Undergrads launch protests against Malabe PMC


by Dasun Edirisinghe

Undergraduates launched a protest campaign against the University Grants Commission approval for the Private Medical College (PMC) in Malabe to award MBBS degrees.

Convener of the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Sanjeewa Bandara told The Island that they had staged protests opposite the Peradeniya and Ruhuna universities on Thursday.

He said that they would hold protests opposite the Kelaniya, Rajarata, Visual and Performing Arts and Buddhist and Pali Universities next week.

"This government and the previous governments are in a process of privatising the free education system of the country," Bandara said adding that they would always oppose the move.

The government, he said, had started a process of privatising education by allowing private medical colleges to be set up in the country.

While the medical faculties of the government universities were struggling due to lack of resources, the government was promoting private medical colleges, Bandara said.

"When the then UNP government set up a private medical college in Ragama in the early 1980s, our comrades successfully opposed it and they had to affiliate it to the Kelaniya University," he said.

Bandara said that the protests opposite all universities in the country would be only the first stage of a much bigger campaign.

At the second stage they would bring undergraduates from all universities to Colombo, he said.

According to him, they would plan their future course of action with other student unions including the Medical Faculty Students Action Committee.

Addressing a media briefing at the UGC, Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake said on Tuesday the government would develop the national universities and permitting the establishment of private universities was a government policy decision.

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