27 May, 2016, 12:00 am
PNG – There is no money to help students being evicted from the University of Papua New Guinea to return home to their provinces, according to the Higher Education Minister.
Malakai Tabar’s comment comes after the UPNG suspended the first semester on Wednesday and gave about 5000 students occupying its campuses 48 hours to leave.
For about four weeks they’ve boycotted their classes while demanding that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill stand aside and face police questioning over an alleged fraud case.
Student leaders are demanding that the university flies them home because most stay in dormitories on the campus.
But Mr Tabar indicated they’re on their own.
“We don’t have any money to send anybody home. If they want to go home, they go home on their own,” he said.
The minister urged students to allow the university to resume normal business as much as possible.
“You have to be around when the university calls you up for re-enrolment, you must enrol. If you’re not there and you don’t enrol, you’ve made yourself unavailable, you’ve lost your scholarship. End of the story,” he said.
Mr Tabar said the students’ boycotts brought complications to the whole university system and that staff were trying their best to prevent the whole academic year becoming a write-off.
Meanwhile, Mr O’Neill has been clear in his response to the students’ demands that he will not resign, because matters they are protesting about are still before the courts.