OUTA opposes rejection of Vice Chancellor shortlist
By Treshan Fernando
The three candidates, who were shortlisted for the post of Vice Chancellor at the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) have been rejected by the Presidential Secretariat, Prof. Anton Piyarathne said on Tuesday (4).
Speaking at a Media briefing organised by the Open University Teachers Association (OUTA), President of the OUTA, Prof. Piyarathne, opposed this decision, stating that the move ignores the existing regulations and could cause issues for the University.
He said the current Vice Chancellor is set to step down in June. Under the new regulations, the new Vice Chancellor is to be appointed via two commissions. The first commission, which consists of academics, a Cabinet Secretary or former Cabinet Secretary and a representative of the private sector.
The commission has been given 8 criteria from which to mark all candidates. The top three, highest scoring candidates were selected by the commission and subsequently submitted to the University Grants Commission (UGC). The UGC then sent the shortlist to the President for approval.
According to the existing regulations, the President is required to select one candidate from the three who were submitted by the UGC, Prof. Piyarathne explained.
In this case, Prof. Piyarathne said that, without selecting a suitable candidate form the shortlist, all three candidates have been rejected without providing any reasons for their rejection.
Prof. Piyarathne also highlighted that such rash decisions may lead to a chaotic and distressing situation for the University, as they will struggle to find a replacement.
At the Media briefing, Dr. Mahim Mendis alleged that this move shows the increasing political interference in social institutions. He warned that this is a defining moment for the Government and the country.
Prof. Piyarathne stressed that the OUTA is not promoting any candidate, but rather hopes that one of the three candidates are selected, as those are the regulations which have been set out. He added that if the Government does not rectify this issue, the OUTA is ready to take the necessary action.