promise building within three months
The government and the Rajarata University
authorities have acknowledged the shortcomings of
the campus and have ensured the students’ demands
are met by the next three months.
The Medical Faculty students of the Rajarata
University staged a protest near the Presidential
Secretariat on February 24 and the Police used tear
gas to disperse them.
The students demanded that they be provided adequate
facilities in order to complete the medical degree
within the stipulated time.
The Medical Faculty of the Rajarata University was
declared open on September 4, 2006 by President
Five years down the line, the students have
called the government to speed up the opening of the
Clinical Training building.
The Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF),
too, came down hard on the government for opening
the faculty without providing all the facilities.
The medical students would be given theoretical and
practical knowledge in the first four years of the
course. The final year would be dedicated solely for
Incidentally, the government, too, had admitted that
there had been a mistake in recruiting the students
to the medical faculty five years ago.
The IUSF on Friday held a press briefing in Colombo
and explained the difficulties faced by the Rajarata
The federation questioned the government on the
actions taken to rectify the mistakes committed by
IUSF Convenor Sanjeewa Bandara said the education
of the students would be delayed by another year, if
the Clinical Training building was not open for
practical sessions by May. “The standard of the
country’s education has deteriorated during the
leadership of this government. The students are now
forced to suffer because of the mistake made by the
government authorities five years ago,” Bandara
In the meantime, the government and university
officials while admitting the shortcomings faced by
the faculty, are optimistic that the issue would be
solved within the next three months.
Mistake while recruiting
Secretary to the Higher Education Ministry, Dr Sunil
Jayantha Navaratne admitted that there had been a
mistake while recruiting the students to the
Rajarata campus in 2006.
He explained that the mistake was due to the fault
of the Optical Reader of the Examination Department.
He said that around 900 students were recruited
additionally to the university due to the fault of
the machine. “The medical faculty recruited 181
additional students as a result of this problem,” Dr
The Secretary to the Higher Education Ministry,
however, said that the students needed to be
grateful for the steps taken by the government and
the university officials to address the issue.
He added that the government had allocated Rs.250
million to buy the equipments to the Clinical
Training building and Rs.1 billion for the
construction of the building.
“Generally, we establish the facilities and then
call for students. But in this case, it was totally
different. We had to call the students first and
then look into providing the facilities. However, we
are doing what we can do at the moment and the
students have to understand the situation,” he said.
He also said that the government was trying to call
back lecturers who had left the campus before their
contracts expired. “We will welcome them back. The
President and Higher Education Minister S B
Dissanayake have been notified of this matter and
they will see to it that adequate steps are taken,”
he added. He also said that the Clinical Training
building would be completed by the latter part of
May. “There would be a delay of around two to three
weeks. But, we cannot help that. We also need to
understand the practical difficulties.”
Meanwhile, the university officials, too, called
upon the students to be patient and cooperate with
them to address the issue.
Registrar of the Rajarata University, A G
Karunaratne admitted that the faculty could not
fulfil the educational needs of the final year
medical students. “Even I do not have adequate
facilities. However, we are working towards ensuring
that the students get to complete their studies,” he
The University Registrar said that the campus had
recruited junior and middle level employees for the
faculty. “In addition, there are five retired
lecturers from the Peradeniya University,” he added.