On presidential orders, the Mahapola scholarship which stood at Rs. 2,000 was increased to Rs. 2,500 from yesterday.
The President announced the increase at a ceremony held at the Presidential Secretariat to grant Mahapola Scholarships for the year 2004-2005. This means that within a two-year period, the Mahapola Scholarship grant has been increased by Rs. 850.
An event of special significance at the ceremony was the observation of two-minute silence at the commencement of the ceremony in memory of the architect of the Mahapola scheme, the late Mr. Lalith Athulathmudali.
Pointing out that 25 years had passed since the scheme commenced, President Rajapaksa emphasized that it was the only scheme which could be implemented irrespective of political affiliations. He said this was a victory for Mr. Athulathmudali who himself was a recipient of a scholarship presented by the late Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike.
The President added that of the total number of students who sit for the Advanced Level exam, only 15,000 qualify to enter the universities. He said new technologies should be developed and knowledge given to our university students upgraded, so that degrees of Sri Lankan universities could be internationally recognized.
He pledged he would do his duty by students and requested the students to do their duty by the country.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle addressing the meeting said since assuming responsibility of office, he had appointed representatives of university students so that they could represent their problems to the fund.