Prof. Ranjith Senaratne
I am delighted to be the Vice-Chairman of the University Grants Commission, not only because the UGC is the supreme advisory and regulatory body on higher education, but also because it affords me a singular opportunity to work with eminent scholars and scientists of the academic community in the country.
The Gross Enrollment Ratio in tertiary education in Sri Lanka is around 15% against 70% in North America and Western Europe. Thus nearly 85 % of our youth do not pursue tertiary education. This poses a great challenge for the overall growth of the country in a knowledge-based economy. The present target is to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in tertiary education from 15% to 20% by 2015. Therefore we need to significantly increase access to higher education. In this regard, strengthening and expanding high quality open and distance learning is of prime importance.
Building a creative , innovative and competitive nation is the need of the hour. As knowledge becomes an increasingly important component in innovation, the university as a knowledge producing and disseminating institution ought to play a larger role in industrial innovation. Thus in a knowledge-based economy, the university should become a key element of the innovation system both as a provider of human capital and as a seed-bed of new firms. Therefore we need to create a new system for high impact research in universities with an entrepreneurial culture unconstrained by disciplinary boundaries and unfettered by organizational strictures.
Our universities can no longer work in isolation as academic islands. Instead, they must come down to earth to help the nation solve its diverse problems and harness its rich resource base so that a better tomorrow may dawn for the common man. There are 15 universities in Sri Lanka, with nearly 5,000 academics, including around 500 professors in around eighty faculties ably assisted by technical and administrative staff. In addition, there are around 85,000 students who constitute the cream of the cream of the country. This is further augmented by around over 14,000 graduate students in a wide array of important disciplines. In addition to producing graduates, we need to mobilize and channel this outstandingly rich intellectual and infrastructure resource base for national development. With at least one university being located in each province of the country, we aim to see every one of them becoming a truly effective partner and indeed a catalyst in provincial development
In a world riven with conflicts and disputes, universities need to go beyond knowledge creation and innovation to address socio-cultural issues. As a matter of fact, some of the world’s most threatening divisions are sociological and cultural in nature. Therefore, while promoting material or economic wellbeing, it is also imperative for the universities to foster and nurture the well-being of the hearts and minds of people, for this is essential for the survival of mankind.
With the support of the able Chairman and members and staff of the Commission, I look forward to contributing to academic excellence, high impact research, creative enterprise, internationalization and community development in the Sector of Higher Education in Sri Lanka in keeping with the spirit of Mahinda Chintana!.
Born on 21 July 1954 in Galle, Ranjith Senaratne received his primary education at the Dickwella Methodist College and the secondary education at the Rahula College, Matara. He read for his B.Sc in Agriculture and M.Phil in Agricultural Biology at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka from 1973 - 1980. Having joined the University of Ruhuna in 1981, he carried out his doctoral studies at the Agricultural University in Vienna, from 1982-1986, which dealt with quantifying the nitrogen carry-over effects of legumes in sequential cropping systems using nuclear techniques
In recognition of his outstanding contribution in education, science, community development and international cooperation, the University of Durham in the UK conferred an honorary Doctorate on him in 2007. He presently serves as the Chairman of the Ocean University (National Institute of Fisheries and Nautical Engineering) and as the Vice Chairman of the University Grants Commission.
Introduction of Professor Ruchira Cumaranatunga as the General President of SLASS in 2013 - 17/01/2013
The Island on 29.05.2012 - New breed of institutional leaders for internationalising Lankan Universities - Part I
The Island on 30.05.2012 - Universities under pressure to be flexible and responsive to current needs - Part II
The Island on 31.05.2012 - Procedure for appointing Vice Chancellors outdated - Part III
The Island on 12.06.2012 - Professors: Underutilised treasure in our universities? - Part I
The Island on 13.06.2012 - Professors: Underutilised treasure in our universities? - Part II
The Island on 14.06.2012 - Professors: Underutilised treasure in our universities? - Part III
Academic, Scientific and Managerial Personnel Needed to Support the Emerging Gas and Oil Industry in Sri Lanka - Workshop on "Compentency Building & Capacity Enhancement of the Emerging offshore Gas & Oil industry in Sri Lanka", 08/01/2013
Commercialization of University Research
Creativity, Innovation and Inclusive Development - Annual Research Symposium 2012 - University of Colombo, 16/08/2012
New Breeds of Institutional Leaders - Workshop on "Re-creating and repositioning of Sri Lankan Universities to meet emerging opportunities and challenges in a globalized environmet", 18/06/2012
Role of Libraries - "University workshop conducted by UGC jointly with ELSEVIER on University Forum in Sri Lanka", 28/02/2013