By Reuben Maino Daniel
Many Papua New Guineans out there may be wondering the Unitech Saga and current boycott at Unitech, chanting “NO SCHRAM, NO SCHOOL” is just another mere show of students’ immaturity like those back in the yonder years. Few people have already commenting in various social media that students should return to class, etc. I was physically there back in 2012, when it all started at Unitech main gate when the former Chancellor was trying to escape from students after serving Dr. Schram the illegal and most absurd termination letter. The students simply stopped him at the main gate and asked him to return to the campus, explain to the staff and students all the reasons behind the shocking termination that was secretly devised by himself and very members of the council. I literally stopped the students from doing anything harmful to him or the car, however, the former Chancellor acted like a criminal on chase, accelerated his car and sped off heading to escape from the back gate (already knowing he was at fault). He actually sensitised the whole Unitech atmosphere and the goose chase broke loose from there. Students everywhere shouted, “Chancellor terminatim VC blo yumi” (Chancellor terminated our VC), and they pursued him on foot. He almost got himself roasted in his car, fortunately he was assisted by a random vehicle. I was standing in amazing wonder, asking myself WHY on earth students would show such level of seriousness. Why would they try to burn their own Chancellor, a Papua New Guinean, simply in preference for a foreigner who just served for less than 8 months? Why do the most learned and educated staff, both academics and non-academics agree and join students in this fight? Why are they now so adamant, chanting, “NO SCHRAM, NO SCHOOL”?
There are two faces to answer this daunting question. Firstly, the behaviour of the core stakeholders at Unitech simply implies how long Unitech has suffered under the dark rule of corruption, misuse, misappropriation, maladministration, inefficiencies, deprivation, low standards, absence of transparency and accountability, etc. Unitech laboured for deliverance, awaited a saviour, a change agent, and a people person. The cumulative anguish, frustration, longing, grievances, and wish for change has erupted when the former rogue council decided to touch someone whom Unitech staff and students considered as a deliverer. Anyone in his or her right frame of mind who simply say nature too its own course, ‘build-up of frustration and anguish will always find a moment, an ideal situation to burst’ and that’s what actually happened. Lucky the whole council members were not there, the main culprit almost became the sacrificial lamb in his own car. “University yupla bagarapim ogeda na white man ya laik stretim nau tsol ya, how na yupla laik rausim em quick”? The shit that you have accumulated over the years has finally hit the fan. “THROUGHOUT HUMAN HISTORY, TRUTH HAS NEVER EVER BEEN DEFEATED, SURPRESSED FOREVER, AND AVOIDED”.
Secondly, the behaviour of the core stakeholders at Unitech simply implies how much Dr. Schram’s performance within few months of attachment at Unitech has touched hearts and minds of the core stakeholders on campus. To give you brief account of simple but most intimate things he did which draw huge respect and loyalty unto himself were, Dr. Schram was the most visible and audible shepherd of the sheep Unitech has ever had, he was everywhere in person, he communicated so humbly and yet so clearly with students, staff, and amazingly with cleaners. He wept with students and families when we had deaths on campus, he was at the haus krai with tea and coffee, he visited sick students at hospitals, he ate with students at the students mess, he walked on foot in Unitech and spoke with staff and students, he was an excellent listener, he had an open door policy, he had time to stop to greet people, acknowledge their efforts, and spoke so positively about the advantage in people. He was with staff in each sections, departments and also students in their halls, at their sporting events, when they had issues, etc. He had a clear vision for the institution, everyone understood him and his thinking, and level of motivation was accelerated in no time. He had very close contact with everyone and was quick to understand the realities on the ground so fast.
Dr. Schram injected sound, practical and smart ideas into how Unitech 20130 can be implemented, and even to go much better than that. Unitech strategic plan (Unitech 2030) was imply a broad document that needed a well learned and competent person to implement. Waigani started respecting his decisions and funds started flowing in, with projects started coming into the campus. As a person of educational and professional specialization in management, I affirmed him as someone who knew the knowledge, skills, attitudes and personalities that Unitech needed for too long. Unitech suffered for far too long also because the SEM was filled with graduates of Building & Architecture, Engineering, Science, etc. not in Management, Economics or generally Business. The council was filled with failed politicians, failed businessman, and lawyers, etc. The SEM and Council team over the years seriously deficient of quality Management competency.
So, the chanting at Unitech now, “NO SCHRAM, NO SCHOOL” is not simply a mere student’s immaturity show of some sort. NO! Key stakeholders of Unitech must UNITE and fight till THEIR LEGITIMATE VICE CHANCELLOR, DR. ALBERT SCHRAM IS RESTORED BACK TO UNITECH.
NO SCHRAM, NO SCHOOL!!!
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