University Grants Commission - Sri Lanka

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Commission Circular No: 839

26th January 2004.


Vice-Chancellors of Universities,
Rectors of Campuses,
Directors of Institutes.



Your attention is kindly invited to the method of selecting a Vice Chancellor as stipulated by Commission Circulars No. 670 of 22nd February 1996 and No. 765 of 24th May 2000.

Further to observations made by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (The Ombudsman) on flaws in the present practice of selecting Vice-Chancellors and his recommendation that the Commission issue a new Circular to address the flaws he has identified, the Commission at its 650 th meeting held on 22nd January 2004, has decided to issue this Circular exercising its powers under Sections 15(ix) and 3(4) of the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978 to regulate the administration of Universities.

Advertisement of the Post of Vice Chancellor:

The advertisement calling for applications and nominations with prior consent of the nominee shall be disseminated as widely as possible within and outside the University System and specify the qualifications desired of the Vice-Chancellor.

The application shall include a statement of vision for the University, what the candidate expects to achieve if appointed, and a full Curriculum Vitae of the applicant. Where the present incumbent is an applicant such applicant should also give a report highlighting the accomplishments during his or her first term in office.

The desired qualifications of a Vice-chancellor are :

  • (i) Outstanding academic accomplishments AND

  • (ii) Leadership in academic as well as administrative matters as judged by experience in the administration of academic and other institutions, research groups and professional societies.

Women and those from outside the University System are to be encouraged to apply.

A closing date shall be specified in the advertisement and no application shall be accepted in violation of this date.

It is desirable that members of the Council do not nominate candidates and thereby tie themselves up to a candidate who may, after all applications are received, be found to be less preferable to an applicant.

The relevant Council shall use a Search Committee to search for and encourage suitable persons to apply. Such Search Committee shall consist of two members from the Senate appointed by the Senate, two members from the Council appointed by the Council and two eminent persons from outside the University System appointed by the Council, none of whom intend to be applicants or nominees for the post of Vice Chancellor.
Note : "Persons outside the University System" means those not employed in permanent capacity by any state-run Higher Educational Institution, whether at present or in the past.


Assessment and decision:

Those parts of meetings of the Council discussing and determining the appointment of a Vice Chancellor shall not be chaired by anyone intending to apply or consent to be nominated. Under this provision, if the Vice Chancellor is precluded from being in the chair, then the Council may select a pro tem chairman other than the Deputy Vice Chancellor, if any, subject to the same provision.

Assessment of nominees and applicants shall be by objective criteria relating to the above qualifications. If any marking scheme or minimum qualification is to be used, it should be determined prior to the placement of the advertisements and given to the candidates, if the Council wishes to rank the three persons it recommends to the Commission, such decision shall also be taken prior to placing the advertisements. The assessment of applicants shall include an interview of every candidate with the Council, unless the candidate is offered a reasonable opportunity to present himself and declines such opportunity.

No rule or criterion on assessment shall be introduced, changed or rescinded once the advertisements are placed.

Where there are more than three candidates, a ballot paper of all applicants shall be prepared and the final determination shall be by the Council voting by secret ballot. Each Council member voting shall cast 3 votes for 3 different candidates.

The names of the three persons securing the highest number of votes shall be forwarded to the Commission. If a decision had been taken to rank the three names to be forwarded, such ranking shall be done according to the votes secured.


Where the advertisement fails to elicit three applications, the process shall be begun afresh, this time the advertisement being more widely placed. This shall be repeated until a slate of three candidates are identified for transmission to the Commission.

The provisions of this Circular will be effective from 01st February 2004. The Circulars referred t above are hereby rescinded.

(Prof. B.R.R.N Mendis- Chairman)


  • Chairman/UGC
  • Vice-Chairman/UGC
  • Members of the UGC
  • Secretary/UGC
  • Deans of Faculties
  • Registrars of Universites
  • Financial Controller/UGC
  • Bursars of Universities
  • Librarians/SAL/AL of the Higher Educational Institutions/Institutes;
  • Snr. Asst.Registrars/Asst.Registrars of HEIs/Campuses
  • Snr. Asst.Bursars/Asst.Bursars of HEIs/Campuses
  • Chief Internal Auditor/UGC
  • Govt. Audit Superintendents of Universities
  • Snr. Asst.Int. Auditors/Asst.Int.Auditors of HEIs
  • Secretaries of Trade Unions
  • Auditor-General

File No. C/PS/8/4/(GEN)


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