PNG University Students present petition to Government

 Papua New Guinea University of Natural Resources and Environment  (PNGUNRE) students have presented a petition to  country's higher education minister  Raminai, calling on the Governing Council and SMT to be suspended. This happened after a month long of student protest the university

The minister visited the university on Friday 4th June to receive the student petition that called for immediate suspension of the Governing Council and Senior Management Team (SMT). 

Minister and his delegation tour around the campus with the students

The student petition comes after series of unattended correspondences sent to the University administration. 

The petition contained the following: that all departments must be headed by professors and PhD holders; that all course modules must be reduced to four years; that all third year students must undergo six months industrial training; that there must be driving licenses be issued; that UNRE Farm must be rehabilitated and funded and there must be improvement made on security arrangements.        

“We have submitted three letters to the University Administration but all fell on deaf ears, said the SRC President, Mr. James Waikila. 

“My Minister, we have evidence to prove that we have lost confidence on the current SMT and University Council in which one incidence is to do with lecturers boycotting classes for two days from 26th April to 27th April 2021”, continued the SRC President. 

The Minister for DHERST, Hon. Wesley Raminai, received the petition and addressed the student body by encouraging them to stay committed to their studies, and explained them the possible legitimate processes to addressing their issues.  He said the UNRE has By-laws and Regulations, as well as the Acts of Parliament relating to Higher Education Sector. He continued that every decision he makes must be made within the ambit of law and in consultative approach, and this means speaking to the Prime Minister to attain the common grounds beneficial to all parties. 

Minister Raminai was taken on tour by the student leaders, seeing for himself the campus facilities and farms.  He saw the appalling conditions of the university infrastructure and assured the students and staff that in his capacity as Minister he will find funds to support the ailing university. 

This week, the rift between the students and SMT have attained a positive note with the staff and SMT apologising to the students and vice versa.

Minister Raminai is in close communication with all parties so that the interest of the parents, government and other stakeholders are best handled with due care and intelligence.  

The MP for Kagua Erave, reminded the students that much of what is continued in the petition is an administrative matter, and it is something the University Administration and Council should have acted quickly to address these issues rather than ignoring them. 

In the coming weeks, the DHERST Minister will carefully study the Student Petition  in close consultation with all concerned parties and make a Ministerial Statement regarding the issues raised. 

Meanwhile, the minister for Sports and Higher Education, Research, Science & Technology is appealing to the students to return to classes and sit for their semester examinations and also request the staff to deliver their lectures and amicably administer the semester examinations as part of their professional duties contracted to the university, serving the interest of the Government of Papua New Guinea. 


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