Following the Protest Movement in Sri Lankan Universities

Some of the stronger protests and forceful political debates in Sri Lanka are taking place in relation to student rights, university teachers pay, allocation of government expenditure on education and inequalities relating to the Government’s private university bill. University students have been on the boil over issues from militarisation of the universities, including compulsory military training for entering university students last year, to attempts to ban student unions. University teachers carried out strike action for months last year extracting promises of higher pay and input into educational policy which were not carried forward with the Budget, leading to a token strike on January 17th. I wrote an article on the neoliberalisation of university education in the Sunday Island on Jan 15th discussing the larger project at work with the backing of the World Bank and IMF. Kumar David has written an article in the Jan 22nd issue of the Sunday Island explaining the z-scores scandal – about the Advanced Level exam results which are used for university entrance – and its relationship to the protests against the private university bill. The Young Asia Television in their episode of Connections today has documented the recent protests including some interviews with student leaders and university teachers. The uteachers blog is an excellent resource to find more articles and presentations by academics involved in the recent protests and actions. Historically, the universities have been a hot bed of protest as well as social and political change in Sri Lanka, and those in solidarity with progressive forces struggling for social justice in Sri Lanka may want to follow the protest movement gaining ground in the universities.

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