The ‘City University’ programme began yesterday, July 15, in keeping with another promise made in the National Policy Framework ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’. Its first university is planned to be established in the next few weeks, in Pinnawela in the Kegalle District.
As the foremost step of the programme, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa launched the official website (www.cu.ac.lk) to introduce the City university Programme as a concept at the Presidential Secretariat to coincide with the World Youth Skills Day yesterday, July 15.
The City Universities will be established covering all districts with the aim of producing talented graduates equipped with cutting edge technology and knowledge, targeting the job market.
The President also emphasized the need to take steps to expedite the implementation of the City University Programme commencing from Kegalle, throughout the country.
Nearly 80% of those who qualify for tertiary education at the GCE Advanced Level milestone do not get an opportunity to enter the State universities. Only those who are financially blessed will have the privilege to pursue their further studies at private institutes or abroad.
The President expects to offer degrees compatible with the job market to talented and capable students who have passed the Advanced Level and yet lack the financial support they need, through the City University programme.
The programme specializes in formulating degree programmes based on a curriculum specific to each district as well as local and global job markets. Dr. Seetha Arambepola, State Minister of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research and Innovation, noted that a citizen empowered with knowledge and professionalism will leave the university following graduation.
Youth and Sports Minister and Digital Technology and Enterprise Development State Minister, Namal Rajapaksa, revealed that youth unemployment fell as low as 4% in 2014 but has risen to 16% by 2019.
Minister Rajapaksa pointed out that youth unemployment could rise to 30% due to the current global situation and that talented youth should be created through degree programmes. The young generation is moving towards modernity coupled with the latest technology. The Minister said that it was important to adapt to the world trends and that it was life, not traditional practices, that should win in the end.
Education Minister, Prof. G. L. Peiris said the aspiration of a graduate is to obtain a secure job, but it has become essential to rectify the certain degree courses that are incompatible with any employment opportunity. Many graduates seek government employment. However, the President said that the responsibility of a Government should not be to provide jobs but to create a comprehensive economic environment that enables creation of jobs.
The President said that his objective of the ‘City University’ Programme is to create a person who can directly contribute to the economy or who possesses the knowledge to engage in self-employment at the end of the degree course.
It is not possible to maintain only Government universities one hundred per cent. However, the President stated that he was also opposed to operating private universities as a business. Income generated from private universities should be set aside for the promotion of education itself.