Tagis takes SRC to task

Main Stories, National

HIGHER Education director-general Dr William Tagis said the dissenting student representative council (SRC) of University of Goroka (UOG) is in a blatant denial of individual students’ freedom to pursue higher education.
“I believe issues have not been explored sufficiently and the UOG student-led class boycott is something far more disconcerting than what the students and academic staff are telling the public.
“The emerging concerns include first year students living off campus in rented accommodation, demolition of four students dormitories to make way for a donor-funded extension of the six-storey dormitory complex, outdated library books, inadequate computer laboratories and computer terminals, inadequate internet facility and printing access, operation of the interim university council of 2006,  staff salary package not reviewed, a range of management issues, handling of the 2010 crisis, formation of the new 15-person university council, and side lining of the vice-chancellor and the two pro-vice chancellors.
“The NASA lodged eight points in its petition to the vice-chancellor on the Feb 25 while the SRC has not given anything,” Dr Tagis said in a statement yesterday.
He also highlighted the failure to get the vice-chancellor and the two pro-vice chancellors, the SRC and NASA to meet and resolve the crisis with the Goroka MP and local leaders.
Dr Tagis and a policy officer travelled to Goroka in the third week of the crisis and spent five days mediating with the university community.
The UOG management agreed for the vice-chancellor to remain to form the new university council by March 4 and he would step aside for the council to appoint a caretaker administration and institute a committee to investigate the current council.
The pro-vice chancellors also agreed to step aside on Feb 26.
The SRC, however, ignored the agreement and announced that it will organise mass withdrawal by March 1 because their demands were not met.
“It is assumed that they also wanted a new caretaker administration because they hate the three senior staff, an illegal action under the UOG Act.
“This notice, therefore, serves to inform the university community and the people of Papua New Guinea that the action of the three members of the SRC executive and the 21 provincial student to prolong the boycott and inciting students to withdraw from the 2010 academic year is a blatant denial of individual students’ freedom to pursue higher education,” he said.