University courses must serve the job market – President
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa wants sweeping reforms in the University curricula gearing them to serve the job market, a Media release issued by his office said Monday.
At a meeting held with the Vice-Chancellors of the Universities, on Monday he called on the leaders in the Universities to “take the right decisions to make this country strong again.”
“University course contents should serve the demands of the job market and political pressures and other interference should be ignored in this matter,” the President said.
He went on to note that employment generation centred around Tourism, Cultivation and Plantations could jump-start the economy, the statement added.
Rajapaksa had pointed out that “despite the number of job vacancies in the areas of Medicine, Engineering, Nursing and Information technology the university system has failed to address the issue over time.”
The President pointed out that it is absolutely necessary to consider these grave issues when forming policies relating to tertiary education.
He suggested that the addition of Information Technology and a language as a subject for Arts degrees would pave the way for an expedited development process within the next three years.
The President stated that it is important to establish a national education policy so that no future government can deviate from it. President added that for this purpose he would go for a referendum if needed to establish such a policy.
“The universities should possess the right to select students in accordance with the course content they offer at the university. Building new universities and addressing issues pertaining to other facilities is the responsibility of the University Grants Commission. For student guidance programs in relation to newly implemented courses, the Ministry of Education can use premises such as the BMICH.” President added.
The president advised the University Grants Commission to relax some of the regulations imposed on law students in the Kothalawala Defence University.
President Rajapaksa highlighted the need for the University Grants Commission to oversee the entire education system without confining itself to the administration of universities.
The President also advised the officials present to introduce faster internet access as current university students require speedy access to information for their research and experiments.
Minister of Higher Education, Bandula Gunawardana, Secretary to the president, P.B Jayasundara, Senior President’s Counsellor, Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education, Anura Dissanayake, Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Professor Sampath Amaratunga and Vice-Chancellors of all the universities were present at the discussion.
Economic Intelligence Unit of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
Jehan Perera - Executive Director National Peace Council