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Reasons why students want Albert Shram back.

By SAMUEL MAGIRI

Hardly any talented European comes to our university and we struggled for more than a year to bring back damn good VC Albert Shram. Today Unitech is a dark room with no air movement only Shram can unlock this place and make it move again.

1.     Government made a mediation report in 2012 and Sevua report in 2013 and nothing was found wrong with Shram. An innocent man but Minister Arore says he will not let Shram back because of national security concern and instability.  This doesn’t fit the black and white facts- Unitech students are fine when Shram was here. The only instability incidents were 1) when ex chancellor Phillip Stag illegally tried to run Shram off campus in middle 2012 and students chased off Stagg, 2) when government illegally kept Shram from re-entering PNG in December 2012 and we boycotted. These 2 incidents were caused by petty politics of people outside campus. If Shram has become a national security threat to corrupt and lazy people we should welcome that!

2.     PNG law says only Unitech council, not minister for higher education can hire or sack VC. If Shram broke any law it is a matter for the courts no the OHE minister.

3.     We do not want to see a new untested VC either national or expat. Misti Baloiloi stayed glued to Unitech for 15 years because he helped corrupt council. If we get another corrupt VC they'll be here forever and destroy this place. A new and untested VC could be a disaster in any case.   A new expat VC could surprise us by going corrupt like Gelot HOD of electrical engineering who came in on American passport. The acting VC we have now Dr Jon Pumwa has already failed the leadership test.  Not inspiring. Never comes out with dreams or plans. Tries to convince everyone things are good when it’s not. It was a chance given to us by God when Shram applied to lead Unitech.  Most expats at Unitech are from developing countries and only come for money.  

4.     Shram is from Europe with developed mind. Shram gets A marks for his leadership in only a few months.  First new staffs housing in 40 years built specially for new expat teachers. Roads fixed after years of potholes.  Shram started project to fix the waste treatment plant. The money received was recently used to buy equipment that can fix other Unitech roads.  Shram was working to improve mess food by investigating the heart of the matter. Was negotiating with publishers in India to bring cheaper textbooks to PNG. All kinds of things we saw with our eyes. This guy knows the importance of checking out things for himself instead of sitting in his office like Pumwa. Most of the highly educated nationals at Unitech act above everyone and never reach out. Acting VC Pumwa doesn't talk with average Joe students except in his own department. No apparent interest in student survival pains and was in back of the big increase in school fees. Dr Shram walked around a lot, visited dorms.  Ate in the mess with us. Spent much time not only with student leaders talking to everyone. Showed a genuine heart for our problems and doing his best to improve things. Those who show they have a heart for students will help students the most that’s proven fact. 

5.     This year acting VC Jon Pumwa made Unitech staffs angry for deciding things without consulting first. Tried to stop staffs families from running small business to make ends meet. Tried to make a rule saying no relatives over 18 allowed in Unitech housing that almost started revolution.  You never know when this bomb explodes or makes crazy decision.  Never admits wrong.  Closes his eyes like he never made the decision when he sees it going to disaster! Shram proved he listens to student views and other opinions before making decision.  Was always happy to explain clearly to us what he wants to do and why.

6.     Unitech teachers who have been here for years have nothing fresh to offer. Every year they do the same thing in class.  Few national teachers go overseas but no interest in educating others what they learnt when they get back and don't seem able to explain much anyway. Most expat teachers will story if we ask and teach us new ways of doing things. Brains full of new ideas and good ways to do development from the best ones.  Create vibrant environments that give energy to students and makes studies interesting. We students need to have teachers and leaders at Unitech who lived most of their lives in developed countries.  That perspective will benefit our education and will give us better chances to get good jobs when we get out. Unitech needs these people but few want to come. They read stories of PNG corruption then see a national in charge at Unitech and think the whole place is corrupt. Shram is a welcome Unitech light shining out to the world.  He can attract good teachers from overseas better than any national VC because he’s from a developed country.   His presence sends positive signals to unsteady overseas applicants that it’s ok to try out PNG.

7.     Proven willingness to connect with the right people in the world. Brought in student exchange programme with universities in America that is now working. Former SRC president now studying in Spain on this program.  Shram and Prof Satter was putting together joint DWU-Unitech entrepreneur program to improve Unitech students to compete. VC Pumwa went overseas to help his own department mechanical engineering only.  Favours his friends and department. Shows less interest networking with others. 

8.     When money at Unitech is misused it can’t be used on our education.  We can only stop corruption if the guilty are severely punished! This year acting VC Jon Pumwa would not touch slack teachers he left it to Satter who didn't do much. Mismanagement became intolerable in business studies by the African woman Binta but it was staffs in the department who pushed her out when acting VC did nothing.  Court case against old VC Misti Baloiloi and others was thrown out of court for some reason and no word what Unitech is doing about that.  Corrupt staffs and teachers still at Unitech hoping that if Shram is gone for good it goes back to business as usual. Shram removed several staff and teachers for failing to do the job when he was here.  He saw corruption and was removing it.   Lazy staffs didn't like him. Corrupt HODs worried that illegal money making activities would be found out by Shram like what Gonduan did in architecture. Dr Shram is proven honest and zero tolerance for corruption. After Shram left we don't hear much about cleaning up corruption at Unitech and what happened to court case against Baloiloi? 

9.     Our own people start helping wantoks sooner or later.   Shram came from another environment, he is the only one who we can have any hope will decide everything on basis of merit. Also he doesn't have big family obligations or problems like in PNG to pull him away constantly from his work.


10. How can we learn properly when Unitech library has too many useless books, teachers give us out of date stuffs or don't show up for class. Anyone who studied overseas looks back at Unitech graduates and laughs at how ignorant we are. Expanding job market in PNG especially with LNG project goes too much to people from China, India, Bangladesh, and Africa.  Unitech graduates don't get these jobs because of our poor qualification and knowledge. Only lucky few can find jobs overseas most get work at Eriku or loading boxes in the industrial area that’s our dark future. The big companies know that Unitech graduates are uneducated and hire hardly anyone. Unitech doesn't find out clearly from these companies how much we have to know as graduates to get employment with them and don't adjust the course work to fit these jobs. Shram didn't visit a developed country he actually grew up with those standards.  Knows deep down what must be done to improve our education to reach the level of a developed country.  He was pushing departments to listen to those who might employ us later but now he's gone and things sliding downhill again. VC Jon Pumwa destroyed Shram's plan to use new staffs housing to attract vibrant overseas teachers to give us better education and gave the houses to tired old national teachers. Acting VC and the rest of them keep pretending everything is fine and keep studying. After we graduate, we'll find company doors shut in our face more than before.  Immediate action is needed.  Only Shram cares enough about our future to try.