UPNG versus State

National

By CHARLES MOI
THE University of PNG has taken the State to court over a decision to select students entering the institution through an online process which bypasses the university’s own selection criteria.
According to a copy of the originating summons obtained by The National last night, UPNG is seeking a court declaration that the university council is the legitimate authority to set the quota and the selection criteria to admit students into its programmes.
A UPNG spokesperson told The National that the defendants who had been served the court documents included the Department of Higher Education, Research and Technology acting secretary Fr Jan Czuba, Minister Pila Niningi and the State.
The academic year began in January.
The UPNG is also seeking a declaration from the court that the conduct of Czuba and Niningi in interfering with the academic activities of the university is illegal and therefore null and void.
It is also seeking a permanent injunction to restrain Czuba and Niningi, whether by themselves or by their servants or agents, from:

  • Conducting activities which compete against and undermines the interests and objectives of UPNG;
  • withdrawing Tertiary Education Student Assistance Scheme scholarships to any student on the UPNG list selected by itself and not the department despite meeting the Grade Point Average requirements; and,
  • Interfering in the academic activities of UPNG.

The case was filed by Kamen Lawyers representing UPNG at the Waigani National Court on March 21.
This is the first year the national online selection process is being implemented by the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology.
The process selects school
leavers for universities, colleges and vocational centres.
The UPNG contends that its council is the appropriate authority to select students and grant admission into its programmes.
It is the second time this year the State and the university had clashed over administrative matters.
The first was early this year over the university’s decision to
increase fees to cover its cost of operation.
This was resolved after the State paid UPNG money to get the academic year rolling.

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