President intervenes to solve student issues | Daily News


President intervenes to solve student issues

Mahapola Schol arrears by Monday:
No tear gas, baton charge near Secretariat:

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa advised authorities to allow a group of university students to protest freely in front of the President’s office in Colombo yesterday.

This is a deviation from the past practice of baton charging and tear gassing protesting university students near key Government institutions.

The President later also invited them for talks inside his office with a view to solving their issues.

Upon hearing that a group of protesting University students were approaching the President’s office, President Rajapaksa first instructed security officials not to use any force against the student’s and later instructed his officials to invite a group representing the protesting students for a discussion. The students were protesting over six demands including the increase of Mahapola scholarship allowance.

As the President Rajapaksa and his Secretary were engaged in some prior arranged outside events the President had instructed one of his Additional Secretaries and officials from the Higher Education ministry to discuss relevant issues with the students, a communiqué issued by the President’s Media Division said.

During discussions officials had taken prompt action to inform the student concerns to the President’s Secretary who had instructed on the action needed to be taken. Following discussions it was decided to pay the arrears of Mahapola Scholarship allowance for November and December by next Monday and also pay the allowance to students who have not completed 80 per cent attendance for lectures.

The other areas of focus were bringing both the Mahapola allowance and student allowance to the same level, issues at the Sabaragamuwa university, increasing the parents income level for considering Mahapola scholarship to Rs.700,000 per annum.

Additional Secretary to the President Rohana Abeyratne, Higher Education Ministry Secretary Anura Dissanayake, the University Grants Commission Chairman Prof.Sampath Amaratunge were among the officials who attended the discussion.

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