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UGC seeks to regain authority over non-State higher education institutions: Chairman

Friday, 18th of February 2022 Views - 411

The University Grants Commission (UGC) plans to request the Government to regain authority to regulate non-State universities. While the UGC previously had powers to regulate non-State higher education institutions, these powers were given to the Higher Education Ministry, at the time S.B. Dissanayake was the subject minister. “The UGC has met most of the key objectives set out for the higher education sector under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s manifesto of Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour,” UGC Chairman Sampath Amaratunge said.

“We have increased the student intake by 50,000 and opened several new campuses. We have also moved to reduce the time it takes between students receiving their G.C.E. A/L results and being enrolled in universities. In the past, it used to take up to a year but we have reduced that time period by about five months,” he said. “Nevertheless, the goal of developing non-State higher education institutions in the country, including universities, has hit obstacles because there is no proper regulatory body for such universities.

This has created issues for both students and administrators of foreign universities who wish to set up branches in Sri Lanka,” he added. “Some non-State higher education institutions have duped students into believing that they have been accredited by the UGC, but this is wrong as we currently have no such regulatory powers. Meanwhile, prominent universities in countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and India have expressed interest in setting up branches here.

However, they usually halt their plans when they realise that the UGC has no regulatory power as they do not want to get into a situation where they invest money on facilities only for legal obstacles to come up later.” As such, the UGC is planning to convey to both the President and the Government that it cannot move ahead with developing the non-State higher education sector in the country unless it is given back regulatory powers over such institutions, Prof. Amaratunga added.

Damith Wickramasekara