18 Jul 2005

Talks continue in efforts to avoid PNG university shut down

6:56 pm on 18 July 2005

Talks over student protests are continuing between the Academic Senate, the vice chancellor and student representatives at the University of Papua New Guinea.

The Higher Education minister Brian Pulayasi met today with students to hear their demands over a grading system and other concerns, and calls for vice-chancellor Les Eastcott to resign.

However Mr Pulayasi says he cannot remove the vice-chancellor or any university administration staff because the University Act doesn't allow it.

The minister plans to meet the students againt tomorrow to respond to their issues.

Meanwhile, it's unclear whether the negotiations between the Academic Senate, the vice chancellor and student representatives will bring an end to protests which saw heated demonstration marches on campus last week.

The demonstrations prompted the Academic Senate to issue a warning on Friday that it would terminate its 2005 academic year if protesting students didn't return to classes by today.

However, few students resumed normal classes today, and a Student Representative Council spokesman says there will be no classes tomorrow.