outback to jungle

Musings on experiences of volunteering in Papua New Guinea with some gratuitous domestic social and public comment

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

from the National Wed 14 March

"NASA members resign en masse. By PETER KORUGL.
ALL MEMBERS of the National Academic Staff have resigned en masse from their respective jobs in protest over the way they were treated by the Lae-based PNG University of Technology.Their resignations have thrown the entire 2007 academic year into doubt.Sixty-four members, from both the Taraka and Bulolo campuses, handed in their resignations to the university administration on Monday and yesterday handed copies to the University Council and the Office of Higher Education.“We were forced into doing this. We want the students to understand our action and maintain calm,” Dr Loko Anota, caretaker president of NASA said.“There is still time for the council to reconsider. There are still three more days before Monday” he said, after he and his team returned from a meeting with Ombudsman John ToGuata and Dr William Takis from the Office of Higher Education and council members.“The NASA members have resolved to collectively and individually submit their resignations to the registrar of the PNG University of Technology effective as of 10pm, Sunday, March11.“We therefore, request that all our severance benefits and entitlement be sorted out immediately,” the staff said in their letter.They wrote that “regrettably the decision was based on the fact that we have lost total confidence in the current senior executive management (SEM) and the council, hence our resignation en mass.”In the letter addressed to the registrar, they said this would have been avoided of the SEM were sidelined to allow for an independent investigation to take its course.“We have come to realise and learn today that the SEM is part of the council. NASA’s case against the SEM not only has been downplayed but that council has employed heavy handed tactics and intimidation against NASA members and executives, which are disproportionately excessive and highly traumatising for members and their families to bear.“This cannot be tolerated any more and enough is enough,” they explained in their letter.The resignations affect the 13 academic departments and the distance education program run by the university. Ten of the members have PhDs, most with masters and a few with bachelors’ degrees. All have been with Unitech for 15 years or more.Following the mass resignation, students urged the Government to intervene and get the local academics to return to classes on Monday.“The Government must step in, sidelined the senior management and bring the lecturers back to classes,” a student said. The Minister for High Education David Basua last night sent a letter, congratulating the NASA members for signing the memorandum of agreement on Monday night.Mr Basua said following the agreement, the NASA members should return to their classes.“I never signed any agreement. The minister has been misinformed,” Dr Anota said."


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