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Sunday, 12 March 2017

5 Ways to Thrive as a Student at UNITECH

We are strongly committed to be a good university so we apply all academic and other rules strictly. A university is by its very nature a rule based organization. We must obey by our own rules if we wish to obtain provisional accreditation by an international, independent external body by 2019.

The University rules are the same for everybody and are set by the University Council and the Academic Board. Even the Vice Chancellor has to obey by these rules, and can not by himself take action to bypass them. In fact, it is the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar are responsible for upholding these rules, and maintaining the integrity of all processes.

Highly Employable Graduates

After our new Council was constituted on 3 April 2014, a number of things have changed at UNITECH. What you have heard from others may therefore not be correct. Here are some pointers which will ensure you will do well as a student at UNITECH:

1- Before you get in: do the STAT-P Test

Last year, UNITECH partnered with ACER in Melbourne to roll out an aptitude test for all school leavers. Over 1,000 candidates took the test. Next year, the University of Goroka and the University of Natural Resources will probably join, which allows us all to offer this test in more than this year's 5 centres.

Last year's test results will be recognized internationally and valid for Non School Leavers application this year. If you score less than 60% on the STAT-P test, this may have lowered your Grade 12 GPA mark.

Pay your tuition and fees on time and in full. In this manner, you will be assured a hassle free registration. You can now register online even from your mobile phone. Next year, we hope to link this to a payment system, so that Registration can be done even more smoothly.

2- Accept UNITECH's offer

Because funding for the University's operations has been decreasing over the last 5 years, UNITECH has kep the student intake at the same level with about 650 school leavers and 150 non-school leavers. 

The admission list for school leavers and non school leavers is established during the selection in December. Lobbying at the last minute with the academic departments, the registry or the Vice Chancellor is therefore fruitless. They can not admit anyone outside the selection or reserve lists. 

For NSL there are over 6,000 applicants each year, so the odds are small. Therefore, if you get an offer as a SL from UNITECH, even it is not your first or second choice you are better off taking it. It is probably your only chance to receive a university education.

3- No leniency, but please complain

When studying at UNITECH the only way to get a good grade is to study hard. There is no such thing as leniency. There is no point in disrupting classes or exams, because we always go by our rules. 

We do however automatically moderate the marks so the class average is always around 65%. As a result on average about 7% of students fail each year. In the first year, however, the failure rate is much higher.

We take the students evaluation of teaching seriously, and students have no reason to be afraid to complain. We consider students have a right at UNITECH to be taught according to the 15 week lesson plan. Any irregularity - lecturers being late, not giving assignments on time, etc. - must be reported.

As to academic appeals, there is a procedure that must be respected. It is very important you describe clearly the ground for your appeal. Having a series of misfortunes, for example, is generally not a ground for appeal. You will just have to do the supplementary exams.

4- Respect each other

The diversity among the PNG student body is enormous. We do not however recognize provincial groupings as representing the students. In the dormitory students are divided by departments. The SRC constitution is based on departmental representation.

We want to create an international classroom and expose our students to international experiences. On my Facebook page you will regularly find news about international scholarship. On campus, we have about 70 Solomon Island, Vanuatu and Cook Islands students, and a dozen or so Post graduate international students from Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean. We consider that your days at university are the best opportunity to make friends with students from all different sections of society in PNG and elsehwere.

5- Insist on meaningful industrial training

Currently, only around 40% of graduates have a job in April, 6 months after graduating. Those who did meaningful industrial training have a much higher chance.

At UNITECH we offer a quality education, which means we assure that courses are delivered exactly according to the lesson plan. We implemented the common credit currency which means that the study load is in line with international standards. You may find our programs taxing, but when you graduate you will reap the fruits of your hard work.

We are confident therefore that UNITECH graduates will embark on a professional career or will become successful entrepreneurs, and will not need to revert to subsistence farming, or working as shop assistants or waiters.

Good luck with your studies!


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