Stern punishment will be given to ragging culprits in State universities with the strict implementation of the Prohibition of Ragging Act, President Maithripala Sirisena declared yesterday.
“Ragging cannot be allowed to happen in universities any more, destroying the future of university students,” President Sirisena said, participating in the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Polonnaruwa National Vocational Training Centre of the National Vocational Training Authority.
“The Government will launch a special programme to safeguard the quality of university education. Statistics show that thousands of students do not enter university due to ragging fears. Nearly 25 students have died in the last 25 years due to ragging and thousands of students have suffered physically and mentally,” the President remarked.
He emphasised that the lives of the majority of students could not be allowed to be destroyed due to cruel activities of a small number.
“Certain political groups have held university students hostage and attempts to spread barbarism among youth who are to inherit the future of the country should be defeated,” he added.
Speaking on the importance of safeguarding the quality of school education, President Sirisena said that in some instances education professionals are still not ready for the reforms that should be implemented in the education as a country which is moving forward with the rest of the world. The President said that the enrollment of a larger number of students in some schools considered “popular schools” is one of the reasons for the decline in the quality of school education.
The President emphasized the importance of being up to date with the new world and modern technology, changing the traditional views regarding vocational education and pointed out the importance of creating a trained workforce targeting the foreign job market while producing a workforce required for the national production process and industries.
This Rs.6,500 million training centre comprising all modern facilities will be constructed on a land of 17 Acres in Doradeka, Polonnaruwa, on the Hingurakgoda, Medirigiriya Road. The Government of Netherlands is funding the project.
The training centre, which has modern technical facilities will provide full time courses of NVQ 4 and 5 levels for 1325 technical assistants and diploma holders annually.
Additionally it, will also offer semi-diploma courses for professionals. Five training schools will be opened in the fields of construction, motor mechanism, electronics mechanism, hospitality, and tourism, agriculture, to conduct 34 full time vocational courses.
The construction will be completed within three years and courses will start in January 2022. The President, who inaugurated the construction work of the training centre made an observational visit of the premises. He also launched the website which contains information on the development of vocational skills. Minister Sarath Amunugama, Deputy Minister Karunarathna Paranavitana, Chairman of Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka Ravi Jayawardena, former Chief Minister of North Central Province Peshala Jayarathna, Ambassador of Netherlands to Sri Lanka Joanne Doornewaard and other dignitaries participated.