Politics must not interfere with UPNG administration matters


THE recent sacking of University of PNG chancellor and acting vice-chancellor by the Minister for Department of Higher Education Research Science and Technology for their decision to increase tuition fees this year sets a bad precedent.
Firstly, political interference in administrative and academic matters undermines intelligence, administrative policies and most importantly, independence of council and management.
In PNG, most political decisions have lost sanity.
People no longer trust politicians, even if the minister claims to have made this decision in the best interest of prevailing circumstances.
The role of a chancellor is a pristine position, reserved for persons with reputable character, who have long associations with academia and higher learning institutions in different capacities.
Just getting someone to fix a problem won’t work.
It will add more problems that are more serious than the one for which the chancellor is appointed to solve.
Secondly, political inference devalues the positions of chancellor and vice-chancellor.
The national and institution’s appointment processes that relies on careful scrutiny of qualification and experience are undermined.
There are many cases in PNG public service roles where persons in acting capacity maneuver to consolidate their positions, and don’t easily give way for transparent appointments.
Thirdly, prices of goods and services are increasing and so is the cost of running a university.
Government budgets to universities have been decreasing over the years while population increases.
This is evident in growing number of school leavers annually from secondary, national and private schools.
This demands universities to expand infrastructure development, academic programmes and meet other bills.
If the government thinks that UPNG is wrong to increase fees, then it is insane.
Finally, there is a bad precedent in all State-run universities where the government and students mutually agree to damage the spirit of innovation, excellence and competitive university environment.
This is where learning and other facilities required by staff and students to enhance learning are outdated and put under stress by growing number of students.

Bomai D Witne