University of Colombo (Courtesy

University students and lecturers are opposing the decision made by the government to re- open state-run-universities next month.’

The protest comes following the announcement made by the University Grants Commission (UGC) that universities will reopen in three stages. On 04 May for all academic and non-academic staff, on May 11 for final year students of universities, and on May 18 for all students.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” visiting lecturer at the University of Colombo Vajira Rathnayake  told Counterpoint.  “I don’t think we can open universities with the current situation. It feels like the government is giving hope to people that things will be back to normal than actually following through with the plan to reopen.”

Meanwhile, the Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA) writing to the University Grants Commission Chairman said the decision to reopen the universities is ‘pre-mature and irrational’.

“Neither your announcement nor the news reports mentioned whether this decision was based on the recommendations of the medical community and/or the NOCPCO,” the letter dated………. stated urging the UGC to explain the rationale behind its recent decision.

University student Naveen Chandrasekara said he is worried about exposure to COVID-19 if the universities are to re-open as planned.

“I have to take a bus from Kurunegala to Colombo. This will put me at more risk. I feel unsafe by the decision the UGC has taken,” he said.


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