No increase in UPNG fees: Interim council

Parents and guardians of students attending the University of Papua New Guinea will be relieved to know that the planned increase in fees will not take effect.

This follows the suspension of the UPNG Council and the appointment of an interim one.

During the interim council’s special meeting today, the council resolved to rescind the earlier decision to increase tuition and boarding and lodging fees.

“There’ll be no increase in the school fees for 2019,” stated UPNG Interim Council Chancellor, Jeffrey Kennedy.

“If there’s any need for revenue raising, the new acting vice-chancellor will advise the council and we may resort to alternative revenue raising measures.”

For those who had already paid the fees, the bursar will look into the matter and where there are overpayments, refunds will be made.

Following allegations of mismanagement and malpractice, among others, the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology revoked the power and authority of UPNG’s acting chancellor, Dr Nicholas Mann, and acting vice chancellor, Vincent Malaibe, as of the 22nd of January.

Furthermore, Higher Education Minister Pila Niningi suspended Malaibe in accordance with section 152 (3) (d) of the Higher Education (General Provisions) Act 2014.

Chancellor Kennedy described Niningi’s decision as harsh but necessary.

“One of the agendas we had to deal with firstly was to appoint a new acting vice chancellor.”

Kennedy said this is to ensure that there is smooth transition pending the substantive appointment of a new vice chancellor, hence during the interim council’s special meeting today, Professor Kenneth Sumbuk was appointed.

Prof Sumbuk, who was the former UPNG pro vice chancellor and acting VC for at least 14 years, will serve for a term of 12 months or until the permanent appointment of a vice chancellor.

“He is familiar with UPNG, its staff and operations,” said Kennedy.

“He is best suited to facilitate the investigations and reviews being proposed by government.”

(From left: UPNG acting VC, Professor Kenneth Sumbuk and UPNG Interim Council Chancellor, Jeffrey Kennedy)

Carmella Gware