$40m budget cut leaves SINU without top brass

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By Alfred Sasako

A $40 million budget cut this year has left the nation’s National University without a Vice Chancellor and pro vice chancellors, it has been revealed.

Solomon Islands National University (SINU) is without a Vice Chancellor, a Pro Vice Chancellor Academic and a Pro Vice Chancellor Corporate. Attempts to recruit overseas academics to fill the posts have hit a dead end because of low salaries on offer.

“A $40 million cut in SINU’s budget this year has made the situation even worse,” an insider told Island Sun a few weeks ago.

It is understood the SINU Council offered the job of Vice Chancellor to an Australian but she has decided against taking up the job because of low pay.

The Council was due to interview a number of short-listed candidates, but it is not clear whether any of the candidates has been picked for the $2 million-a-year top job.

The Vice Chancellor’s position was made vacant after Dr. Glen Galo was forced to resign about a year ago following students’ demonstration demanding his removal.

Since then, Donald Malasa, Pro VC Corporate left last April after the SINU Council decided against renewing his contract.

Pro Vice Chancellors play a key role in helping the Vice Chancellor provide strategic direction and leadership to the University in ensuring excellence, governance, management and administration of the schools, Centres and institutions.

They also help support divisions of the University to ensure these are efficiently and effectively managed. As prescribed under Section 30 [2] of the SINU Act 2012, the Pro VC is a member of the Senior Executive of SINU with specific responsibilities.

Social media, Yumi Toktok Forum, reported yesterday that SINU’s Human Resource Manager also resigned in May this year. No reasons were given for his/her resignation.

This left 4 top SINU position vacant. Currently the positions are assumed on acting basis only.

Yumi Toktok Forum understands that the two Pro VC positions have been advertised beginning of this year but since then are yet to be filled.

The social media network said an Australian of Indian origin was appointed for the VC position but turned down the offer because SINU could not meet his remunerations.

“He visited SINU but decided not to come back because SINU cannot meet his $2m-a-year salary package”, one SINU academic told YTTF.

This academic who spoke with YTTF said it is sad that our two local Doctorate holders who are engaged by SINU in the research division have been overlooked.

“It’s time to trust our own academics to take up leading roles in our own University”, the local Academic told YTTF.

“None of these two Doctoral holders were considered for acting basis, even though one of them applied for the Pro VC position. The two Acting Pro-Vice Chancellors are Masters only”, he added.

“As a young University, SINU needs directions”, YTTF quoted an Academic as saying.

“SINU needs these top leaders so that timely, efficient, effective and critical decisions are made for the good of SINU going forward.”

Meanwhile the Honiara City Council has revealed that SINU owes it some $376, 000 in unpaid property rate, according to a public notice published in Monday’s paper.