With the decision to increase the intake of students, the university authorities are hard pressed to accommodate the new batch, due to insufficient hostel, canteen and lecture hall facilities, officials said yesterday.
Under these circumstances, the Committee of Vice Chancellors stressed the need to accelerate the improvement of facilities in the university system within the next three months.
The Committee’s president, Prof. Susirith Mendis told Daily Mirror that each university had been compelled to increase its intake by 500----600 students; and the lecture halls, hostels and canteens available at present would be quite insufficient to meet their needs.
Prof. Mendis, who is the vice chancellor of Ruhuna University, said that the vice chancellors had asked for increased grants for the improvement of facilities as, otherwise, it would be a serious challenge.
“We asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) to take steps in this regard. The UGC is now acting to meet the additional funding requirements through negotiations with the Treasury,” he said.
He said, “Even today, there are limited hostel facilities. Unless we improve facilities, matters will take a turn for the worse with the increased intake.
He said, “To my university alone, the intake has to be increased by 530. For the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, it has to be increased by 250.
Lecture halls, canteens and hostels are the biggest problem. We have to accelerate the improvement of these facilities within the next two or three months.
Following a Supreme Court ruling, the UGC decided to increase the annual intake by 5600 to the universities and their affiliated colleges. For the Arts Faculties at the traditional universities such as Kelaniya, Peradeniya and Sri Jayewardenepura, the intakes had to be doubled.
Asked about the situation at the Medical and Engineering Faculties, Prof. Mendis said that it would not be a problem at his Medical Faculty because the increment would be small. However, he said, the laboratory facilities for the Engineering Faculty needed to be increased.
Asked for a comment, Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne said that the annual grants would be increased to meet the additional demands. He said that it had to be increased by about two billion rupees. (Kelum Bandara)