13 Jul 2005

University of PNG row still unresolved

7:06 pm on 13 July 2005

A row between the University of Papua New Guinea and its students over the grading system is still unresolved, three days after up to 300 students torched three vehicles on the campus.

Police also turned down a request by the students to march to Parliament to present a 2000-signature petition complaining about grades, the conversion of a chapel into a lecture room, a no-refund policy on student fees, book and stationery prices, cafeteria food, and the "running down" of education.

UPNG Vice-Chancellor Leslie Eastcott says the grading protests are being led by a small minority of underperforming students who have managed to mis-lead many.

Mr Eastcott says the university will not move on the issue.

"There is a general belief that the integrity of a university is dependant on the integrity of grades and the univerity council expects the academic staff, the executive deans and the vice-chancellor to stand firm on that issue. In other words, not give in to the anger of a limited group of people."

Mr Eastcott says many of the other minor issues have either been dealt with or are just distractions.

He says he has the support of the PNG government.

Student leaders were unavailable for comment.