ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state universities will recommence their academic activities starting today, subject to 11 conditions, University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Sampath Amaratunga said.
Vice chancellors of all state universities have been authorised to recommence lectures and exams for third and final year students, subject to the conditions imposed by the UGC as well as the COVID-19 prevention guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.
Sri Lanka’s universities had been closed since March 13, with a number of faculties offering lectures online.
“Although the university gates were closed, academic activities continued online. We were able to conduct exams and clinical trials for MBBS students by June 15. This is a victory for the country and our higher education system,” said Amaratunga.
The 11 conditions as highlighted by Amaratuga are as follows:
- Only students of two academic years can be called to the university premises at a given time – ideally third and fourth year students.
- At university hostels, one room must be reserved for one student. This is compulsory, and a one-metre distance must be maintained between students at exams, practical sessions, laboratories and libraries.
- All academic activities and exams must end on time, prioritising the students of faculties whose exams are due.
- All academic activities preceding exams must be completed in as short a time as possible. Under no circumstances must they exceed four weeks.
- Clinical trials can begin for final year MBBS students. For this, the relevant medical faculties must seek the advice of directors of relevant teaching hospitals, microbiologists, specialist doctors, and PHIs.
- Similarly, clinical trials can begin for dental and ayurvedic final year students.
- Upon completion of academic activities and exams, students must return home, and must not for any reason linger in the university premises. No student is allowed on the premises after 7pm.
- No permission is granted to convene for sports and other extracurricular activities. No social gatherings will be allowed in this period.
- All VCs are advised to pay close attention to the facilities at their hostels, and upon a proper study of how many students can be accommodated at a time, may recommence academic and exam activities.
- The health ministry circular pertaining to universities is still valid.
- All VCs have the authority to determine how many academic and nonacademic staff may be present at a given time, depending on requirements. (Colombo/Jul6/2020)