016) and conducted its first meeting from the 12th to 13th October 2016. The powers and functions are set out in section 14 (1) of the higher Education (General Provisions Act) 2014.

The board is the determining body on the registration of institutions and accreditation of programs in accordance with the relevant processes specified in the ACT, such as section 113 – 121 regarding the establishment of private universities.

The IBS took the matter of its status to court on the 4th of January 2018. The institute sought interim orders against Fr Jan Czuba as the Secretary of DHERST.

The Waigani National Court granted the interim orders, restraining Fr Jan from taking further administration steps under the Higher Education (General Provisions Act) 2014 to cause any further delays in registering its students.

However, the court refused to grant orders sought by IBS to restrain Fr Jan from making media statements against the status of the institution.

Justice Derek Hartshon said it is not for the court to interfere with a person’s freedom of speech.

The matter will return to court on the 12th of January.

(Loop file pic)

Related article:

IBS gets interim orders against Fr Jan http://www.looppng.com/node/71852

IBS ‘university’ status debated http://www.looppng.com/node/71824

Meredith Kuusa