27 Sep 2010

PNG university says classes set to resume after ethnic violence disruptions

2:48 pm on 27 September 2010

Staff at the University of Technology in Lae, in Papua New Guinea, say lectures will continue until the end of the year despite a student petition calling for the academic year to finish early.

Classes at the Taraka campus have been disrupted this month following violent clashes between students from Sepik and Highlands and the killing of a student from East Sepik Province.

The CEO and Vice Chancellor of the University Dr Misty Baloiloi says the university council met over the weekend to discuss a strategy on the way forward and decided lectures will resume this Thursday.

He says students who left campus last week are being encouraged to return and both parties involved in the ethnic tensions have agreed not to disrupt the rest of the academic year.

"There'll be a process of compensation payment to be done and in particular to the relatives of the deceased. In Papua New Guinea culture this is what we call bel kol money. It's a formal restitution but it's basically to ease tensions and to demonstrate that the parties involved are sorry."

Dr Misty Baloiloi says in due time both parties will complete a formal reconciliation process.