MADANG Technical College students staged a peaceful protest yesterday against their principal and his administration over alleged gross financial maladministration.
By JAYNE SAFIHAO, The National
Yesterday’s classes were suspended until today.
The student representative council (SRC) president Eddie Bena and about 50 students marched to the administration building carrying placards.
Two of the many placards read: YALE – Your Administration Lack Equality and participation. Others said “GET OUT” and “TIME’S UP GET OUT!”
They demanded principal Ephraim Yalebaguyau to hand over the college bus and office keys and move out.
After much shouts of support, the controlled crowd met the college’s
board of governors who took an hour to turn up.
Momase regional adviser for Teachers Service Commission Joseph Oyoumb was not given the petition.
The students maintained their stand in personally handing the petition to Education secretary Joseph Pagelio.
SRC vice-president Charles Kataka said the petition contained overdue and outstanding administrative issues, among others, which Yalebaguyau failed to address during his 10-year tenure.
Oyoumb told the students the secretary was on an overseas trip.
The students were then told to “give in” and present their petition or “have a long wait” for his return.
The college board of governors and student representatives convened an urgent meeting after lunch following a forum.
The students complained there was insufficient or no money in the school’s account when students went to get school fee refunds, water and power bills were unpaid resulting in a month-long blackout and water was cut last semester and students had buns three times a day.
“Everything we have is outdated and old,” second year furniture timber trade student, Ekonson Mairiki, said when highlighting the school’s negligence, as well as the lack of maintenance to existing buildings, purchase of machinery and tools for trade departments.
The charred skeleton of the March fire to the male dormitory stood as evidence of the administration’s negligence.
Mairiki said the affected students were paid only K300 as insurance.
School chairman Alex Paira said: “We are aware of what is going on.
“Deputy chairman Francis Galip and I are now signing all the cheques.
“It is unfortunate but an interim arrangement will be made as soon as possible,” he said.
Other allegations were discussed at the board of governors meeting.