Parliament on Tuesday agreed to release a further 182 million rupees from the Treasury to the Ministries of Local Government and Provincial Councils as well as Higher Education as supplementary expenditure for 2007.
Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils, Janaka Bandara Tennekoon, said his Ministry required an extra Rs 126 million to purchase 21 double cabs to newly established provincial institutions.
The Ministry of Higher Education was granted an additional Rs 56 million on the grounds that it was gazetted after the recent Cabinet reshuffle, in January this year, and had no allocations in the 2007 budget, passed last year.
As such Rs 39 million in recurrent expenditure and Rs 14 million in capital expenditure was approved for the Ministry.
Minister of Higher Education Prof. Vishwa Warnapala speaking during the debate to approve the sum, stressed the need for Sri Lanka to adopt a `development oriented` higher education. He said the country`s 15 universities and 11 technological institutes must focus on a knowledge driven education, as they played a vital role in developing advanced human capital.
`I emphasize the need for our universities to build a culture of learning and research, to enhance quality and relevance` he said. `Education is the key to social and economic emancipation`, he declared.
The Minister noted that currently over 80 percent of students who qualify to enter universities are denied admission, due to a scarcity of resources.
He said in this context, new admission policies must be devised, and recommended a total diversification of the university curriculum that produces `employable graduates` to society.