University troublemakers: SB warns JVP

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake on Thursday warned the JVP that those who caused trouble in Universities would be severely dealt with.

Addressing a gathering at the auditorium of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, Minister Dissanayake said that a series of fresh courses, introduced as part of the overall educational reforms would be conducted in English. He said that he wouldn’t hesitate to promote the learning of English to meet the growing demand for English qualified professionals.

Reiterating his commitment to set up private universities in spite of heavy protests by the JVP, Minister Dissanayake said that the country had no option but to involve the private sector in setting up universities. The Minister warned that the JVP wouldnbe allowed to engage in ragging as part of its political strategy to suppress and indoctrinate undergraduates.

Meanwhile UPFA MP Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha has endorsed Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake’s decision to make it compulsory for those seeking university entrance to sit the General English paper, beginning this year, in spite of the government’s failure to assign teachers of English to many schools, especially in the rural sector.

The National List MP said that no one would be denied university admission on the basis of marks for English. It was not mandatory for students to pass the examination, the MP said. Those who opposed the project had failed to substantiate their concerns, he said.

The Higher Education Ministry’s move would give universities an opportunity to assess new entrants and take remedial measures. The MP said: "Now each university has a placement test after students enter, which takes time and money, whereas there already exists an exam that is in theory compulsory." The schools should prepare students to sit the General English paper, he said.

Commenting on the dearth of teachers of English, as pointed out by presidential advisor Dr. Sunimal Fernando before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), Prof. Wijesinha said Dr. Fernando had commented on the situation in schools in general and in schools with GCE (A/L) classes. "I cannot speak for all, but no school I know that has A/L classes is without English teachers," Pro. Wijesinha said.

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