Bandula to draft strategy for local degree for every successful A\L student

Higher Education Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena speaks to university students’ union representatives at the Ministry yesterday.

Higher Education Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said the President has given him 60 days to formulate a strategy to offer university education locally to every student who passes the GCE Advanced Level Examination each year.

The Minister disclosed this when university students’ union representatives met him at the Higher Education Ministry yesterday to inform him of problems confronting the university student community and problems in the higher education sector.

The delegation included students of the Sri Jayewardenepura, Peradeniya Ruhuna, Moratuwa, South Eastern, and Ocean Universities as well as Univotech Institute and university colleges.

Minister Gunawardena said only about 30,000 students gained entrance to state universities annually, while nearly 20,000 others left for higher education abroad. Some parents even had to mortgage their houses and other assets to finance their children’s education abroad. This happened due to the absence of a proper local education system to benefit children. That is why the President had directed him to formulate a strategy to ensure university education within the country to all students passing the Advanced Level exam.

Minister Gunawardena said it was distressing to note that nearly 2,000 students who gained entry to local universities bade goodbye to university education unable to withstand the most cruel forms of ragging.

He said there have been instances where students had committed suicide due to shame or have been confined to the sick bed for lifetime due to virulent forms of ragging they had to endure. A majority of students facing these atrocities are children of parents from the rural sector. Wealthy parents did not aspire to send their children to local universities after getting their children to pass the London Ordinary Level examination by attending international schools. These parents admit their to a university college advertised in the newspapers to obtain a higher diploma and then sent them abroad to obtain a degree.

The Minister said once he formulated the new strategy, most of the problems highlighted by student representatives would be solved. 

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