UPNG medical students at Taurama continue boycott for ‘patriotism’

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Solidarity on the Taurama medical campus of the University of Papua New Guinea today. Image: Quintina Naime/LoopPNG

By Quintina Naime in Port Moresby

Student leaders at the University of Papua New Guinea’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences stand firm on their decision to boycott classes today out of “patriotism”.

The medical school students were supposed to resume classes today while the main campus will resume next week.

However, Medfac has decided to continue with the boycott.

Male student representative Hermin Peamo said they would continue with this struggle as “we’ve come a long way and fought a good fight”.

Students at universities across Papua New Guinea have been protesting and boycotting classes for almost two months, calling on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill tio stand down and cooperate with police investigations into corruption allegations.

The UPNG leaders, including course leaders and members of the Student Representative Council (SRC), made the decision last night during a meeting.

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“We have talked about all possible avenues regarding our academic studies and have decided that we will continue to stand in this fight,” Peamo said

“Whatever risk that it might take, we are ready to face it and we are not afraid to take risks as leaders,” he said after a student forum today.

Afternoon forum
Another forum was held this afternoon to collect views from the student body at the Three-Mile campus.

Peamo said: “SMHS [School of Medicine and Health Sciences] is really complex and diverse and we leaders have been really challenged to make strong decisions for our country and the people.

“It is our patriotism and our moral conscience that has caused us to stand this far.”

Peamo added that this is their stand and they would convey that message to their fellow colleagues and students at the Waigani Campus.

Meanwhile, UPNG acting chancellor Dr Nicholas Mann has urged students to avoid situations that would lead to another suspension. He said they would do more damage to their academic year if they continued to boycott.

An unnamed student correspondent today posted a message at Loop PNG, claiming that “most of the medical students attended class today”.

The student added: “Please, Loop PNG reporters must get information properly. Some started class today. The ones that you saw today at the forum [were] mixed with students from the main campus [at Waigani].

Quintina Naime is a reporter for Loop PNG.

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