UNIVERSITIES BILL POSTPONED (99 May 12)
The government has decided to postpone the introduction of the controversial bill to amend the university act amidst protest from all sectors. The bill if became law would have given power to the minister of education to appoint and remove the vice chancellors. The bill also made provision to appoint two members of parliament into the university council. The minister of education has told the parliament that the bill would be withdrawn temporarily and the university community and the public in general would be given a chance to suggest amendments to the bill before it is reintroduced in three months time.
The government should withdraw the bill unconditionally and a new bill should be drafted after consulting all the interested parties. The whole purpose of introducing bills to amend the university act since the time of the 1965 UNP government has been to politically control the universities. With every amendment the universities have lost part of the academic freedom and the autonomy. It appears that neither the universities nor the governments have understood the concept of university autonomy prevalent especially in the British universities.
Meanwhile the government as well as the trade unions have announced that the trade union action by the non-academic staff will come to an end on Friday the 14th.