Update – More. The University Grants Commission (UGC) will be meeting with health officials next week to discuss the possibility of reopening universities safely under COVID19 prevention guidelines, says UGC Chairman Sampath Amaratunge . It has been a year now since State universities in the island were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The matter of reopening universities in the current environment presents many practical challenges, Prof. Amaratunge said. More. Sri Lanka University Grant Commission UGC decided to reopen the universities. UGC to reopen the universities from August 17 Monday for all years. First, Second and Third year students’ exams dates will be announced later. Examinations of 4th-year students of all universities already started. Earlier UGC decided to reopen the universities following two months long coronavirus vacation from June 15. Under the re-opening process, Medical Faculties of all state universities for final year students reopened from June 15.
“The UGC Chairman Prof Sampath Amaratunga says that lectures conducted online due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown remarkable progress. All universities under National University System will commence their academic activities on August 17,” he said.
Addressing a press conference in Colombo Prof Amaratunga said the examinations of the third year students of medical faculties continued uninterrupted from July 15.
He added that all universities should comply with guidelines issued by the heatlh authorities to prevent the spread of Covid – 19.
Commenting on the hostel facilities at universities, the UGC Chairman said that only one student was allowed to occupy a hostel room due to concerns regarding the spread of the virus. “Accommodation facilities will be provided at universities as usual with the resumption of academic activities,” he said.
When Universities opening dates?
- Final year examinations of all medical faculties started from June 15.
- Examinations of 4th-year students of all universities commenced from the June 22.
- Faculties of Arts, Science, Law and Education at the University of Colombo reopened for exams on June 29.
- Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Peradeniya reopened on June 28.
- Exams of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura continued from August 04.
First, Second and Third year students’ lectures and exams will be further delayed and reopening dates will be announced later.
Likewise, other faculties will also be reopened for exams after June 22, however, all universities are expected to conclude the exams by August 15, the UGC chairman said.
Decision was taken by UGC after consult with health officials. Currently Sri Lanka is continuously taking measures against the coronavirus. The Government has made arrangements to provide the maximum possible facilities for students to distantly continue their education.
On March, Sri Lanka’s University Grants Commission ordered all universities to close after the country announced its first COVID-19 case.
Ministry of Higher Education has been informed to review the present situation and with the agreement of the University administrations and University Grant Commission UGC decide the date to open the universities for students.
JUNE 2, the deadline to accept application for university admission
The deadline to accept application for university admission extended two weeks after re-opening schools. Hence the new deadline will be on June 2.
The deadline to accept applications for University Admission for the Academic Year 2019/2020 will be extended until two weeks after the re-opening of schools for the 2nd term. New deadline will be May 25.
Sri Lanka’s University Grants Commission has acknowledged that new admissions to universities could also be delayed due to the closures and public sector shutdowns as the government declared special holidays and curfew.
This is the fourth occasion that all universities have been closed in Sri Lanka. In 2019, all universities and schools closed after the deadly blasts in churches and hotels that killed hundreds of people on Easter Sunday. The closure lasted a month.
In August 2012, the government closed all universities after a two-month lecturer strike, while in November 2013, universities closed for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
The Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Professor Sampath Amaratunga said all universities in Sri Lanka will be reopened for academic activities in three stages.
At a press conference held at the Government Information Department, Professor Amaratunga said in the first stage, only the academic and the non-academic staff universities will be called for work on 04 May 2020. The vice chancellors of the respective universities will be vested with the authority to make decisions on the staff to be called.
In the second stage, the universities will be opened on 11 May 2020 only for the final year students of the degree programs.
Accordingly, the universities will be open for academic activities on 11 May for the fifth-year students in medical science programs, fourth-year students in special degree programs and third-year students in general degree programs.
At the third stage, all universities will be open to all university students on 18th May, 2020.
Professor Sampath Amaratunga added that in collaboration with the Ministry of Health a circular on healthcare measures to be taken to prevent coronavirus infection in universities will be issued soon in near future.