Sri Lanka government has decided to appoint a special committee to provide relief to students who were victimized by Ragging at universities, campuses and higher education institutions, Higher Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said. Government will take steps to enroll students who left the higher education system due to ragging, back into state-run universities.

Minister Bandula Gunawardena said in the year 2018 alone, 2000 students have left higher education.

When the Sri Lankan university system enrolls 30,000 students annually, another 20,000 go abroad for higher studies. The number of students refusing university admissions has increased due to ragging. Also a significant number of students have been hospitalized and have committed suicide due to physical and mental torture. This could be considered a national crime, the Minister said.

The committee will focus on students who have left the university due to ragging in recent years. The Minister stated that announcements will be made in newspaper advertisements to call for complaints and appeals to gather evidence.

Seven members have been proposed to the committee. The committee is chaired by former Supreme Court Judge Dr. Saleem Marsoof. Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Prof. Narada Warnasuriya, Dean of Pali and Buddhist Studies at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Prof. Magammana Pragnananda Thero, Rev. Dr. Bennett Shantha Fernando, former Vice Chancellor of Uva University Dr. Chandra Ambuldeniya, and President’s Counsel Prasanna Lal de Alwis are the other members of the committee.

Prof. Janitha Liyanage, vice president of the University Grants Commission will serve as the convener and the secretary of the Committee.

This committee will conduct fair, impartial probes into the reasons for students dropping out of universities as a result of Sri Lanka ragging and submit recommendations to the Higher Education Minister within 90 days.The minister stated that he expects to provide relief for students who suffered because of ragging incidents since 2015. As per the Universities Act students cannot enter a local university if they fail to enroll once after receiving admission. Minister Gunawardena said the committee will look into this matter as well.

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