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* President tells universities to reorganize tertiary education to prepare graduates for the labor market
Sat, May 16, 2020, 08:36 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 16, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has told the administrators of the island’s universities to reorganize the tertiary education system to prepare the graduates to fit the labor market.

During a meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat Friday with the Vice Chancellors of Universities and the Chairman of the University Grants Commission, the President emphasized tha the higher education system should be designed in such a way that would enable graduates, who enter the labor market upon completion of their university education, to find employment opportunities speedily.

“Whatever the definitions given to university education, if young people leaving the universities cannot find jobs there must be something intrinsically wrong with the system,” the President said pointing out that there should be an education system that make job opportunities run after graduates instead of them staging demonstrations demanding employment.

The Universities and the Schools should reopen only in accordance with recommendations of the health authorities, the President said adding that the present context must be utilized to further expand the already introduced distance learning system.

He said that at least 30 percent of the university student population should be attracted towards online education.

President Rajapaksa recalling that thousands of students studying overseas were to be flown back in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic added that such a large number of students seeking higher education abroad is counterproductive in many aspects.

‘Their education abroad causes a huge outflow of foreign exchange. Parents also suffer when their children are away from homes. In order to put an end to this disturbing practice, we need to diversify our university education. It is essential to introduce Degree courses covering areas such as modern technologies including Information Technology, Nursing, Teaching and Tourism.” President emphasized.

President Rajapaksa highlighted the possibility of assembling low-cost computers targeting university students. “Engineering Faculties of universities and others who possess the know-how can assist in this exercise. It is a necessity to provide a personal computer to each and every student who is eligible to enter a university in the future.”

The President stated that all university entrants must be given a comprehensive knowledge in communication technology and English language prior to their entry into universities.

In response to a query by President Rajapaksa about the university intake this year Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Prof. Sampath Amaratunga said that additional 7,500 students will be enrolled for tertiary education this time.

Principal Advisor to the President, Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education Anura Dissanayake, other members of the UGC and Vice-Chancellors of the universities were present at the discussion.


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