Thursday 7th March, Port Moresby – The Minister of Higher Education Research Science and Technology, Pila Ninigi, must immediately inform the public on the selection and vetting process used to appoint members to the interim council of the University of Papua new Guinea (UPNG) says anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International PNG (TIPNG).
It is in the public interest that serious allegations of undue influence at the highest level are dispelled. This will also allow the start of the UPNG academic year to be returned to normalcy and ensure the education of UPNG students is not jeopardized. Failure to demonstrate that tests of proper and fit character were applied in the recruitment of the interim council will only exacerbate the anger on campus.
The University of Papua New Guinea as a public institution should be open and transparent in its management, both to the general public and to the staff and students of UPNG.
TIPNG stands by the belief that citizens of Papua New Guinea hold the Higher Education in the highest regard and deserve a clear and open response from the minister with regards to the way in which the interim council was appointed. The minister has been given extra powers that allow him to hire and fire senior officers at will. TIPNG’s call is that he make public the appointment process used in the interest of transparency.
According to a public statement released by the HERST Minister in January, interim council members have been selected based on their expertise and their independence of previous involvement in UPNG governance or management.
TIPNG welcomes drawing on this pool of expertise and experience to better manage the university, so long as proper processes that are in place to make such appointments are strictly followed, and more importantly, are made public.