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Students ‘won’t back down’

Wednesday 25 May 2016 | Published in Regional

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PAPUA NEW GUINEA– Protesting university students in Papua New Guinea say they will not back down from their calls for the prime minister to resign.

This is despite Peter O’Neill issuing a detailed statement answering the students’ petition demands and stating that he had no intention of doing stepping down.

The detailed written response addressed some of the issues raised in the student petition but said that several of the concerns were before the courts and could not be commented on.

The Vice President of the student representative council at the University of PNG, Arthur Amos, said students across the country remained united in their cause.

“The University of Papua New Guinea, Unitech in Lae, The University of Goroka plus the Vudal University in East New Britain – we are still fighting this fight and we are not going to back down,” he said.

“Our demand for a mass withdrawal is still going to happen. And right now we are sending students from the respective provinces to their own provinces to do awareness about the current economic crisis that the country is facing and the continuous abuse of the prime minister’s office,” Amos said.

‘Innocent’ students victimised

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Many students are claiming they have ben innocently punished for the protest and boycott of classes that led to the suspension of the first semester at the University of Papua New Guinea.

A number say they are outraged at the turn of events and want education authorities to intervene on their behalf.

They say they want to complete their education this year and do not want to be because victimised of the actions of the protesting Students’ Representative Council and its team of followers.

Among them are some students from Pacific island countries who are studying at the UPNG Waigani campus who said have just been “mere spectators” to the protests.

The students are calling on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and government authorities to intervene to find a better solution and allow them a chance to continue their education.

“The boycott of classes at UPNG led by the SRC president and his other teams has entered into fourth week and is causing frustration among us other students,” a spokesperson told the Post-Courier newspaper.

“There are no strategies put in place by the SRC president to address the issue, or come out clear and address the students of what’s the next move.

“It is being heard that the account of the SRC has been frozen, and they are now asking the student body to help fund their trip to the provinces so that they can conduct their awareness campaign.

“The so-called leaders of the UPNG are out of their mind, they should assess the situation at the moment and see what’s best for us, as we all came here to be educated.

“Our parents wasted their hard earned cash, the students are now losing focus on why they are here at UPNG – some are walking around aimlessly and resorting to drinking beer to forget about their situation,” the spokesperson said.

- Post-Courier/PNC