President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told Chancellors and Vice Chancellors of all state universities on Friday that the  higher education system needs to undergo major reforms so that newly passed out graduates can find employment promptly with job opportunities coming their way instead of them staging  demonstrations demanding employment.

“Whatever the definitions given to university education, if young people leaving the universities cannot find jobs there must be something intrinsically wrong with the system,” the President said.

He also said that Universities and the Schools should reopen only in accordance with recommendations of the health authorities  adding that the present context must be utilised to further expand the already introduced distance learning system with the objective of attracting at least  30% of the university student population towards online education.

President Rajapaksa also referred to the thousands of students studying overseas who were to be flown back in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and noted that so many students seeking higher education abroad is counterproductive in many aspects.

‘Their education abroad causes a huge outflow of foreign exchange. Parents also suffer when their children are away from homes. To put an end to this trend, we need to diversify our university education. It is essential to introduce degree courses covering areas such as Information Technology, Nursing, Teaching and Tourism, the President said.

President Rajapaksa highlighted the possibility of assembling low-cost computers targeting university students and said engineering faculties of universities and others who possess the know-how can assist in this exercise.

" It is a necessity to provide a personal computer to each student who is eligible to enter a university in the future and all university entrants must be given a comprehensive knowledge in communication technology and the English language prior to their entry into universities," he said.