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IUSF to launch protest on March 7 against amendments to KNDU Act

Sunday, 6th of March 2022 Views - 287

Student union leader accuses govt. of deliberately delaying re-opening of state universities

The Inter University Students Union (IUSF) is planning to hold protest marches and demonstrations island-wide from March 7 onwards, against the alleged move to bring in amendments to the General Sir John Kotelawala National Defence University Act. IUSF’s Convener Wasantha Mudalige said a letter has been sent to all Parliamentarians by Chief Government Whip Johnston Fernando with proposed amendments to the Act. The MPs were also requested to propose changes or introduce amendments by March 8. “Despite the assurance in August last year to temporarily hold introducing amendments to the Act, the government is now planning to introduce amendments, thereby privatising and militarising the education system and changing the higher education system,” he said.

The IUSF called for unions representing professionals, university lecturers, teachers and other employee unions to organise protest marches and raise their voices against any changes introduced to the Act. “The University Grants Commission (UGC)’s powers are taken away and a separate structure is being created. The proposed amendments will have the UGC Chairman, senior Higher Education Ministry officials and two higher education sector experts appointed by the President on the board. This will give more power to the new structure headed by top military officials,” Mr. Mudalige said.

The student union leader said the amendments once passed would give powers to even establish new private schools affiliated to KDU apart from faculties, institutes, departments. He said the government was also making attempts to oppress the student movement by delaying the reopening of state universities. “More than 1.2 million state employees are reporting to work and 4.5 million students will attend schools from Monday. If the country is functioning under normal conditions then university students can report to the universities,” Mr. Mudalige said.