VERONA - It is clear that the university councils of the PNG University of Technology (UNITECH) and the University of Resources and Environment (UNRE) are unable to govern.
It is also clear that in both cases, the management and senior staff colluded with council to chase expatriate vice chancellors out of the country.
Meanwhile, at UNITECH, the University of PNG and the University of Goroka, the student representative councils remain suspended.
At UNITECH, the facts demonstrate that management is no longer complying with the law and is negligent in many ways.
For example, students were promised elections for their council (SRC) in February 2018 based on a modified constitution to be approved by university council. Silence.
UNITECH management has known for about a year that providing a 15% allowance instead of leave fares is illegal. This is no small amount. Senior staff and the whole management team receive in excess of K5,000 per year, some even K10,000. Non-academic staff receives a pittance.
Management has also known for about a year that the imputed rent for staff houses is too low and needs to be included as part of the taxable income to comply with PNG internal revenue commission instructions. It does not comply.
UNITECH management has been presented with a financial audit of the library which demonstrates widespread theft and mismanagement. The external audit board chaired by Treasury will demand compliance. Soon, I hope.
In an effort to buy "social peace", management has been using university resources to pay for staff recreational activities – a kind of institutional bribery.
And, in a separate case, the management of University Development Consultancy Ltd has stated it needs to transfer the land titles of the suburban area known as Tent City, valued at K3 million, to customary land to avoid a law suit.
These are examples of university management issues that, whether deliberately manipulated or just outcomes of inefficiency, result in capability problems, significant ethical dilemmas and the deterioration of what the national interest demands – a competent and respected higher education system.
Papua New Guinea is fortunate indeed to be part of an international structure that enables its best and brightest students to study overseas – and they are people of the highest quality despite deteriorating university governance. So far.
As I said in recent tweet: "Callous, cold-hearted and extremely selfish are those brand values of the PNG government, while its wonderful, warm and welcoming people continue to suffer."