The Unitech saga has now turned into a political stand-off between students and the Higher Education Minister.
Unitech student leaders said today in Lae that, establishing a State Of Emergency (SOE)won’t solve Unitech’s problem.
SRC president, Eddy Nagual says students are waiting to see the University turned into an SOE but won’t back off from their demand.
The SRC president was responding to the Higher Education Minister, Delilah Gore’s move to impose a state of emergency at UNITECH if students don’t end their boycott of classes.
The focus this time is on Ms Gore after she announced on Thursday in a statement that the University of Technology will be closed for this year and an SOE imposed if students prolong the boycott.
But the Unitech SRC President, Eddy Nagual, responded yesterday saying “… to the minister responsible, Delilah Gore, … you are hiding behind media statements. You must come and face the situation if you are a responsible mother and a responsible minister of the day. Face the situation.”
The Higher Education Minister warned the students that if they don’t comply and go back to classes she will make a recommendation to the NEC to close down the Unitech’s 2014 academic year.
For the past two weeks the University of Technology has been a centre of tension. Although the returning of Dr Albert Schram remained the centre of the boycott, there are also other issues that the students have talked about.
“We are not boycotting classes for no reason. We are doing this because our library books are out-dated, our labs are run down. These are the issues. We need professional staff. Academics who can sustain our education. This is all we desire.”
While many people have predicted a violent boycott, the students have maintained a peaceful demonstration preventing any hint of trouble.
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill has also responded to the Unitech boycott stating that he is in support of Minister Gore’s stand in closing down Unitech’s 2014 academic year if the students do not end the boycott. Mr O’Neill also issued a strong statement to the student leaders telling them not to tell the government what to do.
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