Friday, January 20, 2012

Wider Implications of the new bill

By Sudesh Mantilleke, University of Peradeniya,

On 17th January 2012, at the Arts Theater of the University of Peradeniya there were informative sessions on Higher Education and so called 'Private University Bill'. At the end of presentations and discussion, it was understood that the new bill that is to be tabled in the parliament is not only about private or new universities but has enormous impact on public universities.

Initially, most of the members were in a view that the impact of the new bill on the public Universities is indirect. However, now it is clear that the bill has a direct impact on public Universities. The new bill, if approved, will establish a very powerful Agency (Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency) that can manipulate the public University system. Final Decisions even regarding study programs (basically what to teach) will not be taken by the Faculty boards and Senates of the respective Universities, but by so called 'Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency' in which the minister of HE has a tremendous power.

Therefore, if we identify the new bill as the 'Private University Bill' that underestimates its real impact on Public University System of this country.

This is a suggestion to all members and collectives who are against this new bill to characterize it as 'University Reforms Bill', 'Higher Education Reforms Bill' or any other suitable label instead of just 'Private University Bill'.

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