ECONOMIST and Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker, pictured, has joined the chorus of public outcry over the substantial increases in fees by the University of PNG for 2018.
The new fees structure approved by the university council has seen nearly a 200 per cent increase in tuition fees compared with last year.
Barker told The National yesterday that the hike in fees was a decision the university was forced to take due to lack of funding from the Government.
He urged the departments of Finance, Treasury, Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, financial institution and development partners to work together promptly to ensure adequate funding was given to the institution to avoid passing the costs to poor parents and students.
“Faced with lack of funding from government, UPNG and other universities, are forced to take action of their own to make ends meet,” he said.
“It is important, however that this burden is not forced upon the universities in isolation. It clearly needs to be part of a wider dialogue including DHERST and Treasury and other relevant departments/ministries, plus financial institutions and development partners.”
Barker suggested the setting up of a “realistic student loan scheme with banks which can genuinely be repaid by the students in due course, or honoured by the State, where the graduates are unable to repay, by nature of their lack of employment, or by working in certain public functions, such as nursing, teaching etc”.
Barker told The National yesterday that it is quite heartbreaking to think of poor parents, especially, who had struggled to get their children through school, “then being faced with these impossible costs, if their children have been able to secure places in the tertiary institutions”. The National/PNGEDUCATIONNews
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