USJ officials meet with Sri Lankan Parliament COPE Committee


The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) of Sri Lanka Parliament has commended the University of Sri Jayewardenepura (USJ) for its performance in the field of higher education. The university has recently achieved the third position in the national university ranking.

The COPE committee, which consists of members of parliament and representatives from various government bodies, delivered its praise during a meeting with USJ’s Vice Chancellor, Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Registrar, Bursar, Engineer, Auditor, Legal Officer, Deans, Council members and other university officials. The committee appreciated the university’s efforts to improve its academic standards and provide quality education to its students.

USJ’s Actg. Vice Chancellor, Professor Upul Subasinghe, thanked the COPE committee for recognizing the university’s achievements and said that USJ will continue to pursue academic excellence and contribute to the country’s development by producing well-rounded graduates with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in their chosen fields.

“We established 2 new faculties, and departments in those faculties”- Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Upul Subhasinghe

According to Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Upul Subhasinghe, The University of Sri Jayewardenepura has overcome multiple challenges since 2021 by gradually addressing them under seven goals. One of the achievements of USJ is the establishment of two new faculties with multiple departments under them. The student intake and the research output of USJ have also increased significantly.

USJ has identified major fields that can address the student demand on Buddhist Culture, Environmental Studies and the demand for the medical faculty. “USJ is currently working on to increase the supply for these fields to match the demand within next five years,” he said.

He also added that the major problem USJ has on increasing the ranking is increasing the number of foreign students enrolment.

“Sri Lankan universities improve global ranking and plan to attract more international students” – UGC Chairman Prof Sampath Amarathunga

Sri Lanka’s University of Sri Jayewardenepura has made a remarkable leap in the global ranking of universities, climbing from around 6000 to 1926 in a short period of time. The main factor behind this achievement was the significant increase in the number of research publications published in international journals by USJ faculty and students. This has helped USJ to reach the 1000-2000 level of international ranking, which is a rare feat for a Sri Lankan university.

Another challenge is the lack of internationalization of Sri Lankan universities, which limits their global visibility and competitiveness. Prof Amarathunga said that currently there are no programs to market or promote medical degrees to international students, which is one of the most sought-after fields of study in the world. He said that this is the main reason for not having significant international student enrollment into the Sri Lankan universities. He added that the UGC is expecting to give authority to the faculties to take action on promoting degree programs to foreign students, and as a starter, UGC granted approval to medical faculties to promote programs targeting on international students.

Prof Amarathunga also highlighted the need for updating and modernizing the administrative and technical structures, and authority designation of Sri Lankan universities, which are still based on designations established by Sir Ivor Jennings more than 7 decades ago. He said that universities need to establish new designations that match the innovative future, such as brand management and web engineering. He pointed out that university web pages are massive projects that require professional expertise and maintenance, and currently they are managed by faculty members as a honorary service. He said that there is a huge risk to maintain the continuation of web pages in case of the faculty member go abroad or depart form the university. He highlighted the need of creating new positions and recruit qualified staff to handle these tasks that are vital for enhancing the online presence and reputation of Sri Lankan universities. He said the proposal is going to forward into next cabinet meeting for the consideration and approval.

“USJ encouraged to take the leadership in modernizing the country’s university system” – Prof Ranjith Bandara, President COPE

The University of Sri Jayewardenepura has received a positive evaluation from the auditor general’s report, according to Prof Ranjith Bandara, President of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE). He said that USJ can take the leadership on setting up solutions for the problems of attracting international students, web engineering, and university branding, and offer new degree programs that appeal to both domestic and international students who are willing to pay a fee for attending a university. “University of Sri Jayewardenepura is encouraged to do that so with the UGC guidance and UGC is expected to minimize the barriers and establish new standards,” he said. He also recommended USJ to introduce and set up a new futuristic program to address the issues currently university system is facing. He added that universities are encouraged to work and grow independently.

“Job well done University of Sri Jayewardenepura”- Eran Wickramaratne MP

Eran Wickramaratne MP, the former State Minister of Finance and member of Parliament of Sri Lanka, praised the performance report of USJ in a recent statement. He said: “I received the performance report of USJ and it is very impressive, commendable and well done. The financials are great as well. USJ can show the way our Sri Lanka higher education can change.” He expressed his admiration for the achievements of the university and its contribution to the country’s development.

The recognition by the COPE committee is an inspiration for USJ to continue its quest for academic excellence and sets a benchmark for other public higher education institutes in the country. USJ will continue to work towards providing the best possible education to its students and contributing to the overall development of Sri Lanka.

The Vice-Chancellor of USJ Prof Upul Subhasinghe expressed his gratitude for being invited to the COPE meeting on 24th of Friday. He said that he welcomed the feedback and recommendations from COPE to enhance the performance and reputation of USJ. “We are committed to continuous improvement and excellence. We appreciate the opportunity to appear at COPE and submit the reports to review and identify the areas that USJ could improve.,” he said.

The COPE committee concluded its meeting by expressing its gratitude to all the participants for their valuable inputs and perspectives. The committee also delegated new tasks to the USJ, which is expected to develop and implement innovative systems that would enhance the university’s performance and reputation. The committee hoped that the USJ would lead the way for other Sri Lankan universities to embrace modernization and prepare for the future challenges and opportunities.

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