Private university chief castigates students seeking relief 

  • Claims students’ questions ‘unnecessary and stupid’ 

BY Buddhika Samaraweera 

A video of Kaatsu International University (KIU) in Colombo Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Jagath Seneviratne scolding students of the KIU during an online discussion, is circulating on social media platforms, particularly on Facebook.

According to the video, which was seen by The Morning, the relevant discussion is about the physical examinations which are to be held at the KIU, and during the discussion, the students explain to Dr. Seneviratne the difficulties they face in coming to the university to sit for the examinations. 

Accordingly, some students were seen informing that they do not have a place to stay when they come to the university to sit for the examinations while some others were seen informing that they cannot afford transportation to and from the university. In addition, some other students report that their parents are reluctant to send them to university because some of them have been infected with Covid-19 while others have not received both Covid-19 vaccine doses.

One student said: “I was infected with Covid-19 while inside the university. Then, I was not allowed to stay at the boarding place and was sent home. When I got home, my mother and father also contracted the virus because of me.” 

Responding to the said student, Dr. Seneviratne was seen addressing the students as “thamuse” in Sinhala and saying: “Then there is no other option, either you resign or do whatever you want. We are not ready to run the university as you say. If you want the university to be run as you want, you can establish one. What are you doing at our university? Go wherever you want and complain. We are going to hold the examinations for your own good.”

He also instructed another official who was present during the said discussion: “Start the examinations. Those who come will come.” 

Thereafter, the said official of the KIU was attempting to explain to the students that there were many days left for the examinations, at which point, Dr. Seneviratne said: “Don’t worry. Don’t apologise that much to anyone. These are the decisions of the university. Don’t ask unnecessary questions because I have a lot of other work other than answering these stupid questions.” 

Meanwhile, the KIU management, on its official Facebook page, has warned of disciplinary action against the students who allegedly tarnish the reputation of the KIU by sharing false information on social media platforms. A post shared on its Facebook page by the KIU read: “The examinations of undergraduate degree programmes at the KIU will be conducted physically as it is essential and compulsory to attain the requirements of the degree awarding status in order to enhance the quality of education at the KIU. The Non-State Higher Education Division of the Education Ministry has stated that there is no objection to conducting physical examinations if the relevant Medical Officer of Health (MOH) Office and the Public Health Inspector (PHI) grant their approval. The decisions of the Government are also the same.” It further added: “The KIU has informed all students 14 days in advance that the examinations will be held at the KIU in accordance with the examination rules and regulations. Hence, the approval of the MOH Office was requested formally. Accordingly, the Board of Management has officially announced to conduct the physical examinations at the KIU under the approval granted on 8 November 2021 by the MOH Office, Battaramulla, and following the Covid-19 prevention guidelines given by the Health Ministry. The students who tarnish the reputation of the KIU by sharing false details on social media platforms, objecting to the conduct of physical examinations, will be subjected to disciplinary actions for this misconduct,” it concluded.