The JVP is planning to involve school children in their ongoing campaign, to pressure the government to reverse its hotly disputed decision to establish private universities and offer degrees through private higher educational institutions.
This follows their failure to convince the government by raising the issue with President Chandrika Kumaratunga recently.
They have decided to intensify their campaign by securing the support of trade unions, religious and civil organisations, political parties and school children.
The National Movement to Save Schools is expected to launch their bid to muster support.
The Movement will simultaneously launch a campaign to educate the public of the `government`s sinister move.`
`Capitalist forces consider education as a commodity. It is a right. The UPFA government reneging on its pledges in Rata Perata election manifesto is continuing with the UNP`s privatising plans,` National Organiser of the JVP?s Student Wing Socialist Students Union, Chameera Koswatte said.
Teacher and principal trade unions, university students, Bhikku and teacher organisations, piriven teacher and student organisations and parent organisation branches of National Movement to Save Schools provinces will go on full force awareness campaign starting this week. Undergraduates recently protested against the govt. move. Progressive and pro-JVP organisations have expressed their opposition to government`s decision to allow private higher educational institutes to conduct degree awarding courses.
`In India a state government allowed private universities and within several weeks 112 universities within the state sprang up. Entire India has only 317 universities. Academics turned businessmen robbed large sum from parents and students. Last week the State Government decided to abolish all these private universities and amalgamate thousands of students to existing state universities. Lankan government should learn from this and revoke its decision,` Convener of the Inter University Students Federation Duminda Nagamuwa said.
Ex-co member of the Movement, Lunugamvehera Kalyanaransi Thero said that the Movement will seek the assistance of all progressive forces to put an end to government?s privatising of education. `While recognising degree shops, the government goes ahead with handing over school administration to the private companies. Parents have agreed to join with us to save the schools for their children,` the Thero said.
Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Prof. B. R. R. N. Mendis had reiterated his earlier statement that the government will not privatise education.
A vice chancellor defending the UGC`s decision to grant degree awarding status to two private higher education institutes said that according to the Universities Act, recognising degree awarding institutes is one of the tasks of the UGC. `Those who protest this, must fight to amend the Act as it empowers the UGC to act,` he said.