UGC to bar students occupying universities for over Five years | Page 2 | Sunday Observer
University Act to be strengthened to minimise overcrowding

UGC to bar students occupying universities for over Five years

27 November, 2022

State Minister of Higher Education Dr. Suren Raghavan told the Sunday Observer yesterday that moves are under way to empower the University Act No. 16 of 1978 to minimise overcrowding due to some students overstaying in the university hostels, to accommodate new student batches.

Dr. Raghavan said that it has come to his attention that most of the overstaying students have been involved in political activities without completing their degrees.

Some students have engaged in politics on the university premises for eight or nine years and steps have been taken to get a detailed report on the overstaying students.

UGC Chairman, Senior Prof. Sampath Amarathunge said that if university students do not complete their degrees in the four years allotted to them, they may be able to do so in another three years under special circumstances.

After finishing their exams, nearly 90 percent of university students leave the hostels. Students are not permitted to stay in hostels after the specified period.

After the first four years, they must finish their degrees while bearing all costs, including external examination fees.

The Government provides hostels, water, electricity, and other facilities to students for only three years for the three-year degree, four years for the special honours degree, and five years for the MBBS.

“The issue is with hundreds of students who are engaged in full-time politics within the university grounds,” he said.

“The law is clear that they cannot occupy university hostels or hostel complexes because they are no longer considered university students after the initial period,” he said.

The Government provides them with hostels, water, electricity, and other facilities only for the first four years, according to Prof. Amarathunga..

Dr. Raghavan said that 44 years had passed since the introduction of the Universities Act, which means it has lasted for two generations. In other words, ten university batches had studied during that time.

He said, “The world has changed so much since then. The Universities Act needs to be reviewed and updated to suit the modern democratic education environment.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe discussed with me how we could improve the quality of our university education apparatus and policy to be compatible with the international set up,” he said.

He said he had received thousands of text messages and emails from parents who were concerned about their children’s safety and university accommodation and facilities.

“We cannot afford to allow university overcrowding. You will be issued a ticket if you park in a non-parking space. That’s how it goes,” he said.

“There are some student political leaders who, even after receiving their degree, used the university premises as their political pitches for over ten years.”

Through various demonstrations, they have demanded a system change. “Perhaps, they should consider that the system change they seek can begin right where they are,” Dr. Raghavan added.