By JULIA DAIA BORE
THE director-general of the Office of Higher Education (OHE), Dr William Tagis, has questioned the effectiveness of the security management of the University of Technology in Lae, The National reports.
He said there had been student deaths in the past five years, with the recent one last Thursday when a first year engineering student from East Sepik was killed, allegedly at the hands of a highlands student or students.
“A death or deaths, even injuries, of any student at a university campus, is a very serious matter,” Tagis said yesterday.
“No university should allow ethnic groupings.
“Such activities must be stopped because they are not helping anyone,” he added.
Tagis said Unitech should instead encourage “academic groupings” which he said were more healthy as they were made up of mixed groupings of students from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Tagis said about a year or two ago, there was another killing of a highlands student, followed by heightened unrest on that campus with another student being badly-injured.
Last week, the first year engineering student was killed.
“A university that is allowing such continuing unrest brings about questions about the executive management of the institution; particularly, its management of security system of all living on campus – students and staff like.
“Students must feel safe to study and move about on a university campus.
“With the continuing deaths of students, there must be questions as to the effectiveness of its administration, particularly security.
“It brings to my mind why there is no disciplinary control in a university campus,” Tagis said.
He pointed out that “ethnic groupings” must not be allowed and called on the Unitech administration to immediately do away with such practices by its students on campus.
He said it encouraged the breeding grounds of the current on-going ethnic clashes leading to killings of innocent students whose reasons for being in a higher education institution was to gain valuable education which would benefit PNG.
Tagis dispatched one of his senior officers to the university on Monday and expected him to return with information of what was really going on.
He said based on this information, his office would make its next moves to assist Unitech to reach a long-term objective on better control of the safety of students on campus.