‘University system being upgraded to take an enhanced intake’

By Dasun Edirisinghe

State Minister of Higher Education Mohan Lal Grero unveiling a plaque after laying the foundation stone for the academic building of the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM) of the Colombo Medical Faculty. Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education and Highways D. C. Dissanayake, Secretary of the State Ministry of Higher Education D.G.M.V. Hapuarachchi, Additional Secretary P. G. Jayasinghe, Director Somanath Gamage, Chairman of the University Grants Commission Prof. Mohan de Silva, Vice Chancellor of the Colombo University Prof. Lakshman Dissanayake, Director of the PGIM Prof. Janaka de Silva were also present.

Sri Lanka’s state university system would be upgraded within the next five years enabling it to increase the annual intake to 35,000 by 2020, State Minister of Higher Education Mohan Lal Grero said yesterday.

He said the ministry had paid its attention to explore the higher education opportunities, ensure the quality and standards of the university education, prepare graduates suitable for the job market and promote the research and development to enhance the state higher education sector.

State Minister Grero was addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone for the proposed academic building of the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine of the University of Colombo at Borella.

At present around 25,000 students were admitted to countrywide universities and it would be increased by 10% annually. The target was to increase the university intake to 35,000 within five years, he said.

Grero said a project to build 60 hostels launched under the previous government was nearing completion and they could accommodate 24,000 students.

He said the government would construct another 15 hostels to accommodate 400 additional students.

“We conducted a survey on how to change the university courses and institutional development with funding from the World Bank,” Grero said, adding that the government would set up a separate independent body to maintain the quality and standards of the universities and higher education according to the recommendations of the survey. The Act to set up the institution had already been drafted, he said.

The state minister said all universities had been directed to update remaining courses and introduce new courses suitable for the job market.

Grero said they had already linked five universities with entrepreneurs and it would help undergraduates to join the job market when they passed out.

“We have already allocated one billion rupees for the development of research,” he said, noting that Rs 600 million of that amount had been allocated for the post graduate research of university lecturers and the balance for research and surveys conducted by universities on national issues.

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