Minister promises relief to Rajarata undergrads
Dharma Sri Abeyratne
COLOMBO: The protest conducted by the students of Rajarata University
was called off after an assurance given to the agitators by Higher
Education Minister Prof. Wiswa Warnapala that the Ministry would take
immediate action to address students' grievances. The Minister agreed to
solve most of the demands of the students at the meeting held at the
Higher Education Ministry with ten members of the students' union
The Minister said that he has submitted a Cabinet paper last
Wednesday and received the Cabinet approval to construct two hostels
which would facilitate accommodation of 800 students. Accordingly, the
Government has allocated Rs. 360 million for the construction of two
separate hostels as an initial step towards addressing the burning
problems confronting the Rajarata University. The Minister assured that
the Higher Education Ministry would take immediate action on this issue.
Speaking on the students' demand to take over the Police quarters for
use as university hostels, the Minister said that the Higher Education
Minister has to discuss the matter with the Police Department and
Ministry of Defence .
Though this process will take some time, the Higher Education
Ministry will attend to this as a matter of urgency after the students
asked for a dead-line. But the students pointed out that the Ministry
had gone back on it's word on earlier occasions . According to the
students they received the same assurance six months ago but no action
had been taken up todate.
The Minister advised the Chairman of the UGC to address the issue of
the dearth of academic staff with immediate effect.
The UGC Chairman pointed out, despite the continuous advertisements
in papers it was difficult to attract qualified lecturers. Hence Prof.
Warnapala advised the UGC Chairman to look into the possibility of
granting an incentive allowance aiming to attract lecturers. In addition
steps will be taken to solve the drinking water problem since the
students complained that they lack this basic need.