Shortage of academics impacts global rankings of state universities

Monday, 14th of August 2023

The rankings of State universities in Sri Lanka are at stake due to the shortage of academics and inability to complete research. University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Prof Sampath Amaratunga told Education Times that there is a shortage of some 1,000 to 1,500 lecturers. As a result, some 6,000 research work has been held up, thereby posing a threat to the rankings of State universities.

The rankings in recent years have been showing an improvement, but the fresh issues could pose a threat to this. Prof Amaratunga said that three of the country’s universities – Colombo, Peradeniya and Sri Jayewardenepura are among the 1,500 to 2,000 ranks. “Even during the previous crisis situations the rankings had not dropped,” he added. He said in the QS World University Rankings there were six Sri Lankan Universities.

They are Colombo, Peradeniya, Moratuwa, Ruhunu, Kelaniya and Jaffna campuses. Prof Amaratunga said that Education Minister Susil Premajayantha has obtained Cabinet approval to recruit academic staff to fill in the vacancies created by staff leaving the country, retirement and those who have passed away during 2022 and until June this year.

He said once the decision is implemented they would be able to fill some 400 vacancies, but more than 1,000 are needed to fully restore academic functions. He said priority will be given to those holding Phds in order to minimise persons leaving the system for further education. With the new batch to be recruited the number of students will go up to 155,598 and the number of lecturers 6,548, but the actual requirement is 12,992. He said usually 30 per cent of vacancies are not filled in order to recruit persons who have special qualifications.