Solomon Islands Government will be informed accordingly and in due course of the operational status of the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), Papua New Guinea University of Technology (UNITECH) and University of Goroka for the rest of this academic year in light of the ongoing students’ protest situation in the biggest Melanesian state.
The Solomon Islands High Commission issued the advisory following disruptions to these institutions’ first semester programmes by the protests staged by local students for the Prime Minister Hon Peter O’Neill to step aside to allow for investigations into allegations of him not handling the economy well.
The Solomon Islands High Commission in Port Moresby said the senates and councils of the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), the Lae-based UNITECH and University of Goroka will be advising their stakeholders, partners, students and the public of their plans to conclude and manage Semester One and Two in due course, in light of the ongoing protest situation.
It added that it will become clearer to determine the operational status of these institutions for the remaining part of the first semester and the rest of the 2016 Academic Year after next Tuesday, 14th June.
The Solomon Islands High Commission said a total of 125 Solomon Islanders are studying at the three institutions and of this figure, 43 are at the UPNG Waigani Campus, 18 at the UPNG Taurama Campus, 35 at the UNITECH and 29 at the University of Goroka.
The High Commission said the 43 students at the UPNG Waigani Campus and seven of the 18 students at the UPNG Taurama Campus were moved to Ponderosa Hotel in Port Moresby to ease any possible psychological effect from the police open fire incident that occurred at the Waigani Campus.
It said the remaining Solomon Islands students at UPNG Taurama Campus are undertaking work attachments in Port Moresby and other hospitals in PNG and these students are all safe at their respective work places.
As for Solomon Islands students at the UNITECH, the High Commission said the students are also safe on campus, adding that the purpose of police presence on the campus is to control movement of students to and from the institution in light of the UPNG Waigani Campus incident.
In regards to the University of Goroka Solomon Islands students, the Solomon Islands High Commission in Port Moresby said the students are also safe on campus.
The High Commission said it is when the senates and councils of these three tertiary institutions issue their advisories on plans to conclude and manage ‘Semester One and Two of the 2016 Academic Year’ that it will be in a position to advise relevant Solomon Islands Government authorities as to whether it is appropriate to make arrangements for the students to travel home.
The High Commission also advised that it is imperative for the students to indicate their willingness to return to classes to avoid any misunderstanding by the management of these institutions when re-enrolling these students in the future.
The Solomon Islands High Commission in Port Moresby meanwhile said with the Solomon Islands students from the UPNG Waigani and Taurama campuses now living off campus, it would be prudent of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury and the Ministry of Education and Human Resources to compound their assistance in supporting it sustain the students until the UPNG Senate and Council declare the status of the institution’s semester one and the rest of the 2016 academic year.