Students complain it is unbearable for many in rural areas

OUSL hikes fees by 40 per cent

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Students of the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) are protesting against increasing of fees by 40% and banning student unions by the university administration.

Co-convener of the OUSL Students Collective Amila Sandaruwan said that normally the charges were increased by 10% but from this year it had been increased by as much as 40%.

"Most of the OUSL students are from rural areas or registered in the regional centres of the OUSL," he said, noting that they could not afford the revised fees, which had already caused some students to drop out after completing one or two years.

Sandaruwan said that the university administration had banned students’ council and faculty student unions a few years back.

The university administration had not allowed them to hold any event including cultural shows, art festivals and students had to conduct those events outside the university, he said.

The student activist said that the students had also been barred from being in the university premises after 5.00 pm. "Degree courses at the OUSL mostly cater to the employed, but how could they make use of library facilities and study when the university closed at 5.00 pm?"

He said that they had complained regarding those problems to the Human Rights Commission and the commission promised to probe it within two weeks.

When contacted for comment, Vice Chancellor of the University Dr. Vijitha Nanayakkara said that they had to increase charges due to high expenditure.

He said that the charges had not been increased for several years.

"We have to close the university at 6.00pm due to inhuman ragging," Dr. Nanayakkara said adding that ragging was also the reason to ban unions.

He said that a section of students created trouble always and coerced others to toe their line.

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