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Thursday, 13 March 2014

MEDIA RELEASE Minister for Higher Education, Research Science and Technology (13 March 2014)

Here is the text of the Press Statement released by OHE this afternoon. Last time I checked, there was no vacancy for Vice-Chancellor at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology. She has not power to appoint or dismiss Vice-Chancellors in Papua New Guinea.

I assume the Hon. Minister is referring to my person as “Albert Schram”. I prefer to be called Dr. Albert Schram in official correspondence, since I worked very hard to obtain this title. My colleagues often call me Dr. Albert.

I am still looking forward to talking with, or meeting the Minister Gore one day.

Hon. Ms. Delilah Gore, MP, Minister for Higher Education, Research Science and Technology

Media Release. Hon. Ms. Delilah Gore, MP, Minister for Higher Education, Research Science and Technology


The action of the students at the PNG University of Technology (UNITECH) in closing down the administration including the ushering of the Acting Vice Chancellor out from his office is unbecoming of future leaders of this country. Such behaviour is unprecedented in Papua New Guinea and Universities around the world. What the nation saw can be best described as a shameful act, not reflective of the nation's core value and respect for the Rule of Law.

This deplorable action therefore must be condemned by every law abiding citizen, including the parents, guardians and sponsors of these students. Their actions is a direct breach of academic decorum and code of ethics, which are prescribed in the University by Laws and Statues.

Under these Laws and Status, students must conduct themselves appropriately by respecting faculty members and fellow students. Surely the ongoing actions and behaviour of students at UNITECH are disrespectful to their own parents, sponsors, the community and the country as a whole.

Since assuming office as the Minister responsible for higher education institutions in the country, I have given this issues the highest priority it deserves. I have engaged in consultation with all stakeholders including the former Council, current Interim Council, management and members of the student body to find an amicable solution to the issue. At this stage, this consultation process is continuing and I will be bringing to Cabinet a Submission with my recommendations to the Government for its consideration.

Whilst his process is in motion, I have appealed to the students to return to class – and again I wish to encourage students to return to class

Your education must be your number one priority because education is the key to your future. I am sure your parents, who have worked hard and even sacrificed their own welfare for you to have a better future, will not accept such unruly behaviour. You owe it to your parent, guardians, sponsor, and our country to return to class.

As I stated in my previous media statement, My Ministry is unable to act on the Students' Petition because of two legal challenges institute by the former Council and Albert Schram, which restraint the Government, particularly the Minister responsible for higher education from taking any corrective actions.

As soon as these legal proceedings and consultation are concluded, the Ministry will recommend to the Government to take the following measures:

  1. Immediately appoint a Permanent Council as per the University of Technology Act, 1986; 
  2. The New council will immediately advertise the position of Vice Chancellor, which will be opened to all interested applicants, including Albert Schram;
  3. The recruitment and selection will be undertaken by an Independent Human Resource Company, preferably an International HR firm; 
  4. Issues of Governance, including those arising form the Mediation and the Sevua Investigation Report will be implemented through a specially established task force; 
  5. The Ministry has already instituted the review of the Higher Education Act of 1984, which will soon be presented to the Government aimed at reduction the size and duration of the terms of office of University Councils, and the appointment of Vice Chancellors; 
  6. All state Universities have either completed or are completing external institutional quality audits reference to international standards with recommendations soon to be present to Government; and 
  7. The Sevua Report will be tabled in the May Session of Parliament although some of its recommendations are not conclusive especially on Albert Schram 
With these actions, all concerns raised by students and general public of the management of our Universities including University of Technology will be adequately addressed. I am 100% committed to reform in the higher education sector and you can be guaranteed that with the support of the Prime Minister, the Government will ensure our Universities attain International Status.

I am now making my FINAL APPEAL to students to immediately return to class. Failing that, I will be left wit not option but to recommend to the National Executive Council to declare a State of Emergency at the Campus and closure of the 2014 Academic year.

The press Release is Authorised by:

Hon. Ms. Delilah Gore, MP

Minster for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology."

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