A large number of university students launched a protest march today (09) making six demands including an increase in Mahapola scholarship grants.
The protest was staged in front of the President’s Office.
Upon receiving information regarding the protest the President instructed the security officials to allow the university students into the President’s Office without any hindrance.
As the President and the Secretary to the President were engaged in a pre-planned official duty, the Additional Secretary to the President and the officials of the Ministry of Higher Education were instructed to hold discussions with students.
The officials conveyed the demands of the students to the Secretary to the President and received instructions from him in this regard.
It was decided to pay the outstanding Mahapola scholarships and bursary money for the months of November and December by next Monday. The attention was also paid to the possibility of solving immediately other demands related to the Mahapola scholarship scheme . They included granting scholarship money to students those who have not met the requirement of 80% attendance, bringing Mahapola and bursary allowances to equal levels, issues related to the Sabaragamuwa University , increasing the income ceiling of parents to Rs. 700,000 when considering granting scholarships and increasing salaries of the working people.
Officials agreed to give a written assurance containing the matters discussed. It was also proposed to hold a meeting once a month or fortnight based on the requirement of the students to discuss issues affecting them . Student representatives said they will come to an agreement following a discussion with their relevant student unions.
Following discussions students dispersed in a peaceful manner.
The Additional Secretary to the President Rohana Abeyratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education Anura Dissanayake, Chairman of the University Grants Commission Prof. Sampath Amaratunga and other officials participated in the discussion.