The Secretarys Speech








Most Venerable Mahasangha, Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Additional Secretaries of the Ministry of Higher Education and Members of the University Grants Commission, Vice Chancellors, Directors, University Council Members, Invited Distinguished Resource Persons, Journalist Friends of Media Firms and Friends, Good Morning to you all! I am happy to welcome you all today for this timely, significant and important program. Further, I wish to convey my sincere gratitude to all the scholars who have contributed as resource persons for this important program. Also, I extend my appreciation to all the members of the University Grants Commission, who have agreed to bear the co-sponsorship of this program. Since I do not meet Vice Chancellors of Universities and University Council members together at the same venue, please allow me to draw your kind attention towards a few major considerations, in addition to the theme of the day. On behalf of the Ministry of Higher Education, I would like to emphasis that I pay strong attention regarding the purposes of the right to education and also safeguard the State University System and its children, and the offering of a quality degree. May I now dwell on the following; 1. Eradication of ragging. 2. Implementation of degree programs at its maximum capacity having filled the vacancies created by non-enrolment of students after being registered at Universities. 3. Allocation of a year for institutional, industry, and practical training without traditional theoretical courses. (For programs for which this have not been introduced currently.) 4. If it is not possible to teach the entire degree program in English medium, to teach either as subject wise. Introduction of computer application for degree programs in conformity with the subject requirements. 5. Since physical resources available at universities are not private properties belonging to a certain department, faculty, utilization of those commonly for universities as to obtain maximum benefits. 6. Yielding of maximum benefits out of the agreements made with foreign universities and countries. 7. Having obtained internal audit reports and Auditor General’s reports, taking necessary steps by the university council regarding the deficiencies pointed out therein. In a society which is developed not only in the sense of human rights but also developed technologically and in the sense of civilization, the brutal ragging continued by a hostile group without empathy should be wiped out from the university system. Senior students should comprehend that the civilized human society is no more approving that. A developed mind should be created in university community so as to honor the right that a person is privileged with to refrain from what he/ she dislikes to do, whether it is brutal ragging or something defined as a minimal level. You should not forget the incidents where precious lives had been sacrificed due to ragging. You must have been aware that some students had committed suicide since they were unable to bear the pressure of ragging. Another group of persons had become patients who have to go through medical treatments throughout the lifetime due to the brutal punishments of ragging. Some people have received psychological treatments for mental breakdowns caused by this. Even though qualified for state universities, a considerable number of students do not take the option of state universities merely due to the phobia of ragging, and, also, it can be seen that there is a group of students who leave the university after enrolling solely due to the ragging. Approaching nearly up to 10% is a tragedy of the nation. As soon as your child is selected for university entrance, isn’t this the phobia that you feel? You, yourselves know what are the faculties with ragging and without ragging. You would find examples that friendships and brotherhoods could be built without ragging. The Vice Chancellors and Deans should take action to eradicate ragging, and the university council should take immediate steps for taking not only disciplinary action but also legal action against this criminal offense. Selection of a child to a university is a practical example for encouraging other students for learning at a rural school. It is the topmost target created by teachers with regard to their studies. Therefore, I believe that an expeditious methodology should be compiled by universities together with the UGC to fill the vacancies created by non-enrolment of students after being registered at universities, even in the next term. I would like to point out that it is advisable to continue the degree programs at its full capacity by admitting at least an additional number of students, considering the average number of students who have left in the first quarter of the first year of the past 05 years. While producing scholars who can raise the human society of the country to the optimum level, he should be a graduate who fits to an institution, a workplace, a school. For producing these graduates with humanity, I believe you need to allocate some amount from what you earn, for extracurricular activities such as arts, sports, cultural, practical work or social projects. Even though you earn income from a faculty, department wise, you should contribute for the overall development of the university. I believe that you will plan and implement necessary steps to provide one year practical training beyond the traditional theoretical degree programs for courses that have not yet commenced practical training. Still, the only expectation of the rural children on free education is to enter the university in the Arts or Commerce stream. We must understand that even though they have an interest, due to the shortage of teachers in Science, Maths and English, they do not have the capacity to excel in those areas. I don’t have to explain additionally regarding the role that can be performed by an Arts graduate to create a human society with empathy for the wellbeing of human society. However, they have to be employable according to the market reality. You have the responsibility to prepare this graduate for the commerce, industry, tourism and service sectors where the employment opportunities are available. Therefore, learning of English language and computer skills will strengthen his degree. Therefore, if you are not able to, cover the entire degree program, you should commence teaching a few subjects in English. I expect computer training to be offered as a subject module relevant to the respective subject. I commend the universities that have already taken such steps. Further, each Dean is vested with the responsibility to send out the graduates after completion of the degree within the prescribed timeframe. The job market does not wait until the state university graduate arrives. Therefore, action should be taken to admit students who have passed Advanced Level examination, immediately and to offer the degree within the prescribed period. Here, if a certain university is unable to perform what the other university can do, it is questionable. You are also aware that some students are going through a pathway for pursuing a degree as soon as they have passed the Ordinary Level. If the graduate returns to the village as an unemployed graduate, the practical encouragement for school children for learning will be missed. You should not forget the socioeconomic cost that had been borne by us for the social eruptions caused by lack of study opportunities, and employments for graduates in the Northern, and in 1971, and 1989 social insurrections. Universities are being built as strong inflexible units as separate faculties and departments. You are kindly requested not to allocate faculty wise, department wise, vans, buses, lecture halls, auditoriums, hereinafter. These are public properties belonging to the Government. Therefore, a procedure for managing these properties can be easily compiled with a very simple computer software. Attention should be drawn to protect and utilize all the physical and human resources. The Auditor General has reported that a bus purchased for a certain institute had done only 3600 Km within the entire year. A driver and an assistant had been allocated for this bus and a garage with a floor area of 1000 sq.ft had been constructed for this bus. The council members should study and render their contribution regarding the agreements made with foreign universities and countries. You are kindly requested to inquire regarding the MoUs signed within the last five years. I should remind here that some agreements have, contributed for expanding physical resources of universities, research opportunities, and postgraduate degree opportunities. However, it has been observed that some agreements are limited only as merely a foreign tour to travel abroad for discussions and for signing, which utilizers all the earned funds. Further when certain Vice Chancellors have left those universities they have informed that some agreements would not be further implemented; therefore, I would like to point out that appropriate agreements should be further continued having discussed with faculties in that regard, and to cancel the useless agreements. Further, attention of the university council is important for the matters pointed out by external and internal auditing and to avoid lapses, and you are kindly requested to give required guidelines to relevant officials. Those who earn money for all the capital and recurrent expenditure required for public services including free education, health? Should not forget persons who are earning income for the country are the women who undergo various sufferings at Middle East, those who work in tea, rubber estates and in garment factories for a daily wage less than Rs. 1000/-, farmers and fishermen who work hard in paddy fields and in the deep ocean. We should not forget that we depend on indirect taxes and earnings of the public who are receiving a minimal amount of benefits from the country. When considering total loan repayment and public recurrent expenditure, only for the last four years’ capital expenditure has been invested with a 81 % of growth for the university system. A considerable portion of these investments are foreign loans and it should be deeply felt with your heart that people who could never send their children to universities payback these loans. At a university where students do not have minimum level of hostel facilities, I was astonished to see that construction of swimming pools, gardens, or access gates as priority proposals before completing that basic requirement. You should understand that 90% of the requests for equipment for extracurricular events such as sports equipment, music or aesthetic goods demanded by student unions of some universities, could be provided from the funds that you incur for foreign travels. Since the majority of the university academic and nonacademic staffs as well as the university council have obtained degrees from state universities, I do not have to mention specifically regarding the importance of giving priority for the students’ requirements. I still believe that more than 99% of the students are humane and civilized persons and they like to complete the degree within the prescribed timeframe for serving the society. Some academic staff members have introduced creative changes to the university system together with university students. Some responsibilities have been vested with university students, as well. I convey my appreciation for such lecturers. The excellent consultants of the country should be available at universities. A large sum of money is being incurred when implementing foreign projects and local projects of the government for various consultancy services not only in engineering, computing but also for socio-economic experiments. However, by providing human resources, consultancy services possessed by the university, students get a practical learning opportunity, and it is a blessing that some lecturers have thought of earning an additional income to the university. Therefore, I will take action to introduce a legal and easy procedure to the university system for delivering such consultancy services. You should have certain understanding regarding the cost incurred by the government to produce a university graduate and the time taken to receive that investment in return to the country. Using your knowledge, you should compile a methodology to maintain and continue this huge capital investment. I convey my gratitude to lecturers who encourage creative and innovative outputs using such local and foreign experiences purely with the good intention of providing better opportunities for students. If you have knowledge, if you have tactics, you should not hesitate to use them. More than the purposes of expanding degree programs, departments and faculties without formal evaluation, it is an essential fact to obtain recognition as per international standards for currently existing programs. I do believe that university councils and the University Grants Commission have the required knowledge and spirit for directing the university system to a new direction. I appreciate the role of Vice Chancellors Deans and the contribution made by council members as experts in different fields. May I now draw your attention to all the matters pointed out above, and request to pay special attention to today’s theme “a University premises with humanity and without ragging.” If you all together cannot wipe out ragging, I should state that you have failed to fulfil the responsibilities vested on you by the government. Not taking action to prevent a crime is also a crime. If the responsibility holders fail to bear responsibilities, I will not hesitate to make required recommendations for handing over those to a capable person. You should take the responsibility for not allowing chances for limited number among the vast majority of students who do not have the sadistic mentality of deriving pleasure through others undergoing discomfort or pain. I will not neglect the onus that the destiny has handed over to me. I will act with my utmost strength to grant higher education opportunities for students who have passed Advanced Level Examination. I request from you all to work with me with courage towards granting of a quality degree for university students, granting them the required facilities, and for securing and expanding free education opportunities for children of remote areas. I would like to finally state that as the Secretary to the Ministry and the Chief Accounting Officer, that I will stand with you and protect you with regard to any further steps taken to improve and experiment with the university community towards that purpose. I appreciate suggestions and proposals of the academic and non academic staff and the scholars who have an interest towards higher education, regarding my comments. I extend my best wishes for todays Workshop to be a success. Thank you.

පුවත් සහ සිදුවීම්