UGC Chair clears the air
By Nabiya Vaffoor and Buddhika Samaraweera
In response to allegations regarding delays in holding Convocations in State Universities, University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman, Professor Sampath Amaratunga said although private universities hold Convocations amidst the pandemic; it is difficult to do so in State Universities because of the number of students.
However, undergraduates in State Universities lament that the delay in holding Convocations for those who have completed Degree courses will hamper their future activities.
Undergraduates of the University of Kelaniya said the Convocation was scheduled to be held in January this year, but it has not been held as yet. They said although the University had instructed undergraduates to send the relevant documents before 6 January, a date for the Convocation has so far not been announced.
“Convocations are being held in private Universities. Many undergraduate studies were delayed, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will cause a delay in our future activities. If the authorities could make arrangements to give us our Degree certificates even without holding a Convocation , it would be helpful,” lamented undergraduates.
In response, Prof. Amaratunga said, “Universities such as the Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) held their Convocation after holding PCR tests for every individual who attended the ceremony. Also, the number of participants at the Convocation was limited to between 100- 300.”
He also said State University Undergraduates do not have to worry since international universities approve the Vice Chancellor’s letter, the Dean’s letter and the examination letter issued by any UGC approved State university, considering the prevailing pandemic situation. Thus undergraduates could enroll in higher education programmes. He said even if Convocations are to be held, proper health guidelines must be followed.