UGC probes shirking dons on COPE directions

FUTA chief says uni. administrators should inquire into it

by Dasun Edirisinghe

 The University Grants Commission (UGC) has started investigations into lecture hours and time tables of the university lecturers as requested by the Parliamentary watchdog Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE).

UGC Chairman Prof. Gamini Samaranayake told The Island the UGC had already instructed the heads of countrywide universities to provide relevant details.

COPE interim report presented to Parliament last week has noted that there are serious lapses on the part of university administrators. According to details provided by the UGC on the number of lecture hours conducted by each lecturer in the year 2010, there were 117 lecturers whose number of lecture hours conducted for the entire year had been less fewer than ten. The watchdog committee has strongly criticised the relevant authorities for turning a blind eye to such grave shortcomings.

Prof. Samaranayake said that the UGC had submitted the details given by respective universities according to the time tables of lecturers.

"We have been asked to conduct a further investigation on the issue by the COPE," he said, adding it would be a deep study.

The COPE report had said that the committee was of the view that the university education in Sri Lanka requires some drastic changes for its qualitative development. The curricula have not been changed for years in step with the changes taking place in the relevant fields over the past few decades.

When contacted by The Island for comments, President of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA), the main trade union of university teachers, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said lecture hours varied from junior lecturers to professors.

He said that according to university rules, normally a lecturer would have to complete nine hours of lectures per week.

"Our records are submitted to the Vice Chancellor via heads of department annually," Dr. Devasiri said, adding if a lecturer did not complete required number of hours the university administrators should inquire into it.

Accepting the claim that some lecturers had not completed the required lecture hours, the FUTA chief said, action should be taken against them according to university regulations.

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