By REBECCA KUKU
Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister Pila Niningi has thanked National Academic Staff Association (Nasa) and staff of the University of Papua New Guinea for resuming normal lectures yesterday.
Niningi, pictured, said at the end of the day, it was all about education of students.
“I am very happy with the Nasa and the UPNG staff for inviting me and for coming to terms of agreement to solve their grievances,” he said. “I will give in a submission for the appointment of vice-chancellor to the National Executive Council in the next NEC meeting which is in two weeks’ time.”
Niningi said Vice-Chancellor Prof Kenneth Sumbuk and the interim council had not been ousted as reported in the Post-Courier.
“We can’t just leave the position of vice-chancellor vacant whilst we wait for an NEC decision, so at the moment, Prof Kenneth Sumbuk will continue to act in his position as the vice-chancellor,” he said. “The same applies for the interim council, who will remain whilst waiting for the NEC decision.”
The Nasa and staff of UPNG called on the interim council and vice-chancellor not to make any decisions that were likely to create instability to operations of the university until an NEC decision was reached.
Nasa acting president Mark Kia said Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had already made his decision.
He said all parties should adhere to that and refrain from causing further instability among staff and operations of the university.
However, UPNG chancellor Jeffrey Kennedy told The National that they were still in control until such time NEC made its decision.
Sumbuk also told The National that he was still vice-chancellor and would remain so until NEC reached a decision.
“Currently, the two acts (the UPNG Act and the Higher Education Act 2014) are now being read together by lawyers to advise the NEC,” he said.
Classes at the university resumed yesterday.
Meanwhile, Nasa, staff of UPNG and students have applauded Niningi for paving the way to bring change into the university.
Kia thanked Niningi and said one thing they all agreed on was that the university needed to change.
“We thank the minister for stepping in, because if he had not, then we could not have achieved some of the things that we have achieved today,” he said.
By REBECCA KUKU