19 Jul 2005

Papua New Guinea minister agrees to some student demands

1:14 pm on 19 July 2005

Papua New Guinea's higher education minister, Brian Pulayasi, has agreed to meet some of the demands put forward by university student representatives.

This follows protests last week at the University of PNG in the capital, Port Moresby, which saw the torching of cars and large student rallies over its grading policy and other issues.

Mr Pulayasi says he will organise an independent party to review the grading system.

But, he says the students' stay-away from classes must end, and he's refusing to sack the university vice-chancellor.

"This is the best that I can do. I do not want to be seen as a dictator here, dictating the council. I have almost resolved all matters, there is one matter which has almost come to a deadlock, which is the resignation of the administration, and I've told the students that I really don't have the powers to do that."

PNG's minister for higher education, Brian Pulayasi.

Many students have been staying away from classes for a week in a protest over the grading system which they claim has been interfered with by university staff, to exclude underperforming students.