Posted By Staff Reporter
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says he will not step down and calls on university students to go back to class and resume normalcy at their various campuses.
O’Neill said he has the greatest respect for the students, their rights and all the academic institutions in the country.
In a statement, O’Neill said his government, when it came into office in 2011, committed to invest in education for the children because investments in quality education, and giving every child an education, is vital for the economic health, prosperity and unity of the country.
“To date, this government is investing billions of kina in upgrading and building new educational infrastructure everywhere in the country.
“Not only that, we are investing in improving the quality of education at all levels of our education.
“Today, an additional one million children are going to school. Just imagine if we hadn’t introduced the tuition fee free policy, none of these children would be receiving education.
“The evidence is right in front of us. At UPNG, we have invested heavily in student accommodation and more is being done. I can tell you, this Government is committed to this course.
“I am doing this because education gave me that opportunity. I was born in the village in Pangia to a single mother. She struggled in life and even sacrificed her own wellbeing to get me educated. If it wasn’t for my mother and education, I would not be here as prime minister today.”
He added that students are the few privileged, have the intellectual capacity and are leaders of tomorrow.
“Do not sacrifice your education and disrespect your parents who invested so much in you. Like my mother did, they too have sacrificed their wellbeing to send you to get educated.”
Students have been boycotting classes for almost a week now.
A UPNG student representative council member said their stance is not to change the Government or tell Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to resign. They are simply asking him to respect the integrity of the office and step aside to allow for questioning.
“As a citizen of this country, he is bound by the laws of this land. No one is above the law,” said the SRC member.
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