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IUSF furious over UGC head functioning as director of private medical college Prof. Hiriburegama says there is nothing illegal or unethical in her appointment

2014 May 27

By Dasun Edirisinghe

Working as a director of a non-state medical college, recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) while being the head of the UGC was not unethical or illegal, UGC Chairperson Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama said yesterday.

She was responding to the Inter-University Students’ Federation’s (IUSF) claim that it is not suitable for the person, who is handling the top post of the governing body of the state universities to be appointed as a director to promote a private university.

Prof. Hirimburegama said that the UGC Chairman had to be on the board of the Malabe Private Medical College (South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine - SAITM) to monitor admission and academic processes.

"Therefore I was appointed as a director of SAITM," Prof. Hirimburegama said.

The UGC ˆChairman said that the government promoted private medical colleges and engineering universities for students who could not enter the state universities through the highly competitive GCE (A/L) examination.

It was not the first time that a member of the UGC had been appointed as a director of a private university, she said.

Prof. Hirimburegama said that she had not taken a salary as a board member of the Malabe Private Medical College.

However. IUSF Convener Najith Indika said that it was the first time that a head of the UGC was appointed to the board of a private university.

He said that the UGC was the governing body controlling state universities and promoting private universities should not be its task. "They should ensure protection of free education instead of promoting private universities in Sri Lanka," Indika said, adding that they would take to streets against the appointment as it had led to a conflict of interest.

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