SINU saga VC playing with fire - Solomon Star News

SINU saga VC playing with fire

28 February 2020

SOLOMON Islands National University (SINU) Vice-Chancellor Ganesh Chand's response through his media personal to counter claims of SINU Student Association issues is being labelled as ‘playing with the fire’.

Reliable sources close to VC’s office said this press release would not have come directly from the Ganesh Chand VC himself, who is currently on holiday in Fiji currently.  

“This is somewhat an unusual leave given that VC has just returned from his annual leave late January this year (about four weeks ago). 

“And one wonders why another leave within a span of less than a month? Perhaps to throw some lights into these, the VC left for yet another holiday Wednesday last week,” the source said.

It was also revealed to this paper that the days running into the day VC took his leave, the academic staff through their Union have been holding a series of meetings on issues that are of significant concern to SINU and its operation. 

On Tuesday the 18th Feb, a meeting for all academic staff was convened at the Tourism School, Kukum Campus. The day after, VC left on an unannounced leave. 

According to information received from SINU yesterday Chand is expected to arrive any time this week from Fiji

“Was this leave a quick reaction to what could have come out from the academic staff meeting?” reliable source questioned.

But reliable source said that while there is some truth in the whole restructuring of academic programmes to best suit University standards let us beware that there is a trail of mess in the process and still is. 

“Let’s take the Faculty of Education and Humanities as an example. The VC made changes in the programmes which is good, but he should phase it. 

“What this means is that he should have allowed continuing students to continue in the old programme up to completion and allow the new intake to enrol in the new programme. This will allow for a smooth transition. 

“This is the common practice in every university when phasing out old programmes and I am aware that the VC was given this option by academics from SOEH, but he wouldn’t relent. 

“Students at the Faculty of Education who have come under the old programme are in this impasse,” our source revealed.

The source further pointed out that on the academic staff (lecturers) issue there is an irony in the VC’s statement in highlighting the need for qualified academic staff. 

The source revealed that the truth is the VC is turning SINU into an institution to recruit his cronies, mostly those who do not have jobs in Fiji or are retirees. 

“Right now, recruitment in the HR and the various committee tasked to conduct interviews and recruitments are but rubber-stamps.

“There are a number of cases where a candidate interviewed by the interview panel and being selected and send to VC for vetting are being turned down. 

“Many of these cases are simply because his preference was not selected. A clear-cut case was for a position of Assistant Lecturer – Biology, where a Solomon Islander who holds a MSc in Biology from USP upon interview was selected by the interview panel and send to VC for vetting. 

“The VC, however, withheld the appointment and queried his selection. Interestingly, one of the candidates for the same position who was not selected is a Fijian of Indian origin currently serving as a laboratory technician at the USP – SI Campus. 

“Could the VC prefer this candidate, I wonder? And if this is the case, isn’t this corruption, when the VC uses his power to influence decision of the panel.

“As of this moment, the VC has made a direct appointment of two academic staff from Fiji to become tutors at SINU. 

“To recruit a PhD / Associate Professors and Professors from overseas makes a lot of sense, but to recruit a tutor overseas this is just beyond crazy,” the source revealed yesterday.

The source further explained that a tutor would be someone with a first degree and the country have heaps of people with the first degree here.

This paper was also informed that towards the end of last year the VC recruited a secretary from Fiji to work as an EOVC (whatever that stands for).

“Don’t we have people who can do that job here, why recruit a secretary overseas,” the source questioned.

The source also informed this paper that the VC’s recruitment of a number of consultants who are his cronies and perhaps relatives is astounding. 

“His latest recruitment is someone to do something on IT and this is a direct appointment of one of his relatives. 

“We have too many Solomon Islanders with IT qualification why hire people overseas.” 

Right now, the position for Director Properties is in the process of hiring and when this paper did a background check, one of the candidates is a cousin of the VC.

“Do not be surprised if the cousin was hired for the job,” the source said.

According to information gathered perhaps one of the great achievements to date brought to SINU by the VC is the establishment of both academic and HR policy sets of documents to guide and direct the general running of the University. 

But there were two issues discovered when this paper did an inquiry with our sources is that all these policies are copied directly from Fiji National University (FNU) policies. 

If one takes a closer look at these policies against that of FNU, the only changes would be SINU in the place of FNU and Solomon Islands in the place of Fiji. 

One source told this paper that by coping such documents without due acknowledgment to the authors and sources, isn’t that amount to plagiarism? 

“I think SINU can do better than that why don’t we create our own policies where we own it and it suits and will work for us?” one source said.

Another very senior person in SINU this paper talked with also revealed that no past VCs or Directors during SICHE days have asked SINU to open a credit card which he will use at his disposal. 

But this VC upon taking office demanded SINU Finance to open a Credit Card which he will have the pleasure to use it. 

“When SINU is struggling financially this person has the luxury of owning a credit card he will use as he pleases.

“Can we demand the University to track his use of the credit card and put a stop to that? Smart as he is, he has recruited one of his cronies (a Fijian) as an Internal Auditor and now in the process of recruiting another Fiji Indian to be the Director of Finance. 

“So this is how the VC is playing out SINU – his money-making institution and job creation institution for his cronies,” the senior person said

The senior person admitted that we have better Solomon Islanders who can handle the helm of our very own Institution, who have the heart for our people and place. 

Chand is still having his holiday and is expected to be back in the country anytime this week.

Comments are being sought from him.