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Repeat of 2011 imbroglio?

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JVP fires first shot over likely university selection dispute this year

By Saman Indrajith

Thousands of students who had sat the 2019 GCE Advanced Level examination were in difficulty as the government failed to release their cut-off marks to select universities 14 months after the exam; JVP led Socialist Students Union said yesterday.

National Organiser of the SSU, Rangana Devapriya, addressing the media, at the JVP headquarters in Pelawatte said the government had taken more than one year to release the cut-off marks for the 2019 examination. “The cut-off marks should have been released before commencing this year’s GCE Advanced Level exam so that those who could not obtain enough marks could sit this year’s exam. They have been deprived of that chance.

In 2019 students sat the examination under two syllabuses. Therefore the marks would be released under two categories. There would be two types of district rankings, national rankings and Z-scores. When there are two categories of subjects, a single common Z-score cannot be made for both categories. When their exam results were released, the students had some idea of their district and national rankings, and it is natural for the top performers to await university admission. The authorities should have made known how many students would be admitted to universities by releasing the cut-off marks but they waited till this year’s exam started to do so.”

The SSU National Organiser said that the UGC had stated that they would decide the number of students to be selected to the universities on the basis of guidelines set by a Supreme Court decision in 2011. “This is a lie. In 2011, there were two cases with regard to Z-score before the Supreme Court. None of them said the students of both streams should be selected from a common list. The determination was about how the Z score should be calculated. It called two sets of Z-score rankings. Thereafter education authorities prepared separate Z-score rankings for the two syllabuses and prepared a combined list. Then hundreds of students filed eight fundamental rights cases. Finally, the Supreme Court directed that the students be enrolled on the basis of highest rankings in the district and national ranking lists.  That method led to the admission of 5,609 students in addition to the intake of 21,500 students in that year. That was a 26% increase. Now, the UGC has come out with a Combined Mean Score, which is an unfair method. We are against this unjust action and will fight for the students who have been deprived of their right to higher education owing to the actions of UGC authorities.

“In 2011, hundreds of students and parents went to courts. They waited for months and took to the streets. We hope that a similar situation will not arise again. We call upon the UGC and government to solve the problem faced by thousands of students without trying to hoodwink them.”



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Avishka and Sadeera power Jaffna Kings to nine wicket win

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Half tons by Avishka Fernando and Sadeera Samarawickrema powered Jaffna Kings to a nine wicket win over Dambulla Aura in the 3rd match of the LPL2022  at MRICS Hambanthota on Wednesday (07)

Dambulla Aura 121/9 in 20 overs (Jordan Cox 43; Maheesh Theekshana 3/20, Vijayakanth Vijaskanth 3/24, James Fuller 2/16, Zaman Khan 1/28)

Jaffna Kings 122/1 in 15.4 overs (Avishka Fernando 51 , Sadeera Samarawickrema 62 not out; Noor Ahamed 1/28)

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Govt. says selling state assets only way to build reserves and prevent crippling shortages

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena yesterday (06) said Sri Lanka wouldn’t be in a position to be part of the international trading system unless it boosted its foreign reserves by selling some of its assets. Gunawardena, who also holds media and transport portfolios said so at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing.

Responding to a query about the government’s decision to divest vital national assets, the Minister said that if Sri Lanka did not shore up its reserves to the tune of over three billion dollars, international companies would not accept the letters of credit given by Sri Lankan banks.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Finance Minister, has proposed privatising of several state enterprises including Sri Lanka Insurance and Sri Lanka Telecom.

“Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga sold a number of state owned enterprises. If we don’t increase our reserves, to over three billion USD soon, we will have problems importing fuel, and other essential items. Last week, Fitch again reduced our rating. No matter who governs Sri Lanka, they will all face the same problem. We need to build our reserves,” the Minister said.

Minister Gunawardane said that the need of the hour was to sell some assets and boost Sri Lanka’s reserves.

“China, India, Vietnam, and Malaysia are attracting a lot of investors. Only we have failed to do so, and we need to think why this is. Even our entrepreneurs are leaving for other countries. We need to change the way we think, if we want to attract investors to Sri Lanka,” he said.

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Ven Siridhamma, Mudalige granted bail; latter re-arrested

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Convenor of Bhikku Balamandalaya affiliated Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Ven. Galwewa Siridhamma Thera leaving Court yesterday (06) after Kaduwela Magistrate Chanima Wijebandara granted him bail. The Thera was held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for causing damages to public property during a protest opposite the Education Ministry, over three months back. The Magistrate ordered the Thera released after the police failed to identify the monk at an identification parade. However, IUSF Convenor Wasanatha Mudalige, who was also released by the Magistrate, after the police couldn’t identify him, was taken into custody in connection with some other case.

Pics by Kamal Bogoda

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