Why a university exists

Many of us forget why a university exists.

This was the point made by the new acting vice chancellor of the University of Papua New Guinea.

Professor Kenneth Sumbuk, in accepting his appointment as the acting vice chancellor of UPNG, issued the reminder that a university exists to provide quality graduates, stressing on the adjective ‘quality’.

“And that is something that many people within the sector and also stakeholders, government, parents, graduands, employers have been concerned about how the university has been travelling,” stated Sumbuk.

“And that is why I am accepting this challenge. I don’t take it as a simple challenge but I accept it because I believe we can work together to address all these issues that the university has been facing. School fee is one of them, resources is a big issue, both financial and we’ve got physical and human resources.

“One other area that I will closely look at is the audit report of the University of Papua New Guinea 2013. There were 13 audit areas that the external auditors audited or assessed the university on. And the University of Papua New Guinea actually failed all 13 of them. And these are some of the areas that we need to quickly address.”

Professor Sumbuk clarified that an academic audit was carried out which covered the council, the administration, student support, staff profile and also looked at support services like maintenance.

“Our university is not doing that well so we are going to look at all these issues to try and address them. And there were about 26 recommendations in there that we need to quickly address.”

He further assured staff, parents, students and stakeholders that the university is in good hands, adding the interim council as well as administration will not sack or shake the university up, but try to improve it.

Meantime, chancellor of the interim council, Jeffrey Kennedy, said they will look at reinstating the student representative council, which was disbanded during the 2016 boycott.

The interim council will be serving a term of 12 months.

(Acting vice chancellor Professor Kenneth Sumbuk)

Carmella Gware