22 Mar 2007

PNG's govt says wants proposed changes to Higher Education Act worded carefully

7:53 am on 22 March 2007

Papua New Guinea's government says proposed changes to the Higher Education Act would have to be carefully worded so as not to let university issues become politicised.

The Higher Education Minister, David Basua, has made a submission for amendments to the Higher Education Act which will give him more powers to act in times of crisis at a university.

Under the current Act, the government has been unable to intervene in the kind of unrest seen recently at the University of Technology in Lae.

Mr Basua says such unrest is now a regular occurrence across PNG's five universities.

Currently decisions on these issues rest exclusively with the University Councils.

But the Minister says he doesn't want the role of councils to be undermined by the changes.

"I got National Executive Council approval as to this very move and, you see, it's open for discussions with the chancellors. It just appeared on paper now so I expect some suggestions and positive criticism as well as negative ones. It's not in itself a final decision yet."