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Satyagraha at OUSL continues

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The Satyagraha campaign by the Students’ Union of the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) has been continued more than one full month and their demands have not yet been considered by the university administration, educational authorities or the politicians.   “The authorities have proposed solutions for two of our demands but we will continue the Satyagraha until the demand to reduce university fees is met and solved,” OUSL Students’ Union convener Amila Sandaruwan told The Nation.

The Satyagraha campaign commenced on December 17, 2014 and has continued for 39 days. A statement made by the Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF) Convener Najith Indika on January 22, mentions that a discussion with the university’s senior management on January 19, was unsuccessful. Additionally, Education Minister Akila Kariyawasam just representing the new government has also met the protesters and discussed their demands with the vice chancellor but could not find a solution to the most important demand made by the students’ union. The oppression of students includes the temporary banning of 22 students from attending classes, and while 17 students were allowed to attend classes once again, five activists still remain banned. Further, student unions have been banned at OUSL and according to Najith Indika, “The right of students to find solutions for the academic problems they face has been revoked.” However, the main demand made by the OUSL Students’ Union is the reduction of university fees, which have increased in the recent past. Najith Indika writes that there was a 100 percent increase in tuition fees for the academic year 2014/2015 preceding a 40 percent increase in the previous year.

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