27th September 2009, www.sundayobserver.lk, By L. S. Ananda WEedaarachchi
The Mahapola Trust Fund (MTF) has decided to set up a full fledged university in Sri Lanka.
The MTF met last week under the chairmanship of Chief Justice Asoka De Silva and took several decisions for the benefit of the students and the country’s education sector.
The MTF was inaugurated by the late Lalith Atulathmudali with far - reaching objectives to improve the educational standards in the country and to help needy students by providing financial assistance such as Mahapola scholarships.
The University system absorbs less than 25,000 students annually though over 300,000 qualify to enter the university. This is a serious situation faced by Sri Lankan students, said Minister of Trade, Marketing Development Cooperatives and Consumer Services Bandula Gunawardena.
The Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) which was set up by the Mahapola Trust Fund which allocated Rs. 450 million was one of the farsighted steps taken by the MTF.
More than 8,000 students who were unable to attend the university system due to the limited facilities graduated in IT at the SLIIT in Malabe during the past 10 years, he said.
The Minister said that thousands of students who are unable to enter local universities, register themselves for foreign degrees through accredited educational agencies - costing billions in foreign exchange. Many professionals who benefited from the country’s free education system continue to hold eminent positions in foreign countries without returning to serve the motherland.
The MTF has already decided to increase the Mahapola scholarship stipend by Rs. 500 to enable the students to receive Rs. 10,000 in the future.