By Bosorina Robby
MOROBE students in the University of Papua New Guinea’s medical faculty have not been attending classes and accessing other facilities to begin their new academic year for the past three weeks.
Numbering up to 50, they were turned away by the university registrar for non-payment of outstanding school fees for all students coming from Morobe the past years.
For dental and medical students, the academic year begins in the second week of January, well ahead of other universities.
Fourth year dental and medical student, Posikai Tapo, explained that students coming from Morobe province were given a guarantee letter from the provincial administrator to present to their respective registrars upon registration.
The provincial government made paying of school fees for all Morobe students at tertiary level its first priority under the leadership of Governor Luther Wenge.
Mr Tapo said in previous years, these guarantee letters would allow them to attend classes while waiting for the provincial budget to be approved and money released.
“This year is the first time that the guarantee letters are not accepted because of the huge amount of outstanding fees they owe, not only to UPNG but to other universities.
“We have not attended classes, not been provided meals, not allowed access to the library or other class activities,” he said.
“We have been spending time calling the provincial administrator Kemas Tomala to intervene and to enable us to attend classes,” he added.
Third year student Vernon Nawe said he was just frustrated and needed to know when they could go to school before they were struck off the rolls for being absent.
“We understand the bureaucratic issues here. But we just need food, a bed and to attend classes. There’s also this problem that all the universities start their academic years later than us.
“This is also at the time when the budget is approved for payments to be made to those other students. So I urge that the process be sped up to allow my friends and I to attend classes,” he added.