Higher Education Ministry responsible for biggest injustice in my life – Wijedasa
Posted on May 2nd, 2018

Newly appointed Minister of Higher Education and Cultural Affairs, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, says that the Ministry of Higher Education is responsible for the biggest injustice in his life.

While expressing his contentment on receiving the ministerial portfolio, he said that it was seen that the new Cabinet appointments were done on a scientific basis and coincidently, he has always received ministerial portfolios that were selected on a scientific basis.

He said that the University Grants Commission (UGC) under the Higher Education Ministry had done the biggest injustice in his life.

According to him, after passing his GCE A/L examination, the UGC didn’t grant his request to enroll at the law faculty and yet 34 other students who received lower marks than him were permitted to follow the subject. Instead he was pushed on to the Faculty of Arts at University of Ruhuna, he mentioned.

He states that he wasn’t ready to accept the UGC as the decider of his fate.

Minister Rajapakshe further stated that if it wasn’t for the enmity shown to him by the UGC, he might not have been here today.

He minister was speaking after officially assuming duties at the ministry premises today.

5 Responses to “Higher Education Ministry responsible for biggest injustice in my life – Wijedasa”

  1. Vaisrawana Says:

    ‘Dr’ Rajapaksa is yet another con artist (con ‘Dr’)? This is sophistry not worthy of a so-called reputed lawyer. The UGC is a responsible institution at any time. Who will believe that it isolated a single student for discrimination like this. If WR was not satisfied with the course he was admitted to because it was not what he desired and qualified for, then he could have appealed against that selection. Probably he did (His penchant for litigation is not a secret, something of which must have been manifest even then), but his appeal was rejected on the basis of the university admission regulations in force at the time. The Z-Score system was responsible for such ‘anomalies’. A number of AL students I personally knew who had secured passes in all four subjects (before the three-subject limit was introduced) were denied admission to university while some of their mates who had passed only in three subjects were admitted.

  2. Dilrook Says:

    He should know that marks are not the only criteria for entering university. A district quota system works concurrently. About 45% of students are admitted on district quota basis. My first preference was also Law faculty Colombo but I was selected for the second preference – Engineering 1 Moratuwa for which I had no liking by then. I don’t demand the change of the system to suit me.

    It is best to change this to an all island ethnic quota basis which is fair for all taxpayers.

    If the quota system is removed, our universities will mainly have exam cheats from certain parts of the country but the rest will be paying for it.

    A very bad start by the Minister.

  3. Ratanapala Says:

    I too have a grouse with the UGC!

    In 1962 I sat the University Entrance examination and passed the requisite subjects that would enable me to enter the Faculty of Engineering. In those days on top of sitting the exam the students also had to face an ‘Interview’ – Viva Voce. At this big farce they told me that I was not qualified to enter the University because I did not have a pass in an art subject at my GCE(O) Level Examination in 1960. Not only did they prevented me from entering the University, this farcical institution called the University Grants Commission asked me to show cause as to why I sat the University Entrance Examination in 1962 in the first place without having the proper qualifications at the GCE(O)Level in 1960. 

    They asked this question personally from me and not from the educational institution from which I sat the examination. 

I was a just a 17 year old at the time and had no idea how to face up to such accusations coming from an all powerful organisation such as the UGC. All I knew was that I was allowed to sit the examination, I sat for the examination and I passed. Later after long and agonizing letter writing and visiting ‘politicians’ I was given the ‘permission’ to sit the University Entrance Examination for a second time. I personally had to carry the can till the end!

    Fortunately, although I was deprived of my entering the University, the Department of Education gave me a Second Class HSC pass which was available at that time. On the strength of this certificate I was able to find a placement as an assistant teacher at the Minuwangoda Central College and bide my time to sit for UE for a second time. I also had to sit the GCE(O)Level – August Examination to get a pass in an art subject. I studied for the Buddhism paper and obtained a credit pass and subsequently sat for the UE Examination for a second time in December 1963 to enter the Faculty of Engineering in August 1964.

    I lost one whole year in my engineering career. There has been no Viva Voce in 1964! At the very least it would have been judicious if I was asked to obtain the necessary GCE (O) Level pass while I was studying in the University or to let me enter the University without having to sit for the UE examination for a second time after only obtaining a pass in the all important ‘art subject’!

    Who knows what my fate would have been If by chance I did not get a pass in Buddhism at the August 1963 Examination? One thing for sure I certainly would not have ended up as an Engineer. UGC is a heartless assembly of aging mindless prima donnas who stick to archaic rules as gospel truth, which inevitably become the very raison d’etre for their existence! What relevance a pass in an Art Subject has on my Engineering career is an enigma to this date. They acted like a pack of rabid dogs on a very vulnerable 17-year-old in asking me personally to ‘show cause’ and that is the impression that is with me to date!

    I just thought I might add this episode in my life and my encounter with the all important UGC. I don’t know what happened with ‘Dr Rajapakse’ and the UGC. It certainly looks like it is ‘ditta dhamma vedaniya karma’ that UGC has to look up to one of their victims as the Minister in charge of their affairs – a complete reversal of who is the boss now!

  4. aloy Says:

    I think the new minister of H. Education has stumbled on a very sensitive subject based on which the tiger war 1V started. I too sat for the 1963 Viva Voce for engineering in Colombo. To the best of my knowledge there was no UGC at that time. The panel was headed by Prof. EOE Pereira who was a well respected person. As I remember another was Prof. RH Paul. They acted in a very fair manner to me. When they found that I was not expressing myself well in English they told me to explain why I selected engineering in Sinhala. There was another student from my school for the interview and I know he would have done better than me as he was very good in maths. But he was not selected for engineering and he did exceptionally well in maths and ended up being the head of Maths dept at Pera uni for a long time. So I believe their selection was fair. Whatever it is UGC is the one which set things in favour for vast majority of Sri Lankans whose right were denied by the colonial system.
    Let the bygones be bygone, there is need for a new beginning. I hope the new minister will do just that; our university system need a complete overhaul. Those who pass out from them should have opportunities to find work. They should not be made to protest at Lipton circus demanding jobs. During my time our engineering faculty was on par with Imperial College. Today it is not even in the first 2000. What happened?. I think our enemies so to it that the younger generations were directed on revolutions.Today I can see that even the government encourages the students to engage in that kind of activity. Perhaps that is the reason they are promoting organizations like Peraugami etc.
    I understand GOSL is going to receive a loan of $100m for improving the education. The new minister should see to it that this money not spent on recruiting the friend of WB officials who come with brief case full of CVs. Usually they first arrange foreign trips for the minster and then they have their way. Our new minister should get the most out of this by best laid out plans to make the unmarketable graduate employable. Also he should get top class academics from leading unis of the world even on a part time basis to come and lecture our students. We need not spend too much money on research but copy from developed economies.That is what Japanese and Koreans did. Most importantly the engineering education should not be limited to producing managers but engineers with a thorough knowledge of new technologies based on IT.

  5. Ratanapala Says:

    You are right Aloy and I was wrong. At that time it was called the Board of Residence and Discipline. UGC came into existence only in Dec 1978.

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