The University of Madras has chalked out a programme that will offer free distance higher education to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in Indian and Sri Lankan camps from the next academic year.

“Our syndicate meeting has decided to offer free distance education to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who are residing in Indian and as well in Sri Lankan camps” Madras University Vice-Chancellor G Thiruvasagam told PTI.

The university has invited the Deputy High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in South India, V. Krishnamoorthy on January 18{+t}{+h}, to discuss various aspects of the programme.

He said the director of the State rehabilitation centre would also participate in the meeting and provide details of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees’ education status.

“We will seek permission from the state, the Centre as well as Sri Lankan government to proceed further,” Mr. Thiruvasagam said.

The university also plans to allocate Rs. 2 crore in its 2010-2011 budget for the scheme. Initially, undergraduate and postgraduate courses would be offered from the next academic year, particularly to Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu.

“After permission from the Sri Lankan government, the education scheme would be extended to Sri Lanka,” he said.

Mr. Thiruvasagam said after enrolment of students, classes would be conducted at refugee camps and study material supplied through lecturers.

“Certificates will be given to the students once they complete and get through their examinations,” he added.

According to official sources, over one lakh Sri Lankan Tamil refugees have been accommodated in Indian camps.

The Tamil Nadu government had recently announced a Rs. 100 crore rehabilitation package for these refugees.

Free colour television sets have been provided to them, while the Kalaignar Insurance scheme for life saving treatment has been extended to all families in these camps.