Right decision to axe academic year

The National, Friday July 8th, 2016

I WAS much relieved to learn of the University of Papua New Guinea coun-cil’s decision to terminate their academic year.

That is in contrast to the Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari’s statement for the university council to salvage the academic year.

The PNG University of Technology should do likewise and terminate their academic year to avoid any more losses after the killing of a student and destruction of several buildings at the Taraka campus in Lae.

There are two main rea-sons which I believe the Government has over-looked.

Firstly, they failed to see the issue through the eyes of Melanesians.

Blood was spilt when police officers shot at uni-versity students on June 8. When blood is spilt and there is no real peace sworn, more blood will be spilt – more buildings would be burned and the cycle would continue.

We must remember that the situation in a state uni-versity in PNG is different to that of one in western countries..

Let us not make decisions from a westerner’s point of view.

We must understand the tribal instincts that are engrained in minds of our young people attending these state universities.

Many students will for-give and forget if they or their brother was shot.

A few will not and that is the group that can stir up the tribal instincts and mentality that are in their fellow students.

So the termination of the academic year will defi-nitely take that “spirit of shedding blood and destruction” out of the campuses and in the process save lives and the infrastructure there.

We the people of PNG do not want to lose more lives or buildings. Enough is enough!

Secondly, the students took the law into their own hands and destroyed state property. They did not show the intellect expected of future leaders.

The death and destruction caused by the students are losses to the nation – not just those affected students and their relatives.

Therefore, these undis-ciplined students must be taught a lesson. The privi-lege and opportunity accord to them through universities education must be taken away.

Lupari stated that “we will be depriving our chil-dren from receiving their education”.

Which children’s rights – the undisciplined lot or those entering the university as first-year stu-dents next year?

If he was referring to the current students then he is wrong.

Undisciplined people must not be entertained but be penalised.

The good thing about the termination decision is that those students who are penalized can always come back next year or later depending on what the UPNG council’s plan to accommodate new first-year students next year.

While the students are away, it may be a good time for the Government to upgrade some of the run-down facilities at the campus.

Pro academic
Port Moresby