Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella said Vice Chancellors should be held responsible if students protest in front of the University Grants Commission (UGC) or Lipton Circus.
Addressing a function to mark the distribution of laptops to undergraduates, the Minister said the government had accepted in principle that the Vice Chancellors and university administrations should be in control of all the activities on campus.
"The government provides the necessary funds to the universities make comprehensive policies, create international connections etc. But, it is the vice chancellor and the administration who should retain control over university matters. If university students protest in front of Lipton's Circle and in front of the UGC, the vice chancellor and the administration of the university concerned should take the blame,” he said.
He said, “Today we are fulfilling one of the promises we made to university students during our election. We have fulfilled promises including increasing of the allowance university students, increasing of the Mahapola Scholarship as well as the budget for the higher education sector by 35%.
We have allocated funds to construct 20 hostels across the country. We hope to provide all the necessary hostel facilities to the students by 2018. The Prime Minister has a first-hand knowledge of the university system as he once served as the Minister of Education. As a government, all we ask from the students is to assist us in our efforts to develop university education in this country. Students need to be part of the effort to transform universities and make them relevant for the new generation of students that enter them,” he said.
Asserting that certain types of problems should be solved within the universities themselves, he said, adding, there was no point in having a vice chancellor otherwise. The vice chancellor and the administration must understand the situation inside the university. “We have given the necessary autonomy for universities to function. If a country is to develop universities must develop as well,” he said. (Kelum Bandara)