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University of Goroka Top Management Team Members sacked

The University of Goroka Interim Council, following its most recent meeting on the 17th of November has taken the decision to terminate three former Top Management Team Members- they are the former Vice Chancellor, Dr Gairo Onagi and his two deputies- Dr Michael Mel and Dr James Yoko. The decision was the most difficult one to take, says the Chancellor of the Interim Council, Joseph Sukwianomb who released statement on behalf of his council. These decisions, harsh as they are, are indeed meant to restore and inculcate that fast disappearing public confidence in institutions of the state; especially in the apparent failings of the roles and duties of custodial and stewardship mandates placed on public officials. The most recent report produced by the Investigation Committee set up by the Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Malaki Tabar found serious adverse findings against the three former top administrators. 

This final verdict was reached following a series of proper and due care given to the legal and administrative processes in recent months. Since the two months of student unrest at UOG was arrested, and normalcy and stability was brought to bear on the campus with staff and students returning to class on or about 21st of September 2015. The Government intervention through the Minister was seen by many as godsend. 

This last resort, which is the ultimate punitive action against the former university administrators, followed from the findings of adverse nature relating to the use and abuse of public funds given to the University of Goroka, in letting of contract exceeding millions of kina without following proper legal systems and processes in place. There have been instances of senior officers in the bursary and other critical divisions within the university that have been allowed to “double dip” by false pretence and these have been allowed to run unchecked or unaccounted for by those who have the charge to run and operate a public institutions of higher education such as the University of Goroka.

With the three former administrators gone, there is a “new leaf”, a feeling of fresher and more willing spirit of moving a major teacher training college moving forward. The final week of semester two for 2015 ends today (30th of November 2015), students are now returning back to their communities and loved ones. Most of the final years will graduate early next year, while others will continue next year. More new intake for the 2016 academic year will be enlisted and allowed in, with the announcement that UOG fees structure remains at the 2015 level. The council has taken this decision to assist many families who have seen the effects of El Nino and of course in recent times the down turn in economic performance in PNG.

Chancellor Sukwianomb also hinted that his interim council will also do an audit of all academic and research programmes at the University of Goroka, to take stock and decide on which programmes and disciplines to keep and others will have to be either farmed out or trimmed or even eliminated. Improving and maintaining quality in university s education and more so for a teacher training university is paramount in any reforms in education and training.

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