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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

PNG University of Technology to resume classes

The Council of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (PNGUOT) unanimously resolved to salvage the 2016 academic year, and established a tentative commencement date of 29 August 2016, pending approval by the Academic Board. The last days of exams would be 9 December 2016.

Considering the gravity, complexity, sensitivity, and multiplicity of circumstances and facts this decision was made after a very robust and extensive deliberation which included consideration of various options, all possible ramifications, and a comprehensive risk and benefit matrix.

The unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances of the case entail consideration of an extensive range of ramifications of which the major ones are:
• restoration of the rule of law and normalcy,
• consideration of Government decreed Commission of Enquiry and Imposition of Curfew,
• institutional safety and security,
• reconciliation and mediation between the disputing groups,
• institutional reputation,
• trauma counselling for students and staff,
• risks of losing TESAS students' scholarship,
• financial considerations,
• police and independent University investigations,
• status of the Student Representative Council (SRC),
• reconstruction of a temporary mess, and
• repairs and maintenance of dormitories.
The capital costs of the damage to the infrastructure is about K40M: K35M for the mess, K2M for DODL Department of Open and Distance Learning, K2M for ATCDI Appropriate Technology and Community Development Institute, and K1M to male halls of residence.

The university will make a special submission to the government, since without additional support it will be unable to finish the academic year within budget. The incremental operational costs for resuming classes until 21 June was around K4M due to increased costs for security and messing costs. With resumption on 29 August, another K8M will be spent, which has not been budgeted for. Any later resumption will entail higher costs.

Given the tight timeline and diverse range and complexity of challenges, Council also discussed in close consultation with management and laid out the following implementation principles and framework.

1. UNIVERSAL RULES OF ACADEMIA
It is therefore important to restore the sanctity of these universal tenets in the PNGUoT. The University is not only a national institution, but also a world class institution and must subscribe to the universal rules of academia and basic tenets of democracy in a liberalized democracy like Papua New Guinea.

2. SECURITY MEASURES
Security is and will continue to be paramount, because it fosters peaceful coexistence amongst people from diverse cultures and background in a learning institution. It also fosters harmony, good order and a conducive learning environment and atmosphere. The Council cannot in practical sense guarantee absolute security for everyone, but it has the fiduciary responsibility to manage security risk and ensure safety and protection of human life and property. It has, in close conjunction with security experts, put together a range of security measures which if activated will assist to restore security and normalcy. These are;
i. Curfew – The Government decreed curfew will be fully utilized to enforce a dusk to dawn curfew at the campus. This includes resource that will be available through funding and mobilization of police and private security guards (where necessary) to support the Uniforce.
ii. Commission of Enquiry – Management will coordinate with the Commission of Enquiry established by the Government.
iii. Police – Discussions and agreements will be entered into between the Metropolitan Superintendent and the Vice Chancellor for the mobilization of police on campus, strategic placements of police, rules of engagement including the power to arrest those carrying weapons or threatening others.

iv. Management will continue work to up skill and provide necessary equipment and resources to Uniforce to carry out its security duties and functions.
v. Management has been authorized by Council to engage an independent security expert to review the entire security arrangement and systems and organization of PNGUoT.
vi. In addition to assisting Police in the criminal investigation, management have also been authorized to undertake an independent investigation into the procurement, smuggling and use of illegal weapons in the campus and other illegal activities. Those culpable of such misdemeanours or crimes, will be subject to disciplinary action as well as criminal prosecution.

3. MEDIATION AND RECONCILIATION
Mediation and reconciliation is a critical component of this reparation and rebuilding process. Council notes the extent, magnitude and scope of the incidents at the PNGUoT has gone beyond its sphere of influence and control. It has therefore established a sub-committee to coordinate mediation and reconciliation, which will involve the National Government, the affected parties and the office of the Governors of Southern Highlands, Enga and Morobe respectively. This will include management and removal of the ‘haus krai’ and petition for compensation.

4. STUDENT AND CLASS RESUMPTION ADMINISTRATION
Council has a duty of care to honour and look after the best interest of the majority of students who are law abiding and who value their education. Council acknowledged that students were severely affected by the trauma, displacement, loss of personal property and will continue to have misgivings about their security and safety. This must also be balanced against the fact that students (in particular student leaders) should bear some responsibility for the degeneration of a peaceful boycott into a situation where violence and intimidation prevailed. Council took account of the following considerations in ensuring effective and smooth resumption of class and student administration:

Key Considerations
i. The students demographics is different with varying expectations, some sponsored by Government and others privately sponsored, varying faculty or course dynamics so there is no uniform solution for every student. In any event, management, heads of departments, their faculty members and their staff are requested to deal with student needs, enquiries and expectations on a case-by-case basis.
ii. Council has received first hand advice from the Department of Higher Education that students will automatically forfeit their TESAS (HECAS) SCHOLARSHIPS if classes do not resume this year and there is no guarantee that they will secure similar scholarship next year. This is compounded by the fact that they will compete against first year intakes for 2017.
Student Administration Restructure and Rationalization
i. The 2016 Student Representative Council (SRC) has been disbanded by the Council forthwith, and management have been requested to review the SRC bylaws, constitution and composition.
ii. Management will review the entire student code of conduct and update disciplinary process, systems and range of punishments.
iii. Student dormitory administration has been reorganized and revamped with a new dormitory administrator. He will take carriage of reviewing the personnel, systems and processes including security aspects of student dormitory administration.
iv. Management has been given approval by Council to secure an external contractor to repair all damaged dormitories.
v. Some students have reportedly lost personal properties. These cases will be dealt with on a case by case basis by the management. Students are urged to contact management and file a loss property report.

5. 2016 RE-OPENING PLAN
STUDENTS ARE REQUESTED TO CONTACT THE STUDENT ADMISSION OFFICE ON PHONE; 473 4215 OR 473 4888, EMAIL: john.laskam@pnguot.ac.pg , OR som.kendorop@pnguot.ac.pg FOR ALL STUDENT ENQUIRIES.

6. STUDENT ACCOMMODATION
Students’ halls of residence will be repaired in August. Students are not allowed to occupy any other room than the one they have been allocated. Regular room inspections will be held by student services and armed security guards. All alcohol and weapons will be impounded without restitution, and any offence will be dealt with through the revised students’ disciplinary system.

7. TEMPORARY MESS FACILITY
Temporary messing facilities have been set up in the Union Hall with limited capacity. Biometric access control will continue to be implemented.

8. STAFF & STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATION
The Council, through the Chancellor, met representatives of the staff in separate meetings through their respective associations namely, the National Academic Staff, the National Staff and the Non-Citizen Staff Association. Representatives at each of the meeting were candid and sincere and expressed concern about security with some mixed emotions, but have agreed in principle through their respective spokesperson to do their best to implement the Councils decision.
The Department of Higher Education was also consulted, through the Secretary of Higher Education, Professor David Kavanamur who is also a member of the Council.
The PNGUoT Management has set up a temporary information centre operating from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm to provide updates to concerned parents and stakeholders. Please call; 473 4283 or 473 4445, 473 4216 Email: jlaskam@admin.unitech.ac.pg / augustine.dominic@pnguot.ac.pg

REOPENING PLAN:
1. Re-Opening Plan finalized and validated Senior Executive Management (SEM) 25 July
2. Academic Board approves Calendar SEM 27 July
3. Reconciliation, Reconstruction, and Resumption Cost Submission SEM – Chief Secretary
29 July

4. Re-Opening Plan progress report to SEM Project Office (PO) 29 July
5. MoU with Police approved and signed SEM 12 August

6. Operational Arrangements with Lae MetSup and security companies approved and signed
CSO 12 August
7. Risk analysis and Security Plan from CCSA Asia approved and implementation on track
SEM12 August

8. Re-Opening Plan final report to SEM PO 12 August
9. Repairs to dormitories finished PO 12 August
10. MoU with Police SEM 12 August
11. Dormitories ready and arrival of students SEM 24 August
12. Registration Semester 1 SEM 25-26 August
13. Revision of Semester 1 (2 weeks) Head of Departments (HoDs) 27 August – 11 September
14. Resumption of classes SEM 29 August
15. High Level Reconciliation Chancellor – Chief Secretary Before 29th August
16. Examinations Semester 1 start HoDs 12 September
17. PNGUoT students' reconciliation SEM 16 September
18. Semester break HoDs 19-23 September
19. Start of Semester 2 HoDs 26 September 
20. Examinations Semester 2 starts HoDs 2 December, 2016.

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 2:29 AM. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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