SRI LANKA: Fresh thinking on universities needed

The debate on private universities in Sri Lanka has begun again, with the same arguments to which we have been listening for nearly three decades, writes Anuruddha Pradeep, a lecturer in political science at Sri Jayawar-denapura University, for The Island. We have become all too familiar with the subject, in fact. At times, people have got so carried away that lives have been lost. With the re-election of the UPFA government, the same battle is being replayed with new generals.

Ven Dr Bellanwila Wimalarathne Thero has urged newly-appointed Minister of Higher Education, SB Dissanayake, to "have some backbone" and go ahead with plans to open private universities, while Udul Premarathne, convener of the Inter University Students' Federation, has threatened that such action would lead to 'war'. It isn't getting us anywhere.

When the same discussion came up a few years ago, I wrote an article in Divaina to present a proposal that I felt could be accepted by both camps - those against the government monopoly of higher education and those against private universities - and would support the needs of the country. I suggested increasing the capacity of the existing system and allocating the new space created to paid students chosen according to a fair process.
Full report on The Island site