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Friday, 29 March 2013

Post Reads

Dear Readers,


Thank you for your continuous and growing support.

Here are my top 5 blog reads for the last month:

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Open Source Software in Higher Education in Developing Countries


In developing countries, generally the slow speed of internet connections, and slower computers, make the use of Microsoft software utterly dysfunctional. Mac systems are functional but too pricey. Most computers therefore are usually Windows based, and riddled with viruses, due to the difficulties in regularly updating anti-virus software or install the software patches for the operating system. Many computers used hacked versions, which are more sensitive to virus attacks, in order to avoid paying the hefty license fee.

Fortunately, there is an alternative which is free, and more importantly virus free. Most of us are already using it, although we are not always aware of it.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Are edutech startups plugging an innovation gap in our universities? | Higher Education Network | Guardian Professional

Are edutech startups plugging an innovation gap in our universities? | Higher Education Network | Guardian Professional

To be fair, there is some technological innovation occurring around universities, but are they able to implement these technologies in the classroom and other activities?

Has Change Finally come to Universities in Developing Countries?


At the best of times, universities are organizations particularly resistant to change. For over 9 centuries, Universities have been doing more or less the same, since the first one was founded in Bologna Italy in 1088. Currently, most universities offer the best learning experience 17th century technology can offer. This is not a typo. It is still blackboard, chalk and paper in the classrooms. And that is when we are talking about industrialized countries.


We have read it before, but some argue from now on everything will be different  because of today's information technology revolution and globalisation. Will the change be dominated by the forces of continuity, or is there a true revolution at the doorstep?

Friday, 22 March 2013

Bring in the Harry Potters!

It is 4.06 pm now, the end of the business day in PNG, and as I announced my patience has officially run out. "Big Men" visit UNITECH campus making promises they do not intend to keep. Do they think our students are so easily fooled?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Feeding Kangaroos

Getting a bit tired here with nothing to do but feeding kangaroos. Heard nothing from PNG officials yet, but hope to be home in Lae for Easter.

UNITECH Boycott Ends, Probe Starts - EM TV

UNITECH Boycott Ends, Probe Starts - EM TV (video in link)



Students at the University of Technology in Lae have ended a two and a half week boycott as the investigation into the affairs of the university begins. The announcement by the Student Representative Council, was made in the presence of the head of the investigation team, former Judge Mark Sevua.

Don Poyle to act as Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology - Papua New Guinea Today

Don Polye to act as Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology - Papua New Guinea Today


Prime Minister Peter O’Neil announced yesterday, that Treasurer Don Polye will be acting Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology. Incumbent and Ijivitari M-P David Arore met with Mr. O'Neil today, asking to be stood down, to concentrate on fighting criminal and graft charges brought against him, by police.

Students end boycott at Lae University of Technology | Pacific Beat | ABC Radio Australia

Students end boycott at Lae University of Technology | Pacific Beat | ABC Radio Australia

Presenter: Firmin Nanol reports:
Speaker: Students' Representative Council President, Livingstone Hosea, PNG's acting Higher Education, Science, Research and Technology Minister, Don Polye

Classes at Papua New Guinea's Lae University of Technology in the Morobe province will resume on Thursday as a student boycott over the sacking of their Vice Chancellor has ended.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Post Reads

Thank you all for your many reads on my blog.

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UPNG backs UNITECH Calls - EM TV

UPNG backs UNITECH Calls - EM TV



The University of Papua New Guinea’s student representative council has thrown its support behind students at Lae Unitech calling on the government for transparency and good governance. A team from UPNG is in Lae as a show support.

UPNG’s SRC president Peter Mumu, says poor management in any university will affect students all over Papua New Guinea. It comes as Unitech students continue with a weeklong boycott of class.

Meanwhile, one more person has been arrested in the Unitech Fraud Case. The University of Technology’s planner, Brian Kagini from Enga province was yesterday arrested and charged misappropriation and conspiracy.

Police said Kagini allegedly conspired with terminated lecturer Narayan Gehlot and members of the university administration to defraud the State of more than K600, 000.

He will appear in the Lae committal court at 10 o’clock today.

Scott Waide, National EMTV News - LAE

Polye is acting Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister ← Education News PNG

Polye is acting Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister ← Education News PNG

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Inquiry Into Unitech Begins - EMTV (PNG)

Inquiry Into Unitech Begins

The investigation process into the impasse at the PNG University of Technology opened yesterday.  The Investigation Team led by retired judge Mark Sevua will travel to Lae, Morobe Province tomorrow to prepare for the preliminary session that will be held at the Unitech Campus on Wednesday.

Radio New Zealand International: PNG Higher Education Minister stood down over charges

Radio New Zealand International: Investigation into PNG’s Unitech troubles begins

Investigation into PNG’s Unitech troubles begins

They are barking up the wrong tree. The investigation is focused on me. But I am not the problem, rather I am being perceived as part of the solution.

This investigation should be how the former Council failed to oversee the management team. The whole team, including the former Vice-Chancellor have been arrested for alleged involvement in conspiracy to defraud the State.

Ironically, the Minister of Higher Education was also arrested last Saturday 16 March for alleged fraud and bribery in the election campaign period.

I thank all UNITECH student and staff for their continuous trust in me, and our management team to bring good university governance and proper administration of funds to UNITECH.

PNG MP charged with corruption over elections | Pacific Beat | ABC Radio Australia

PNG MP charged with corruption over elections | Pacific Beat | ABC Radio Australia

UPNG SRC PRESIDENT PLEDGES SUPPORT BEHIND UNITECH STUDENTS | PNG Village

UPNG SRC PRESIDENT PLEDGES SUPPORT BEHIND UNITECH STUDENTS | PNG Village

A national student movement seems to be emerging.

Inquiry into Unitech Begins - EM TV

Inquiry into Unitech Begins - EM TV


Upon request here are the objectives of the investigation, not inquiry. Note that 7 objectives of the investigation are about Dr. Albert Schram, who was not even Vice-Chancellor when Council failed to oversee the alleged fraud perpetrated by the previous management team.

After an rigourous internal UNITECH inquiry, and extensive police investigations all members of the previous management team have now been arrested and charged.

Only 1 objective refers to the dissolved Council, but again focusing on the recruitment process. Aren't we barking up the wrong tree here? Is the ploy not a bit too obvious?

"3.1.1. Establish whether proper due diligence process (sic!) was followed in the search, short listing, selection and appointment of the Vice-Chancellor - Dr. Albert Schram." 
"3.1.2. Establish whether the Registrar's Office was involved for background search (sic!) and recommendation." 
“3.1.3. Establish whether proper process was followed in the two instance of termination of the Vice-Chancellor’s contract.”
“3.1.4 Establish the facts behind the Vice-Chancellor’s alleged terminations (sic!) by the council on the 8th of November 2013 (sic!), in particular:
3.1.4.1. Whether the meeting was validly convened; and
3.1.4.2 Whether the termination of the Vice-Chancellor on 8th of November 2012 was lawful and valid?”
“3.1.5. Establish the truth or otherwise of allegations that Dr. Albert Ernst Giovanni SCHRAM fabricated and/or lied about his Academic Qualification and/or identity;”
"3.1.6 Establish whether the conduct and management of the Phillip Stagg Council was consistent with the relevant governing Acts and Council By-Laws and as such whether lawful. In addition, establish whether or not the role and action(s) of members of the Stagg Council had a direct impact on the impasse."

Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister relieved of duties ← Education News PNG

Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister relieved of duties ← Education News PNG

Monday, 18 March 2013

Human Rights, Deportation and Return

European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg (France)

I am in day 40 now of my first unlawful deportation and still no end in sight.

There is a glimmer of hope though for my return. Yesterday, Judge Sevua, who is chairing the UNITECH investigation team, announced in a press statement, that it would be a travesty of justice if Dr. Schram were not heard, and therefore I should be let into the country. I would like to thank the SRC President, the management team and interim Council who finally successfully negotiated there way through the ban on my re-entry. Since the 4th of February, however, I asked for written guarantees about my return and my safety, which will need to be negotiated in the coming days.

I need to point out here that my deportation was unlawful, arbitrary and constitutes a systematic violation of my human right of freedom of movement under article 13 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Time-line UNITECH: for an informed debate


 Upon request by many, here are the main dates in the process of Council reform at UNITECH, which led to the dissolution of Council on 20 November 2012, the arrest of the whole previous management team for allegedly conspiring to defraud the state in February and March 2013, and the arrest of the Minister of Higher Education David Arore on 16 March for alleged bribery.

8 June 2011: As one of the candidates, Dr. Albert Schram gives a speech for the UNITECH community on transformational leadership, promising a professional, transparent and strategized university management. He received an contract offer a few weeks later, initially to take up duty on 1st of October.

7 February 2012: After postponing his arrival twice since October 2011, Dr. Albert Schram takes over as Vice-Chancellor of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology. In January, Standing Committee of Council agrees to transfer two executive vehicles to former Vice-Chancellor at favourable prices and payment conditions, and retain the services of Misty Baloiloi for 3 more months, without specifying his activities. Other vehicles are similarly transferred to former executives.

Investigation team into Unitech standoff announced ← Education News PNG

Investigation team into Unitech standoff announced ← Education News PNG

This team seems to be barking up the wrong tree. Where is the investigation into the fraud that the SRC and staff organizations have been demanding since April last year?

If I were not allowed into the country, a travesty of justice indeed, but what about the written guarantees for my safety I  requested since 4 February?

Papua New Guinea Blogs: Good Versus Evil Battle At UNITECH: Will It Reveal Peter O’Neill’s Helplessness At Fighting Corruption?

Papua New Guinea Blogs: Good Versus Evil Battle At UNITECH: Will It Reveal Peter O’Neill’s Helplessness At Fighting Corruption?

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Breaking News: Minister Higher Education David Arore Arrested


"Higher Education Minister David Arore has been arrested and charged with official corruption, embezzlement and fraud. The arrest was the culmination of an eight month investigation. The Minister was charged at Popondetta Police Station. (EM TV News)."

This will not affect the graduation in April in any way. What will the consequences be for UNITECH, and the inquiry which is supposed to start coming week? See the comments on Sharp Talk here or here

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

SRC Reactions on Government's Negative

Here is the SRC statement.

“After the Government through the Chief of Staff responded to our petition No.2 unfavourably, The following resolutions were agreed and motioned by
the SRC EXECUTIVES & PROVINCIAL STUDENT ASSOCIATION PRESIDENTS in a CLOSED DOOR MEETING today (13th March, 2013 @11am – 2.15pm)
1) The petition of the students of Unitech is Non-negotiable.
2) The peaceful boycott of classes will continue until Friday 15 March, 2013.
3) As of tomorrow, all operations of Unitech – both academic and administrative – will be shut down and come to a complete close, as per the directions of the Acting Vice Chancellor.

Unitech SAGA: Former VC arrested and charged (EMTV)

Unitech SAGA: Former VC arrested and charged
 
The former Unitech Vice Chancellor, Misty Baloiloi, has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to defraud the state and misappropriation but was released on bail.

Former Unitech Vice-Chancellor charged with misappropriation and conspiracy to defraud ← Education News PNG

Former Unitech Vice-Chancellor charged with misappropriation and conspiracy to defraud ← Education News PNG

UniTech Fraud Investigation Continues - YouTube

Monday, 11 March 2013

Council Reform and the Financially Sustainable Universities in PNG

Sir Nagora Bogan, the new UNITECH Chancellor with members of the management team and staff.

While the government today deliberates among other things on how to react to the UNITECH SRC student petition, which is widely supported by the UNITECH staff, we can reflect briefly on the bigger picture. 

Why do episodes like my deportation lead to these expressions of much wider discontent? As a foreign university executive I will confine my remarks here to university governance, and not make comments on national governance issues.

It is no secret that the state of the universities in PNG leaves much to be desired, and is mission critical. The precarious situation at UPNG is widely known, for example, and was recently reviewed by Scott MacWilliam.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

My Second Unlawful Deportation

Déjà vu revisited: Factor X & another deportation - Keith Jackson & Friends: PNG ATTITUDE



Keith Jackson in the PNG Attitude blog did a piece on my second deportation.
With my first (8 February) and second (9 March) forcible and arbitrary deportation, we are talking here about the systematic violation of a rather fundamental human right, Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), adopted by the U.N. General Assembly, reads,
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Please do not be scared to leave your comments and opinions. Subscribe to our blogs with your email and you will get regular updates.

In this piece I make an appeal directly to PM, who did so much to try to make peace at UNITECH.

I believe if we involve the main stakeholders (including my person), the type of mis-communication regarding my return, as well as the undignified battles of words in the press (e.g. "He is VC" "No he is not VC"), which we saw last week can no longer occur.


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Press Statement to be delivered 9 March 2013 upon arrival at NADZAB airport Lae


(The statement which I never gave, because I was deported again on 9 March.

This time the excuse for my deportation was that I need to apply for a new visa and work permit. Last year, migration made an error and classified me as religious worker. We joked in the management team, this was because I was supposed to perform miracles: no extra funding and a lot more students for UNITECH.

For over 1 year, I used this visa to travel in and out of the country, and it was never a problem so far. Yesterday, I was not told what wrong with the current visa, I was just told to apply for a new one. As always, I was given nothing in writing.

My visa clearly states: work permit for University of Technology and is valid for 3 years with multiple-entries. Why should I apply for a new visa? It opens an opportunity to decline it for some other reason.

I guess this is a case of not trying  to apply logic to this. I hope to come back to PNG soon, maybe they offer me citizenship now for trying so hard? AS)

Press Statement Upon Arrival in NADZAB Airport, Lae 9 March 2013.
After 1 month of involuntary exile, I come back as Vice-Chancellor of UNITECH to bring peace and stability at the top, and serve the students, their parents, and all the stakeholders. Our management team will continue with what I started April last year.

I thank God for his special protection he has given me and my wife during this ordeal. I am very grateful that my wife Paulina has been here all the time to support me.

It is joyful to see the students and all my friends again, those smart, wise and cheerful Papua New Guineans friends and colleagues.

A little more than 1 year ago, I came to take over the Vice-Chancellor position carrying only 2 suitcases and 1 pair of shoes, and I come today again with my 2 suitcases.

Peace and academic collaboration



Here with my new friend Dr. Lay Chanthy from the Royal University of Phnom
Pen (Cambodia), who is at the Cairns Institute to learn about how to set up a research
support office for his University. We learned a lot from each other experiences.

We are all part of diverse organizations, with a universal mission and have much to learn from each other.

After all, being an academic executive should not be about politics,  power, or low stakes infighting. It is about friendships and partnerships, and helping the universities in our countries grow further, contributing to national development and educating our students.

Schram isn’t VC: O’Neill - EM TV

Schram isn’t VC: O’Neill - EM TV

This is most confusing. The PM has obviously not been informed correctly.

Fortunately, the University Council is my legal employer, and universities established by Act of Parliament have autonomy in PNG.

Imaginary realities are continuously being created by the media and statements from members of the government, with scant regard for the legal situation and the truth.

I will say it again, I was never legally dismissed (where is the court order?) and my visa was never legally cancelled. In fact, I will be entering the country on it soon to take up my responsibilities.

To reassure the parents: UNITECH has a Chancellor, a Vice-Chancellor and a Registrar who will sign the degrees of the graduands.

The question is in the long-term how can we keep running a university like this? Let's get the politics out of the university administration, it does not look pretty. Posturing in the media like this does not contribute anything to creating stability at the top and the governability of the University.

Another personal insult added to the injury of illegal deportation. Well, at least I am still responsible for the tree cangaroos in the Rainforest Habitat. I can finally give them my undivided attention until the end of my suspension on the 14th of March.

To be continued....

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

No proof for Schram’s termination: UNITECH SRC - EM TV

No proof for Schram’s termination: UNITECH SRC - EM TV.
Here is the certified copy of my doctorate, nothing wrong with it. If I had been dismissed there would be a court order. Our appeal is still running in the Supreme Court, and pending their decision my employment status remains unaltered.

Monday, 4 March 2013

The Cairns Institute

Thank you colleagues of the Cairns Institute for your great hospitality.

James Cook University's Cairns Institute "contributing to a brighter, more equitable and enriching future for people in the tropics, world wide". 

Truly a noble mission, I hope I will get the chance to contribute to it at UNITECH.

The Long-Term View


Today, presidential elections are being held in Kenya. The question on all commentators' mind is whether they will be more peaceful than the ones in 2010. Nobody knows the answer, we will have to see today.

A short excursion into the recent past is required to answer the more fundamental question whether Kenya is moving in the right direction. Is Kenya developing towards democratic and fair society, where individuals' rights are protected and an effort is made to offer everyone an equal opportunity to realise their aspirations?

Today, we should remember the 24 years (from 1978 to 2002), during which Arap Moi ruled Kenya with an iron fist, a period during which many of today's Kenyans were born or grew up. Moi legitimized his rule by the "nyayo" (footsteps) ideology, which suggested he would follow in the footsteps of the founding president Yomo Kenyatta, whose Vice-President he was for 11 years years (from 1967 to 1978). Here is a short moving documentary about this period.

Moi's main concern however was not legitimacy or ideology, rather his only goal was to remain in power at whatever cost. Moi liked to present himself as a good Christian, almost a holy man, while everybody knew what was going on behind the smoke screens. One of the most painful things of living in a dictatorship is not always the direct limitations and hardships, but to be treated as a fool

Friday, 1 March 2013

Radio New Zealand: despite deportation UNITECH Vice-Chancellor still determined to go back



An academic, who remains the vice chancellor of Papua New Guinea's University of Technology despite being deported from the country, is determined to return..

But Dr Albert Schram says he would only go back to Lae if he gets assurances that he can do his job without interference.

He has had a year long battle with the university council, which while replaced by the government, still effected his deportation by making what Dr Schram says were false statements to immigration officials.

Dr Schram told Don Wiseman says he wants to go back because he wants to complete a job and not let his supporters down.

That is Dr Albert Schram speaking from Australia where he is waiting for a chance to return to Lae in PNG.

(Interview Duration 2 min 30 seconds)