Unitech back to class on Thursday

National, Normal

THE University of Technology in Lae is set to resume formal lectures from Thursday to complete the 2010 academic year.
The university council has resolved to approve the recommendation of the Unitech academic board to reconvene formal lectures following the directive from the Office of Higher Education (OHE).
The decision was also made possible following agreement by the student groups involved in the conflict to return to lectures while allowing the reconciliation process to start.
Students residing off campus has been urged to return immediately to prepare for resumption of lectures.
All students should return and reside on campus by tomorrow, a proposed peace and reconciliation processwill start with payment of bel kol to family of the deceased taking place on Wednesday and on Thursday formal lectures should resume.
The university council has further resolved to:
* Approve the actions undertaken by administration, including the security arrangements and the transfer of the vice-chancellor’s powers relating to law and order and security to Lae police to administer;
* Approve the resolution of the academic board for lost time to be recovered through the conduct of lectures during weekends and after hours;
* Set up an independent investigation team, with membership made up of a former police commissioner, a senior respected lawyer and a nominee from the OHE to investigate and report on the root causes of the ethnic dispute; and
* Appeal to the provincial administrators and leaders of Chimbu and the two Sepik provinces to accept the invitation by the university and take the lead in bringing their respective students to fully reconcile and achieve lasting peace.
OHE director general Dr William Tagis went on national radio last Friday morning to comment on the situation at Unitech.
He warned students who were on various OHE scholarships to return to classes this week or face losing their scholarships for the 2011 academic year.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Don Polye said the Unitech issue was the result of total lack of commitment where armed students terrorised other students, resulting in mass withdrawal by the students since the beginning of this month
Polye said the university administration, the police and the on-campus security company had failed to carry out their duties like checking on visitors, students and staff and declaring a curfew with the campus when the fighting started.