Lecturers strike as students blockade campus at Papuan university


East New Britain Students Association members from the University of Papua New Guinea are calling on Prime Minster Peter O’Neill to step down and face allegations against him. NBCTV News video.

While university students in Papua New Guinea have continued their national political “awareness” campaign into the fifth week, a blockade of a campus across the Indonesian border in Papua has prompted staff to go on strike.

The blockading of the campus of Cenderawasih University in Waena, Abepura Jayapura, Papua, from Monday to Thursday by its students has resulted in a strike by its 615 lecturers and 321 administrative employees, The Jakarta Post reports.

“The strike is a protest against the students who have been frequently blocking the campus,” said university rector Onesimus Sahuleka on Friday, explaining that the students had been blockading the campus at least twice a month.

Onesimus welcomed students’ aspirations but encouraged them not to express them by disturbing the teaching and learning activities at the campus.

The blockading of the campus was held to demand that the campus prolong the enrolment period and to give 80 percent of its available seats to Papuans.

“I cannot extend the enrolment period because the registration was conducted online and nationwide,” Onesimus said.

He added that the university had also been prioritising Papuans.

Lecturer’s car stoned
Last year, he said, of the new students accepted, 79 percent were Papuans and the remaining 21 percent were “outsiders”.

During the protest on Thursday, a lecturer, John Kawatu, of the university’s school of teacher training (FKIP) was injured as protesters pelted his car with stones.

In Papua New Guinea, 18 students were arrested in Wewak at the weekend over a peaceful “awareness” programme.

Students in PNG are calling on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to stand down and face a police investigation into corruption allegations.

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