ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 09

Undergrads protest at lack of facilities

By Isuri Kaviratne

The Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF) plans to meet with President Mahinda Rajapaksa bypassing the Education Minister, to resolve problems relating to universities. IUSF Convenor Duminda Nagamuwa said a list of difficulties faced by university students will be handed over tomorrow to the President.

After the protest held outside the University Grants Commission (UGC) premises on July 24 and the break-in to its premises to hand over a letter to the Chairman regarding the lack of facilities and the difficulties the students were facing, the IUSF expressed its disappointment as both Chairman Prof. Gamini Samaranayaka and Higher Education Minister Wishwa Warnapala had not been present to accept the letter.

“The minister did not give us any opportunity to discuss these matters though we requested an opportunity to do so,” he said adding that some of the agreements entered into by the ministry and the IUSF during the time Minister Susil Premajayantha was in charge of the Higher Education Ministry had been neglected.

“The female students who had been sent to the hostel which is situated away from the university were told that they would be provided a bus to go to the hostel after lectures in the evening as the area was not secure enough in the evenings. Minister Premajayantha too agreed to it in the discussions but still it has not been provided to them,” Mr. Nagamuwa said. Cutting down of allocations and hiring out of the university grounds were some of the issues raised at the protest.

“It will start with the grounds and then go to lecture halls, labs and then the whole university”, he said adding that as universities were not money earning centres, not raising money but giving the students a proper education should be given precedence.

Meanwhile, a clash between the Kelaniya University Students’ Union and the Science Faculty Union led to the closure of the university indefinitely as several students were injured including the Students’ Union president Ven. Morakandegoda Piyananda Thera.

Expressing his dissatisfaction over the lack of reaction from the Vice Chancellor, Mr. Nagamuwa said the VC would have acted more strictly had the Students’ Union caused the commotion.

“The Government is behind the Science Faculty Union. What students do is what the Government supporters who are active behind them want them to do,” he said. Prof. Samaranayake said it was absurd to protest about the difficulties and lack of facilities for students while ragging, which is prohibited by the university by-laws, takes place.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.