To University on MP’s letter

images (1)Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday questioned the admission of a student to Ruhunu University on the recommendation UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa.

Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake in his response told Parliament that the University Grants Commission had entertained the appeal by this student only because her Z-score was well within the cutoff mark.

Mr. Wickremesinghe said this incident had breached the trust placed by students and their parents on the university admission system and referring to relevant newspaper articles, he pointed out that Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri the former chairman of the Federation of University Teachers had sought an inquiry into this admission.

The minister said he received a number of letters from politicians including those from the opposition to consider appeals made by some students who sought university admissions.

He said this female student, whose admission was shrouded in controversy, was among 2,478 applicants, who submitted appeals for some reason or other seeking university admission based on the results of the GCE Advanced Level Examination conducted in August, 2011.

“After applications are closed, there are various appeals. Applicants appeal for a change to their degree programmes or for a change of university. There are also appeals by students who failed to apply for admission within the stipulated time. This particular female student was unable to apply because her parents were ill during the time. She had attached the medical certificate along with her appeal. She had approached Mr. Rajapaksa. I received this letter by Mr. Rajapaksa and with a minute referred it to the University Grants Commission (UGC). The student was admitted because her Z-score was high enough. Her Z-score was 1.4. The cutoff point was 1.3. This is not an admission based on a request by an MP,” the minister said in response to a question asked by Mr. Wickremesinghe on the number of students who had appealed in this instance and as to how many were entertained.

 “I receive the highest number of letters from UNP MPs. I can show them to you. I even receive letters from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MPs.  Normally, students and their parents approach their MPs. Then, they write to me. I put a minute and forward them to the UGC. I do not consider it wrong. However, no one is admitted unless he or she has the requisite Z-score,” he said. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)