O’Neill’s Economic recklessness Affecting Students

by STEVEN ANDRE
 
CALL TO STUDENT PROTESTS
As the country is plagued by the consequences of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s economic mismanagement and corruption, it has now reverberated to places that no developing country would dream of –the education sector.
NO MONEY FOR TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS

To start with, the Government does not have the money to drive the commencement of this academic year. As was revealed by the Office of Higher Education recently, the Higher education needs K45 million to kick-start the schooling year and there appears to be no indication on the availability of those funds. Given the shortage of cash and the competing interests, the last thing O’Neill would want is for the students to take it to the streets in protests.

UNEXPECTED INCREASE IN GPA

The increase in GPA benchmark for scholarships was never communicated to the students last year so as to incentivize the students to worker harder to pass it. The students had a legitimate expectation to work with the previous threshold. The Government’s abrupt decision to accommodate O’Neill’s corruption and mismanagement at the eleventh hour has now affected many students around the country. Why would the students, who are the future of this country, have to pay for one person’s stupidity and greed?
In a radio interview with current issues on NBC, Professor David Kavanamur (Secretary for Department of Higher Education) explained the reason for the increase as shortage of funds. The sudden surge in GPA limit has not only affected the continuing students, but the fresh ones who would potentially enter the tertiary institutions.

NON-PAYMENT OF STUDENT ALLOWANCES

In compensating for the students who fought hard through demonstrations/protests to unseat the Somare Government (illegally though) in 2011, the O’Neill Government promised to pay the students fortnightly/monthly allowances. After the students power was tamed, O’Neill quickly stopped this arrangement.

UPNG GAMES VILLAGE

UPNG Games village was built on UPNG land and the Prime Minister and the Sports Minister in no uncertain terms publicly announced that after the games, the lodging compound would be handed over to the university for students’ accommodation. Currently, the students’ accommodation dormitories at UPNG are in total unlivable conditions and the news of the new dormitories was relieving.

We now hear that PM’s favorite minister for sports is unwilling to handover the Games village to UPNG, saying that the students do not deserve such a classy facility. Instead, the controversial minister wants to keep the premises to rent it out and make some money.
These are buildings erected on UPNG soil with PNG taxpayers’ money on the undertaking that once the games are over; they would be handed over to UPNG to ease the pressing needs for student accommodation. And you tell me some naturalized minister doesn’t think Papua New Guinean students are worthy of these dormitories??? That’s discriminatory at its worst form!!!! The Minister should look at the UOG dormitories built by the same Chinese contractors with Chinese money. Is there anything different? Pacific Games Village in 1991 was built on State land and Police moved into it after the games.

SOUTH WEST PACIFIC UNIVERSITY SCAM

Whilst the existing Universities are in dire need of attention and financial support, the Prime Minister deems it’s viable to build a South West Pacific University in his electorate. The school was projected to have its first intake in 2017. However, no single building is erected on that school yet. The Government is pumping in millions of kina but all you see on the ground is nothing.

DROP IN UNIVERSITY STANDARDS

There has been notable drop in the University standards in all our universities, but mostly UPNG and Unitech. The standard of academic delivery and resources materials are below the par and far worse than when some of us went to these schools. Is the Government doing something about the quality of education in our higher institutions? I doubt it!!

TO YOU STUDENTS AND PARENTS

This is the opportune time to rise up. Do it before the academic year starts so that you have ample time to demand for answers. It’s now or never.
I can imagine the times when we would be patriotic, fighting for issues that concerned the country at not ourselves (students). We burnt cars, took to the streets, sacrificed lives. Those were good old days when universities voices were so powerful in dictating political discourse. Not any more!
Now you have national issues glaring right under the their noses, but no student has the nationalistic stamina to rise up.

If National issues do not trigger your blood veins to raise your voices, then it is now threatening your very survival and future. Are you students going to continue to suffer in silence? These bad decisions are claiming a portion, if not all, of your future!!

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