Increase in UPNG fees unfair

Letters, Normal

The National – Tuesday, February 15, 2011

TWO weeks ago, there were articles in the daily papers with regard to the hiking of University of Papua New Guinea fees.
I appreciate the response by the vice-chancellor justifying the 8% increase to accommodate the CPI of goods and services.
In fact, some 8-10% increment is imposed annually.
For instance, I paid K2,000 in 2005, and taking into account the 10% increment annually, I am expected to pay K3,543 this year.  
However, I am now paying K6,000 as a boarding student not to mention the boarding self-sponsored students paying K9,000.
What about the 45-50% extra I am paying?
Is this money being diverted to make up for the K27 million owed to the university’s workers, Eda Ranu, PNG Power, Telikom and IRC?
Further, I am not allowed to register unless I paid 75-100% of the fees.
Although this was done in reference to a very late (last October) UPNG circular from the registrar indicating that students must pay in full prior to 2011 registration, the K6,000 and K9,000 for the UPNG boarding HECAS and boarding self-sponsored students is just too much for me and my parents who are farmers earning less than K100 in a month.
Can the UPNG registrar, the bursar and the University Council, for that matter, explain to the 85% of Papua New Guineans who live in the rural areas and surviving daily on few cash crops and live on rice and tinned fish?
Whatever the annual increment in school fees, there is no improvement in the facilities, services and meals provided by Eurest Ltd. 
For instance, the books in the Somare and medical libraries are way too old to be reliable for a university student and graduate (books printed in the 1960s are still on the library shelves), the tutorial rooms and lecture halls are falling apart, the books in the university bookshop are very expensive (most likely taking advantage with the HECAS government scholarship book allowances), the halls of residences are like dungeons with little or no improvements to date so far, the university internet services (Medfac and main campus) are unreliable and inefficient.
It is a laughing stock when compared to UOG, DWU, PAU, Unitech and Vudal Uni) and the food provided by Eurest Ltd are just nutritiously way below the required healthy diet, not to mention the poor quality and quantity and the all-routine type of meals provided everyday.
To the vice-chancellor, the UPNG council and administration (and Eurest Ltd): Is this how you justify the 8-10% annual increment?
If the UPNG administration and council have no compassion for the rest of ordinary Papua New Guineans, what about the UPNG-SRC representatives?
They must look into the never-ending increment.
We, students, are aware of the SRC’s policies and strategies as stated in last year’s election campaign: “Students’ benefits are priority number one”.
It is time they live up to their election pledge.


UPNG victimised  student
Port Moresby