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Analysis: UniFiji Move to address employment issues positive

A sigh of relief from the academic faculty greeted the news yesterday that the University of Fiji will hold a special council meeting on June 30. The meeting, among several
19 Jun 2018 15:09
Analysis: UniFiji Move  to address employment  issues positive
University of Fiji Suva Campus.

A sigh of relief from the academic faculty greeted the news yesterday that the University of Fiji will hold a special council meeting on June 30.

The meeting, among several topics, will discuss employment issues that have shaken the base of the university solidarity.

The issues include the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor to replace Professor Prem Misir who has returned to his home country of Guyana.

Internal disagreements on how some employment issues were handled surfaced after his departure.

There were other issues like the outstanding audits. Yesterday, the Organising Committee chair and pro-chancellor Anil Tikaram said the 2016 audit was now at its final stages of being completed and would be submitted to the Ministry of Education before the end of the month.

He said the 2017 audit was also in progress and should be ready and submitted by next month.

It is understood that these audit reports are required for the university before more funding is considered by the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, before he announces the national Budget on June 28.

The university, it is believed, is hoping to get $6 million, a rise from between $3 million to $4 million. It will complement the fees paid by the more than 2000 students.

In an effort to encourage higher learning at the university, students, who do not have starting funds, are allowed to study, but must pay up before they are allowed to graduate.

The university’s governance will be a key consideration. That’s why the internal row over employment issues has been a worrying development for the stakeholders.

The university is hoping that the council meeting at the end of the month will resolve these issues.

It is also important that the posts of VC and Registrar in terms of management understand that these are pivotal positions.

So as the university prepares to advertise, it should ensure that the advertisement attracts the best suitable candidate.

On the position of Registrar, a university statement said: “With some mixed feeling and questions from those within the university on the current Registrar of the institution, Kamlesh Arya, to be removed as he had a pending case before the court, Mr Tikaram said he could not comment on the issue.

“Kamlesh Arya is working for UniFiji under a contract which expires at the end of 2018, because a case against him is before the court, it is not proper for me to comment on the same.”

At the expiry of Mr Arya’s contract, the post should be advertised and he can reapply if he wants to.

That system should be applied right across the board. It will bring transparency to the whole process and strengthen confidence.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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