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Sunday December 10th, 2023

Campuses prepare for the increased number of students this year

Entrance to the Sri Jayawardenapura University – file photo

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry expects to vaccinate university students against Covid 19 virus as groups starting from 4th-year students to restore normal activities of the universities in the country, Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Prof Sampath Amaratunga said today.

Prof Amaratunga said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had also instructed the Health Ministry yesterday to vaccinate about 5800 medical students including the medical students in the Kotelawala Defence University attending their clinical clerkship before the end of February.

Speaking about university education which was done online in the past year, he said that from March 20, 2020, up until January 21, 2021, more than 3.6 million university students had done their studies online while more than 80,000 lectures were conducted remotely.

“Before Covid, no student did their studies through the internet in the university system. This shows that the university system fully functioned with online facilities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added

Moreover, he said most of the university students joined online lectures through mobile phones as they did not have a computer.

Further, he said that UGC is hoping to give university admission to 10,579 more students than in the other years which will take the number of university students joining 15 universities in the country from 30,000 to 40,000 this year.

According to Prof Amaratunga, 481 more medical students, 565 engineering students, 2927 science students, 1099 technology students, 1803 management and commerce students and 1680 arts students will be some of the students among the increase students who will enter the university system this year.

He said that the UGC had already submitted the required estimates to the treasury for the additional laboratory facilities, equipment and machinery for research activities needed to accompany this larger number of university students entering universities this year

He also said Vice-Chancellors will meet Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on March 2 to discuss the necessary fund allocations for this expansion in the university system.

He added that the treasury has also given the approval for the UGC to recruit 500 teachers for the increased number of students. (Colombo/Feb17/2021)

Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe

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  1. Wannaku abayasekara says:

    Make use of retired lecturers and those willing to come to Sri Lanka in subjects where qualified lecturers are difficult to find . Also, a few lecturers from abroad who are willing to come on sabbatical

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  1. Wannaku abayasekara says:

    Make use of retired lecturers and those willing to come to Sri Lanka in subjects where qualified lecturers are difficult to find . Also, a few lecturers from abroad who are willing to come on sabbatical

ADB USD200mn loan for Sri Lanka economic stabilization efforts

ECONOMYNEXT – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US 200 million dollar concessional loan to Sri Lanka to help stabilize the country’s finance sector.

The Financial Sector Stability and Reforms Program comprises two subprograms of IS 200 million dollars each, according to a statement by the ADB.

“The program’s overarching development objective is fully aligned with the country’s strategy of maintaining finance sector stability, while ensuring that banks are well-positioned for eventual recovery,” ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Takafumi Kadono was quoted as saying in the statement.

“The expected development outcome is a stable financial system providing access to affordable finance for businesses in various sectors of the economy.”

The ADB statement continues:

“Subprogram 1 targets short-term stabilization and crisis management measures that were implemented in 2023, while subprogram 2 is planned to be implemented in 2024 and focuses on structural reforms and long-term actions to restore growth in the banking sector.

The program will help strengthen the stability and governance of the country’s banking sector; improve the banking sector’s asset quality; and deepen sustainable and inclusive finance, particularly for women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest review, Sri Lanka’s economy is showing tentative signs of stabilization, although a full economic recovery is not yet assured.

The program is a follow-on assistance from ADB’s crisis response under the special policy-based loan that was approved for Sri Lanka in May 2023.

It is aligned with the fourth pillar of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility provided to Sri Lanka to help the country regain financial stability.

It is also in line with the government’s reform agenda, including strengthening the operational independence of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and its designation as the country’s macroprudential authority.

In designing this subprogram 1 loan, ADB has maintained close coordination and collaboration with the IMF to design targeted regulatory reforms for the banking sector—including the asset quality review—and with the World Bank on strengthening the deposit insurance scheme.

“The loan is accompanied by a $1 million grant from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund to provide advisory, knowledge, and institutional capacity building for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and CBSL.”

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Sri Lank in blackout as power grid hit by cascading failure

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka suffered a blackout as Saturday evening as the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board grid was hit by a cascading power failure.

The cascading failure is believed to have been triggered by the failure of the Kothmale-Biyagama transmission line.

“The Ceylon Electricity Board wishes to inform our customers that due to the failure of Kotmale – Biyagama main transmission line, an island wide power failure has occurred,” CEB Spokesman Noel Priyantha said.

“Step by step restorations are underway and it may take few hours to completely restore the power supply.”

With hydro plants running flat out, a outage of the line tends to create a big imbalance in the demand and supply, leading to tripping of more lines and generators.

Lines can trip due to lightening strikes, or equipment failures.

Sri Lanka last suffered a cascading failure in December 2021, due to the failure of the same transmission line.

RelatedSri Lanka power blackout as grid hit by cascading failure

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Sri Lanka to host regional Food and Agriculture Organization conference

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will host the 37th session of the Asia Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), from February 19-22, 2024 in Colombo.

The Conference will bring together agriculture ministers and officials from 46 countries across the region to discuss challenges in food and agriculture.

“The 37th APRC will provide a vital platform for regional collaboration, benefitting the agricultural landscape, fisheries sector and environment of Sri Lanka,” Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said at a press briefing on Friday (8) to announce the conference.

FAO has had an active presence in Sri Lanka for over 40 years. “FAO has supported the country in the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and the development of the fisheries sector for growth and climate resilience,” Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives said.

“The APRC conference will be an opportunity to highlight the innovative approaches introduced in partnership with the government.”

By hosting APRC, Sri Lanka hopes to demonstrate the country’s dedication to the growth of sustainable agriculture, and showcase its commitment to sustainable agricultural development.

The APRC agenda will include a forum on agritourism, especially requested by the Sri Lankan government.

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