All state university vice chancellors have been instructed to collect information of undergraduate students who have been vaccinated, to begin academic work in universities as soon as possible, a University Grants Commission (UGC) official said this week.
“We are concerned about the reluctance among the university going 20-30 years age group to get vaccinated, while some demand a specific vaccine. We request them to abide by the Health Ministry recommendation to get the available vaccine without being influenced by misinformation circulating on social media,” UGC Chairman Sampath Amaratunge told the Education Times.
He said the UGC expects all students to be vaccinated by the end of October, so that studies for at least fourth year students can begin in November.
There are about 150,000-160,000 undergraduate students in state universities and about 100,000 students in non-state higher education institutes.
“Majority of our best senior lecturers and professors are above 60 years of age and in the high risk group. By not getting vaccinated, university students can possibly put senior professors and their aged parents at risk,” he said.
Prof. Amaratunge said no decision has so far been made to make the vaccination card mandatory while entering university premises, but discussions with the Health Ministry about this matter will take place soon.
“Many university students stay in hostels. Some hostel complexes accommodate about 2000-3000 students. They are young and may be asymptomatic but can still spread the virus. Universities will re-open once university students are fully vaccinated,” he said.
According to him, academic and non-academic staff members in state universities have been fully vaccinated with the assistance of the Army.
According to the list of public activities issued by the Health Director General this week, universities and higher education institutions can re-open this month, complying strictly with health guidelines such as reducing physical presence in classes and encouraging online studies. Vocational training institutes can have 50 percent of students at one given time. However, permission for tuition classes has not been granted yet.
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by sundaytimes.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)