Sept 04, Colombo: A student union in Sri Lanka says the students' movements in the country would oppose moves by the government to re-introduce the private universities bill.
National Organizer of the Socialist Students Union (SSU), Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa issuing a statement has said that the government is attempting to reintroduce the 'private universities bill' that was temporarily withdrawn due to objections from university students and lecturers.
Dr. Jayatissa noted that the latest attempt is to further legalize the establishment of private universities through the extra-special gazette notification no. 1824/21 issued on 22nd August.
The SSU in March this year said the Higher Education Ministry had compiled such a document and had sent it to the Legal Draftsman's Department.
"The relevant document had 36 clauses and the gazette notification was issued removing only the 9th clause which stated that 'the institute that applies to present degrees should make payments to a special authority in the Ministry of Higher Education'," Dr. Jayatissa noted.
"The University Grants Commission (UGC) established under University Act 16 of 1978 has been authorized supervision, inspection and regulation of all higher education institutions in the country. Even President J.R. Jayewardene, who first attempted to sell education by introducing free economy to the country, couldn't completely abolish independence of the UGC. Attempts were made to establish private medical colleges during the periods of JR Jayewardene and Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga by wriggling through loopholes that existed in the existing laws. Those governments were not able to weaken the University Act or the UGC. However, it seems that the Mahinda Rajapaksa government is determined to begin private universities," Dr. Jayatissa added.
The SSU called on the public to rally with Sri Lankan students' movement to prevent the privatization of the country's education sector.