University lecturers also join protest

  • 2 Mar 2005 05:16:18 GMT

    Yes Magha, it is very true what you have stated here. However, there is another side of the story. For an instant think what has happened after the privatization of transport in SL. It is essential that there is a mechanism to regulate private universities. If not, there will be places mushrooming here and there granting degrees without any quality (note that this has already happened with computer diplomas). This in turn would harm the reputation of the Sri Lankan University education. At this moment it is not feasible at all to set up anything like that free of corruption. You know how it goes in SL.

  • 2 Mar 2005 06:50:38 GMT

    Very true, mechanism of regulation of such institutes are essential similar to transparency an accountability of Tsunami aids. If we trust our educated class in the country and agree what direction we should go we can make it happen. Procrastination does not help the country at all.

  • 2 Mar 2005 12:41:13 GMT

    Once again we have the supposedly `educated` of Sri Lankan society doing what they know best - striking and protesting. It is very dissapointing to know that even people who are supposed to be the cream of our society (because only the most intelligent of the intelligent of Sri Lankans can get accepted into our unis) can resort to such action with such short sightedness and high levels of immaturity and absurdity.

    Our students need to understand the difference between privatization and allowing private institutions to award their own degrees. The main argument put forward by our `educated` university students and staff is that such a move is unfair because it deprives the rights of poor students who could not get into University to pursue higher education whilst allowing those who can afford it to get it. So basically, because one group of students are unable to afford such education, they are trying to restrict it to everyone else as well except the exceptionally `intelligent` few who have to battle it out to get a place in the first place! With a mentality like that, no wonder that most of these youths become unemployed once they leave Uni. The irony in Sri Lanka is that our supposed cream of our society is the first batch to be unemployed, whereas those `less intelligent` youth find their jobs much faster! We definitely need to improve our higher education, but expanding the budget of Universities through further state funding from a state that already cannot pay the interest on its loans owed through its revune collected is an almost impossible task. Universities need to be reformed, including the whole concept of it.

    Education should be made available to everyone - including to those who can afford it. It is a person`s right to purchase something if he has the capability to do so and it is not criminal to do so, and no one in a democracy should have the right to prevent that.

    If private universities are allowed and regulated under one University Regulator for private and the state(like the practice in all other countries with private Unis)we can solve the problem of fears the our university education would be adversely affected. Mind you, the constant striking by our Marxist infested students (where their idea of democracy has been narrowed down to purely a right to strike and protest than any other right) has not given our university education a better name or image. Only the University of Colombo managed to scrape into the Top 100 universities in Asia - highly an achievement to one of the `best` universities in the country.

    If private unis are allowed, then these institutions will soon begin awarding scholarships for the smartest students and give students more choice and more change. Diversity is important. Also, it can pave way for more poorer students to enter our public unis by making more wealthier students enter private institutes, though their wealth should not by any means be the determinant of their entry requirements.

    What our University students don`t understand is that those in our society who can afford private higher education is paying for it anyway. There are enough institutes in the country awarding foreign degrees and a large number of students leave our shores to attend foreign universities where they spend millions of rupees on education. The audacity is that these protesting students (who are often hell-bent on any form of reform to the university system) are the one`s encouraging its own `privatisation` and hampering the countries educations and financial growth. We can save so much of our foreign reserves if our students continued their higer education in Sri Lanka, paying for recognised Sri Lankan degrees in Sri Lankan institutes. However, due to the adament and obnoxious demands of these youths, our students spend our rupees in the form of dollars and pounds in foreign countries or by studying foreign degrees in Sri Lanka, giving the already rich countries more money and making their unis more better. We are losing so much money, infrastructure, and intellectuals through this process. It is very sad.

    My advice to the government is to continue their programme of reform, which is essential if our universities are to survive. At this rate, the more the country falls into bankruptcy, the more it will threaten our system of free-education. Reform and change are essentials for a developing state and democracy. If the government is going to bend backwards and forwards and to the side, to appease every single demand and strike by every single group in the country then not only will the govt. soon collapse, but so will the country. Some decisions are hard to make and will certainly be unpopular, but they have to be made for people to realise their goods. People elect leaders to guide them, not so that people will continue to guide the leaders. We don`t get a forest guide when we go into the jungle so that we can guide him, but so that he can guide us. He should know what path to take, wit our best interests at heart, even if that path is muddy, dirty and diffucult.

  • 2 Mar 2005 14:44:14 GMT

    Dear Vishnu,

    >> This in turn would harm the reputation of the Sri Lankan >> University education.

    I disagree. Private universities will promote competition which will lead to good and bad universities. Bad one will have a bad reputation and the the rest a good one. It is the same all over the world. Every western country has good and bad universites. US has IVY league as well as unknown very bad universites. If you go on www.collegeboard.org you can see how they are listed in the best to worse order. Sri Lankan universities are identified as one because we have only one single Sri Lankan universiy really in separate towns managed by the same education ministry under same conditions. There is no freedon for the universites to modify the courses as they wish. So naturally they fall in to one group. If you have free privare universites that won`t happen. Each one will have it`s own identity, respect and reputation not as a general Sr iLankan University..

  • 2 Mar 2005 15:44:27 GMT

    Magha is right when he says that there are only 14000 places in government higher education institutions and there are a vast number of students who are qualified to enter but miss the opportunity. One thing we should remember is every year out of about 90 000 applicants only the Best 14 000 get the chance. And Sri Lanka can not provide work opportunities even for this out put. (remember, Government recently attempted to stop providing appointments to Medical College leavers despite Sri Lanka having a shortage of Doctors). What is the point of producing more and more graduates without work.

    Real reason behind these so-called ?reforms? is to give the opportunity to children of the Rich to obtain degrees so that they can be equal to those 14 000 who surpassed them in a fair contest. When you are in the job market, everyone with degrees- contacts, money and the school you attended will have a bigger say than your talents. It is easy to see who is going to gain by these reforms. (So what will the rest do? Take up arms and fight for their rights)

    Regulating such private institutions? Oh! Please be realistic, we are talking about Sri Lanka. I have seen how it went with ?Private Medical College? in the Eighties. With all ?Well Educated? people at the helm it managed to enrol students with only 3 A/L passes (at that time there were 4 subjects to sit) and students who have done Commerce/Arts subjects for A/L. It was not only about money. Many students were sons and daughters of people of medical related professions who were unable to gain enough marks to attend gov. medical college despite the wealth they have utilised during their A/L years. PMC was an institution only opened for a certain category which was defined not only by money. PMC leavers could have numerous advantages over other medical college leavers just because they were the real Insiders of the health-care establishment. After seeing PMC students for two years, I couldn?t make up my mind why those deserved to be doctors rather than anybody else. I can assure you, if there was such a reason, it can not be their ability to learn.

  • 2 Mar 2005 15:55:09 GMT

    Free education is a gift to most in the world and SL is one rare place where it is offered. Rebellion is tolerated to as point to allow discourse as means of exercising rights within a framework. Over many decades students with deep political agenda have abuse the system are engaged in violence to purposely disrupt higher education of those who deserve in place in SL universities.

    Private education is one issue these leftist extremists have fought for claiming that such a system only deprive the poor rural students of fair education opportunities, but also their job prospects. Contrary, the disruption hurt the higher education, a 4 yr program took 8 yrs to complete. You think the lecturers understand this, guess what where do you think they come from, through the same system.

    Having served as an external uni lecturer at Colombo I couldn`t believe the lack of conditioning among undergraduates to grasp their potential after uni education. They miserably fail in communication skills, IT knowledge, personality dev etc to become leaders of the country and contribute to their employers. Once graduated many are so ill prepared at satisfying their prospective employers at interviews, the private sector is now involved in training 3/4 yr students at Colombo in English and general skills to immerse into business enterprising in the private sector.

    In my experience, most private sector enterprises are reluctant to hire them because of time and money on re-training uni students. They believe their best prospects come from private sector education and not from the state uni. A case and point, the recruitment of CIMA students is higher than any discipline in the universities.

    There is a greater importance for the state universities to work with the private sector to ensure that they cater to the growing needs of the nation. One must understand that it is the private sector that runs the engine of the free market economy. Right now it is a tough pill to take for the rebellious students, they are so blind to the realities.

  • 2 Mar 2005 17:36:19 GMT

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  • 3 Mar 2005 04:24:01 GMT

    Friends, do not forget the University admission criteria, To science faculties; 40% by merit(z score), 55% by district basis( based on population) ,5% for educationally underprivileged areas. So basically it is not the cream of the country, but we respect the criteria considering the unequal development of the country and the fairness of giving opportunities to those who are less privileged. How ever what guarantee does the country has that those selected to receive higher education will stay in the country serving the nation after graduation? Thanks to the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine of SL established nearly 20 years ago many doctors remain in the country except for Tamil doctors, but many science graduates leave the country for post graduate education and never return. So is this free education for few is fare whilst depriving many others, even if they want to get education at their own cost ?

  • 3 Mar 2005 13:22:27 GMT

    Magha; Yes graduates leave the country. But still there are thousands of graduates with no jobs. I agree there are so many things wrong with the current system, but the Number of Graduates they produce is not one of them. Quality of the out put is certainly one of them. We need reforms that aim to increase the quality but not quantity at this juncture.

    As you have earlier said, if we should trust the Educated Class of SL, can we trust them to increase the quality of graduates of our universities.

    Thanks

  • 3 Mar 2005 20:41:45 GMT

    Yes Murali G, PMC really a business centre. PMC administrators think about money only. This privatization issue will definitely be a disaster if implemented