January 18, 2018

Public outcry as University fees increases in Papua New Guinea

TWO groups of students attending the University of PNG are protesting the massive increases in fees this year and want the Government to help them.
Some of the fees have increased by nearly 200 per cent making it impossible for those from poor families to pay.
The university council increased the fees because the:

  • Government had decreased its allocation to the university in the 2018 budget; and,
  • Increase in the cost of essential utilities to maintain the operations of the university’s teaching and learning activities needs more funding.

The students’ unions from Morobe and Jiwaka are pleading with the Government and the university council to make the fees more reasonable, especially for those from poor families.
Peter Bari, the president of the Jiwaka Students’ Union, which represented more than 300 students at UPNG, said compulsory fees for the Waigani Campus students had increased from K2939 last year to K7500 in 2018.
The Taurama Campus Health Sciences compulsory fee has increased from K3029 to K7500 and Taurama Nursing from K3180 to K9005.
Bari said the increases were too high and some students would not be able to pay and would be deprived of their right to education at the highest level.
“Education is our right. We cannot be denied this right,” he said.
“Most parents cannot afford this fee because they are subsistence village people.
“We call on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the Higher Education Minister to discuss with the council a reasonable amount. We want to complete our studies.”
Bari, who will be into third year at the Natural and Physical Science programme, said students from Jiwaka who met on Jan 5 were calling on the four Jiwaka MPs to help them.
Third-year journalism student Gethrude Kii said the government did not pay their tuition fees last year and that had put them into arrears.
“We have outstanding fees from last year. With the increase, I
will now pay a total of K22,500 to get a room at the Games Village,” she said.
Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Pila Niningi said last month the Government would consider increasing its allocation for compulsory tuition fees to UPNG so that students were not charged extra.
Niningi said the government had taken over the load but was also facing financial problems. The National/ONE PNG