University education to be broad-based – Minister Warnapala
COLOMBO: Higher Education Minister Prof. Vishva Warnapala asserted that University education would never ever be privatised but would be broad-based in line with modern trends of education with the formulation of a ‘Development Oriented’ policy for higher education.
Addressing journalists at the weekly Cabinet press briefing at the Government Information Department in Narahenpita yesterday, Minister Warnapala stressed that the frequently misinterpreted and misleading slogan of ‘Privatisation of Universities’ was a myth.
Nevertheless, he said that we ought to move with the contemporary global trends and ascend from a primarily and absolutely undergraduate education to a postgraduate education system based on quality and relevance.
“We have maintained a ‘Social Demand’ model of education since 1944. We should now formulate a ‘Development Oriented’ policy framework for higher education in order to be able to accommodate more qualified students who also aspire to a higher education.
We must broad-base and expand the framework to include learning and research education as well. We now propose to expand the ‘Distance Learning’ mode of education.
We will also enhance and develop infrastructural facilities available in all universities, regardless of their regions,” he said.
Outlining the present local university structure Prof. Warnapala said that we have a vibrant university structure which is comparatively even ahead of India.
However, it only caters for little over 17,000 selected students from about 90,000 students who have qualified for a university education from around 210,000 students who sit for the Advanced Level Examination.
Prof. Warnapala reiterated that despite the ongoing politically-oriented agitation opposing the ‘Anti-Ragging’ legislation which was unanimously passed in Parliament in 1998, the Government will never ever lift this ban in the interest of the universities which are strictly ‘Learning Centres’.
Responding to a query from a journalist regarding the unwarranted drain of foreign exchange out of the country from Sri Lankans seeking higher education overseas, Minister Warnapala said that Sri Lankans spend around US Dollars 46 million annually for higher education abroad, despite the Government’s efforts to enhance the prospects of higher education locally with increased spending on education.