Thursday, October 29, 2009

IUSF pledges to launch mass protest

By Yohan Perera - The Inter University Students Federation which brought the traffic along Galle Road, Bauddhaloka Mawatha and Town Hall to a standstill yesterday pledged to launch a mass protest with the support of the school children and to paralyze the schools in the country in the future.

They staged a protest in Colombo calling for the release of its convener Udul Premaratne who is in custody and to stop the alleged privatization of education.

Over 2000 students who participated in the protest march warned that they would get the support of the school children as well bringing the schools to a standstill if the government continues to turn a blind eye to their demands. Inter University Students Federation Acting Convener Sanjeewa Bandara said they have offered to discuss the issues with the President but their request had not been taken seriously. “We pleaded with the government several times and we are compelled to take the government head-on as it has turned a deaf ear to our request,” he said. Bandara charged that several students were arrested while others have been suspended from the university. He said two bhikkhu students were expelled from the university because of their effort to safeguard the free education system of the country.

The students opposed the private universities and charged that the Minister of Higher Education Prof. Viswa Warnapala had given the right to NIBM a private Institute to award four kinds of degrees. He said these rights have been given through a gazette notification, which had been signed by the Minister. “The Minister of Higher Education is applying his famous Warnapala Theory to resolve issues but that would not serve the purpose, “ they said.

The students said they would have to spend lacks of rupees to get a degree under the new education system, which the government is planning to implement. “Can our poor parents afford this,” the student leaders asked.

The march was stopped by the police at the Kollupitiya Junction at which point the students demanded to see President Rajapaksa. A message was sent from the Temple Trees that Presidential Secretary would talk to them. But, the students who refused to see him burnt the petition which they were to handover to and went away stating that they would launch a massive protest in the future.

© Daily Mirror

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