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Monday, 17 March 2014

Postcourier: clueless

(Comment: If it were not a sad indication of the state of press freedom in PNG, it would be funny to see how the Postcourier in its editorial on 29 January asks for my return against the wishes of the government, and today does the opposite.

In its editorial on 17 March suddenlty it supports the PM and no longer endorses my position as Vice-Chancellor. It says the consequence of closing the university are dire for the students. The whole logic of a class boycott, hoewever, is that the consequences are even more dire for the government.

As the correctly PM says, the Council is my employer and in PNG the Council is autonomous. So no member of the government of civil service can hire or fire Vice-Chancellors. The reason for this that in a democracy it is important to protect academic freedom and university autonomy.

For this reason there is no vacancy for Vice-Chancellor at the PNG University of Technology, because I am still employed by the Council. I also fail to see how creating a new Council contributes in any manner towards a solution of the stalemate between the government and the Council. It will merely multiply the number of legal claims and counter-claims.

I am getting really fed up now with these stories coming out again about my academic credentials and my full cooperation with the Sevua Investigation (not Inquiry). Can somebody publish the Sevua investigation (not an official enquiry) fully please? 

My credentials are legit otherwise I could not have worked as consultant for World Bank or several European universities. See my rebuttal in my blog: Full disclosure #1 and Full disclosure #2. By the way I was trying to attend the UNITECH graduation upon request of the staff and students, while waiting for an invitation from the Sevua Investigation team, that never came.

Can somebody please inform the Prime Minister?)

Original: O’Neill warns uni students
March 17,2014, 01:58 am
By Alexander Rheeney

STUDENTS at the University of Technology should return to classes or face the prospect of sitting out the rest of the 2014 academic year at home, says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Minister for Higher Education Delilah Gore warned last Friday that she will not hesitate to recommend the shutting down of the university if students persist with their boycott of classes for the second week.

Speaking at a press conference in Port Moresby on Friday, Mr O’Neill said he supports the cause of action his minister has taken to date. The NEC will discuss the crisis at the country’s second largest tertiary institution this week, he said and warned they will close the university if students do not return to classes.

"NEC will deliberate on this matter next week. If it means there is an option of shutting down the university we will," the Prime Minister warne

"If people are not serious about education, well, we are serious about education, we want to educate people who want to learn and become better citizens so they have to take it up on themselves.

"Return to class or we will take some decisions. It may be tough but we will have to, this is unfair on your parents, unfair on the Government that is paying for many of these students.

"They get allowances, they get full scholarships, we pay for the teachers to be there, we build the universities for them. We are in fact putting another K500 million building up all the tertiary institutions in the country. We don’t need this to continue, so I think it is up to the students to make their decision."

When questioned on whether his Government will support the return of Vice Chancellor Dr Albert Schram in response to appeals by both students and academic staff for his return, the PM said the independent inquiry headed by former judge Justice Mark Sevua did not completely clear him.

"We have received the Sevua Report.

"The Sevua Report does not clearly say that Schram issues are resolved to the satisfaction of everyone.

"That includes clearance about his qualification. Schram was given an opportunity to appear before the inquiry, he travelled into the country and disrespected the inquiry and did not appear before the inquiry – instead he was doing his own business.

"Now you tell me that if he cannot respect a constituted inquiry that is going to help resolve some of the issues, who is he going to be responsible to? Now that is the problem we have. He is not fully cleared by the inquiry.

"The students have got no right to demand or appoint vice chancellors – the university council does that."

The PM’s comments is unlikely to go down well with the student body, academic staff and even the interim university council chaired by Chancellor Sir Nagora Bogan, which has also asked for Dr Schram to return to the university.

1 comment:

  1. Just discovered your blog....look forward to reading........