UGC Chairperson gives in to pressure, resignsFebruary 11, 2015, 10:19 pm
by Dasun Edirisinghe
Chairperson of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama has tendered her resignation to President Maithripala Sirisena through the Minister of Higher Education, Highways and Investment Promotions Kabir Hashim.
The UGC sources said however Prof. Hirimburegama would have to function in that post until the new Chairman’s appointment.
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed Prof. Hirimburegama the UGC Chairperson two years ago. She assumed duties on Feb. 01, 2013 as the country’s first woman UGC head.
The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) opposed her appointment and finally demanded her removal.
Contacted for comment, State Minister of Higher Education Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha told The Island that Prof. Hirimburegama had submitted her resignation letter while he was abroad last week.
Prof. Wijesinha said that he had ordered the UGC to draw up proper criteria to appoint University Councils to prevent political appointments and unsuitable persons getting the post.
Meanwhile, he has urged MP Karu Jayasuriya in his capacity as the Minister of Good Governance and Public Administration to draft a letter to be sent to all ministers asking them not to influence the appointments of University Councils.
"As an example, one minister asked to me to include two persons known to him to a Council of a University recently," Prof. Wijesinha said, adding that he had refused to do so and he had no powers to influence any council.
He said monthly accounts of universities would be available on UGC website as they were funded with public money.