PNG govt and universities in talks over class boycotts

2:58 pm on 16 June 2016

Papua New Guinea's government has met with management of the country's state-run universities for talks on how to salvage the academic year.

Students gather on the UPNG campus.

Students gather on the UPNG campus. Photo: UPNG4PNG

This comes amid ongoing boycotts of classes by students as part of their demand for the prime minister Peter O'Neill to stand aside over fraud allegations.

University administrations have been urging students to end the boycotts that have been in place since early May.

This week there were violent clashes at the University of Goroka and the University of Technology in Lae over student divisions about whether to continue the boycott.

Fighting between university students spread through Goroka quickly.

Fighting between university students spread through Goroka quickly. Photo: Supplied

This followed unrest at the University of PNG in Port Moresby last week which left dozens hospitalised when police opened fire on students as they tried to march to parliament.

The Post Courier reports the chief secretary to government, Isaac Lupari, warning of penalties if students don't adhere to instructions from their respective university administrations.

He has met with vice-chancellors from the University of PNG, Unitech, University of Goroka and University of Natural Resources and Environment, to discuss a way forward, with final talks scheduled for next week.

A student awareness forum in Goroka.

A student awareness forum in Goroka. Photo: UPNG4PNG

Meanwhile, at the University of Goroka students were reportedly being moved out of campus with the help of the administration and various provincial governments around the country.

Those at Lae Unitech were still boycotting classes despite calls by the administration to return to classes and at UPNG, students were handed pre-registration forms to fill in which should be completed by the end of the week.

However after last week's shootings, many students are staying away from the UPNG.

Mr Lupari urged the students to think seriously about going back to classes.

An announcement as to the outcome of the meeting with vice-chancellors will be made next week, according to the Post Courier.

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