UPNG shuts down

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The National, Wednesday July 6th, 2016

THE University of Papua New Guinea council has terminated all academic teaching and learning activities for 2016, and ordered students to vacate campus.
Chancellor Dr Nicholas Mann told students, parents, lecturers and staff members at the Waigani campus forum area that the university council had reached the decision six days ago “but we had to vet it through the authorities because of proper governance”.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, in a brief statement yesterday, expressed his sadness at the cancellation of the academic year.
Mann explained to the students the two reasons why the council had to shut down the academic year.
“Firstly the academic environment. Council is convinced that the environment where the process of learning and teaching is not suitable at this point of time,” he said.
“The lack of peace in the heart of students and staff is a tangible situation,” Mann said.
“Therefore the council has reached the decision that the academic year cannot be continued, especially the teaching and learning process.”
He said the second reason was the violence seen and witnessed on June 23 and 24.
“Classroom doors were opened as of June 14 for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences on June 6. (But) students continued to silently boycott classes,” Mann said.
He said it was a clear indication of the unwillingness to come back because of the intimidation.
“On those grounds, the council has reached the decision to terminate the academic learning and teaching activity of 2016,” he said.
The council has also suspended the constitution of the Student Representative Council of UPNG for 2016.
Pro-chancellor Camilus Narakobi said the council’s decision was within the law.
Mann said the council’s decision included the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
But he said the open campuses and certain selected post-graduate programmes, satellite and partnership programmes going on would not be affected.
“We have activities where certain departments have students taking post-graduate courses in their own environment. Those will continue.”