Saturday, July 14, 2012

Meeting with President’s secretary (12th July, 2012)

Dr. Nirmal R. Devasiri talks to the press on the meeting on the 12th July 2012.


Following is a synopses of yesterday's (12/07/2012) meeting with
Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga:

* Participants: A six member FUTA delegation, Secretary to the MOHE, two representatives of the Ministry of finance, three representatives from UGC.

* The meeting scheduled for 5:00PM was re-scheduled to 6:00PM at the last minute.

* Mr. Weeratunga began by stating that the govt studied the proposal carefully and that they felt that the issues raised were very complex and thus that His Excellency the President had suggested the setting up of a presidential commission to look into them.

* In response to the suggestion of the presidential commission the FUTA highlighted that though there could be issues that may need the setting up of such a commission, the vast majority of the concerns and demands can be solved without one immediately.

* FUTA also stressed that the trust we have in the government at this moment is at a very low ebb.

* Mr. Weeratunga also elaborated that the government was severely constrained in budgetary allocations especially arising due to the need to address the concerns raised by the LLRC and thus budgetary allocation in the future may require further stringent measures.

* The FUTA then stressed that education should be a top priority no matter what and that education should not be considered as a burden but as an investment in economic and social development of the country.

* Prof. Ranjith Senaratna representing the UGC said that he as an academic was very happy that the FUTA had raised many concerns related to overall education and policy.

* The overall discussion focused on broader issues such as the role of education, education financing and policy, and University autonomy. Specific demands were not discussed.

* When asked about the stand on the list of specific demands, Mr. Weeratunga responded that they need to be studied and discussed further.

* Finally when specifically asked about the government stand on the demands, Mr. Weeratunga responded by saying that "there is merit in discussing the demands and further discussions should take place to identify those demands that can be implemented immediately".

* The next round of discussions were scheduled for early next week.


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