By Theckla Gunga – EMTV News, Port Moresby
A number of classes at the University of Papua New Guinea were suspended yesterday, March 4th after lecturers did not turn up for classes. The UPNG Acting Registrar, Eswih Enoch, in a circular addressed to all UPNG Staff, advised that the announcement made by the National Academic Staff Association (NASA) last Friday to withdraw teaching services, was illegal.
However, lecturers did not turn up for classes; these include classes from the School of Business and Administration, Humanities and Social Sciences, including Law. The no-show by lectures comes after an announcement by NASA for all academic staff to withdraw teaching and research services as of yesterday, March 4th.
The call to withdraw teaching services comes three days after the termination of UPNG’s former Registrar, Peter Petsul. Petsul was appointed in January and served only one month. His appointment was during the time when UPNG Management announced the 30 per cent increase in tuition fees for the 2019 academic year. Days after the announcement, the new appointed UPNG Chancellor, Jeffrey Kennedy, came out saying the university will not be charging the 30 per cent increase. However, some parents had already paid the tuition fees including the announced 30 per cent increase.
Petsul then came out in the media clarifying that the university will continue to charge the 30 per cent increase until a formal arrangement is reached and in black and white. Former UPNG Registrar, Peter Petsul, was served his termination letter by the Higher Education Minister’s Appointed Committee last Wednesday February 27th. Before leaving the office, Petsul released a circular announcing his termination and urging all lecturers to continue to do what is right.
Meanwhile, a notice from the acting registrar was pinned up at the entrance into the Waigani campus, informing staff and students that the plans to withdraw teaching services were illegal.