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)

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Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe

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