Deplorable Conditions of the Sri Lankan Universities
Posted on April 14th, 2012

by Darshani Wimalasuriya

Today Sri Lankan Universities are facing a huge dilemma. The quality of university education is declining and according to the World ranking Sri Lankan universities are lower than the universities in Uganda “”…” a country that has a lower literacy rate than Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan universities are filed with violence, extremist student politics, strikes , low productivity, and moral decay. Who is responsible for this fiasco?

Recently three students from the Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya were arrested by the Police and produced before the Kandy additional Magistrate Mr. Ravindra Premaratne for sexually assaulting a fresher. Three second year students named Charith Lakmal, Ruchira Madushanka and Yohan Sandaruwan of the Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya where remanded until the 9th of February 2012. According to the investigations the student offenders had taken the victim to a lonely area of the university and they had stripped the victim by force and sodomized him. The victim sustained physical and psychological injuries and later treated at the hospital. DIG Sudath Nagahamulla of the Sri Lanka Police Department conducted the investigation.

In another incident three second year female students of the Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya were charged with ragging a group of female freshers in a lavatory. These female freshers were stripped naked during the ragging and they were forced to perform indecent acts of sexual nature. The University authorities imposed three week suspension on these three female students. According to an unofficial internal report these three senior female students sexually molested a newcomer female student from Gampaha District. The internal report further reveals that the victim was afraid to lodge a complaint to the university authorities. Therefore no further charges were brought against the perpetrators. Although these senior female students had committed a serious sexual offence they will be able to participate in lectures soon after the 3 week suspension.

Sexual violence has been increased in the Peradeniya University and the authorities are reluctant to take adequate measures and sometimes a turn a blind eye says a new student who has second thoughts of leaving the university and applying for an Australian university to continue his higher studies. A considerable number of new students were subjected to various types of sexual harassments and brutal ragging but many are maintaining silence he further says.

Sexual violence and brutal physical ragging is a hidden malady in the Sri Lankan universities and Perdeniya University has the worst reputation. The most infamous and horrible case of sexual violence was reported in 1975 from the Peradeniya University. A young 22 year old female student named Rupa Rathnaseeli of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya jumped from the second floor of the hostel -Ramanathan Hall when a group of seniors tried to insert a pen in to her vagina as a part of sadistic physical ranging. She sustained serious injuries to her spinal cord and became paralyzed and confined to a wheel chair for many years. Her dreams were shattered and young life was wasted. In 1997 Rupa Rathnaseeli committed suicide. Upon this incident the Peradeniya University Authorities made a cover-up story and concealed the evidence. After her death they conveniently forgot about Miss Rupa Rathnaseeli. Those who attempted to administer sexual violence on her working as administrators today. Some are university professors.

The second prominent victim of Peradeniya University was Selvanayagam Varapragash “”…” a first-year engineering student who was murdered on the campus in 1997. He was subjected to sadistic ragging and in the post-mortem a large quantity of tooth paste were found in his rectum. Selvanayagam Varapragash was just 21 years old. For brutally murdering Selvanayagam Varapragash a group of seven Engineering faculty seniors were indicted but many of them were acquitted due to inadmissible evidence. Today his murders are free and some are living in Canada and Australia working as professionals but hiding their murky murderous past.

University of Ruhuna is one of the leading Universities in Sri Lanka. In 1993 an innocent student named Chaminda Punchihewa of the Ruhuna University died as a result of cruel ragging. He was viciously beaten and forced to perform vigorous exercises by senior students. In 1997 a first year female student of the University of Ruhunu committed suicide following unbearable ragging. She was subjected to unbearable sexual harassments. In 2011 Professor Susirith Mendis head of the Ruhuna University informed the media that a group of students administered physical ragging on a female student “”…” Vathsala Kumudini De Silva and as a result of physical ragging she became semi-paralyzed in one limb. Before she faced physical ragging she was forced to repeat 10 filthy words in Sinhala to her group mates by the seniors.

Sri Lankan Universities have student political groups that are manipulated by the extremists. When a new batch of students arrives at the University, they are intimidated and threatened to use physical ragging by the seniors. Often the new students are not allowed to have a dialog with the university lecturers, not allowed ask questions at the lectures , not allowed to take part in the English courses and not allowed to use the university library by these extreme student unions. The freshes have to wear non expensive clothes and for them it is prohibited to wear shoes. In some universities they are not allowed to take baths or clean themselves after using the toilet for a number of weeks. In some universities the students are not allowed to drink beverages like coca cola. This sanction was vigorously implemented at the University of Colombo and University of Kelaniya.

The senior students of the Sri Lankan universities use physical and sexual harassments to control the newcomers. Among the sexual violence forcefully stripping naked, forced masturbation, forced to perform oral or anal sex, sexual act simulation, urinating on victim, inserting pens and candles to the victim’s anus or vagina, smearing tooth paste or marmite in the victims genitals, forcing to wear clothes without undergarments (without panties or jockstraps ) , bucketing or throwing dirty water with animal and human feces, swearing with utter filth, interrogating the victim with thousands of vulgar questions, forced to repeat filthy words or sing filthy songs in front of a group etc. are quite common. Although rape and sodomy are rare the recent reports indicate that these types of extreme form of violence are slowly emerging in the Sri Lankan Universities.

The student political groups use ragging as a weapon to control the new students and to indoctrinate them. There are unspeakable human right violations occurring inside the Sri Lankan universities and many university professors and other authorities maintain silence. Many of the sexual and physical harassments are covered by the university establishment and the general public is unaware of most of the horrible events that occur in these educational institutions. Majority of the university lecturers do not want to get involved in internal politics or to have grudges with the extremist student groups. Sometimes inhuman form of ragging is happening infant of their eyes and still they do nothing to stop it. Many university teachers pretend that they did not see the incident and move away. The professors and lecturers openly opposed ragging were subjected to numerous types of violence and some were compelled to leave the universities for their safety.

Sri Lankan Universities are virtually dead says a senior lecturer attached to the University of Colombo. According to him qualified professors go to the overseas universities seeking prosperous job opportunities. Only the old and inefficient academics are trapped in the local universities. Majority of the Sri Lankan University Professors and senior lecturers do not want to improve the quality of the local universities or stop sadistic ragging. They never send their children to the Sri Lankan Universities. Their children go to the universities in United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc. These irresponsible actions have created a huge academic void in the local universities.

When the academics and university authorities were avoiding their responsibility several student leaders took courageous measures to stop ragging and sexual harassments in the Sri Lankan Universities. Ovitigala Vithanage Samantha was a third year Management student of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. He was a charismatic student leader who launched anti-ranging champagne at the university and soon other universities were inspired by his humane crusade. A group of student extremists killed him on the 7th of November 2002. He was inhumanly assaulted at the university premises and attacked with a computer monitor and smashed his head. One of his killers and one who masterminded the murder – Sujith Kuruwita used his political backings to evade the charges and today he is at large. After Ovitigala Vithanage Samantha’s death his humane campaign had a lesser voice and again violence and sadism took control of the Sri Lankan universities.

Regrettably Sri Lankan Universities are facing moral and educational degradation especially in the last four decades. One time Sri Lankan universities were the shining examples of higher education and academic leadership. Unfortunately the quality of education and research work in the Sri Lankan universities have gone down drastically. Today Sri Lankan universities are lagging behind. According to the 2011World University Ranking Sri Lankan universities have a lower position and some African countries with low literacy rate than Sri Lanka have far more better educational ranking than the Sri Lankan Universities.

Urgent measures must be taken to stop physical and sexual violence in the Sri Lankan Universities and the quality of education must be improved. Recently the Minister of Higher Education Mr. S.B Dissanayake told the media that he intends to invite overseas students to the Sri Lankan Universities. With current low grade of education quality, massive violence and frequent strikes in the Sri Lankan universities the foreign students might think twice to come to further their education in Sri Lanka. Higher education is the only hope and salvation to the Sri Lankans and do not let anyone to destroy it.

References

Ragging: History and Evolution by Harsh Agarwal

The Fundamental Threat to Sri Lankan University Education – Prof. Shantha K. Hennayake

Ragging in Sri Lankan Universities and Anti-Ragging Act of Sri Lanka

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39 Responses to “Deplorable Conditions of the Sri Lankan Universities”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    IT IS VERY, VERY SAD, AND DISGUSTING TO SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE BEAUTIFUL YOUTH OF OUR COUNTRY.

    When will the Government stop this ragging, by JVP Vagrants ? It appears that there is no remedy, in a Country where the ruthless LTTE was decimated.

    If the government cannot stop it, it should be handed over on contract basis to a private Security Company, to follow the raggers and do the needful. The approach has to be formidable.

  2. AnuD Says:

    I think extremist type of problems similar kind of solutions. There should be a way that student can complain and stay anonymous. A few weeks of suspension is not enough.

    Quality of education may be low because of the lack of teachers as well as the lack of motivation in them.

    Sad situation.

  3. Dham Says:

    This article is highly exaggerated -possibly written by USA based Sri lanka bashing front.

    From 1975 ( frst incident reported in this article) , more than 30 years gone. Prominant world respected professionals produce by Sri lanka since then. What do you have to say about that ?

  4. Dham Says:

    “Sri Lankan Universities are virtually dead says a senior lecturer attached to the University of Colombo. According to him qualified professors go to the overseas universities seeking prosperous job opportunities. Only the old and inefficient academics are trapped in the local universities. ”

    Absolute exaggeration ! This is a big insult to those extremely bright patriotic people who came back to Sri lanka after PhD and are still serving the country.
    I met a young bright Engineer working in Sir Lanka few month ago. I was amazed with his wide knowledge -even to talk – you will never get that knind of knowledege from USA graduates.

  5. Dilrook Says:

    I agree with Dham.
    This is exaggerated.

    There is no doubt free universities are losing their competitiveness and discipline but not for these reasons and not so much.

    Indiscipline must be corrected society wide. There are some leading western universitites where foreign students do the world’s oldest profession. Brothels advertise them as “elegant uni gals”. However, that doesn’t make these universities any bad. Thankfully Lankan university student profile is not so bad.

    The biggest problem with free universities is that taxpayers don’t get what they pay for.

    Taxpayers pay 3 million rupees each for a dentist but end up not having dentists as almost all of them migrate after studies.

    There is 17% to 30% brain drain. No problem with that but they should be asked to pay back proportionately what they got. Until then no point pouring milk into a bucket with a hole. Until then taxpayers will not allow governments to allocate more and more to universities. If the universities are as bad, there will not be so much brain drain, every year.

    A realistic approach is needed. Certainly not a reactionary approach.

  6. concernedSL Says:

    most past graduands including yours truly are guilty of this crime but the physical abuse especially sexual in nature has now become rampant and must be totally rejected (and also other forms). in fact the vociferous tough guy SB has miserably failed. ragging can be curtailed to an extent if the freshers are allowed in to unis say one week before the seniors get in – that way the freshers will be pretty familiar with the campus and form thier own fortitudes. the standard of education of unis are not based on the degree of ragging, which happens all over the world but based on the quality of education, in our case pretty much based on the theoritical emphasis and hell bent to/on London path as most do post graduate in British Unis and those qualified in US, Canada and Australia do get a step motherly treatment or are ignored, by the British qualified bums. one other factor is the lethargy on our uni dons to respond to requests by uni standard insitutions to submit their curriculums – the bane of our sri lankan society – lack of prompt communication – no uni don or official of Uni Grant Com will ever reply an email or letter. we must have a system in place in sri lanka where all govt servants and education and other institutions’ officials respond to mail within say a two week period – this order must come from the cabinet and secretaries must implement this effectively – unfortunately the incompetent secs. are the worst culprit!

  7. concernedSL Says:

    the worst case of ragging happened to a kingswoodian (who joined college from a village school at the Adv level) in 60s – whose mother was a stone breaker at a quarry – the miserable senior bastards fooled him and he committed suicide.

  8. sena Says:

    although it is unacceptable and should be stopped, prevalence of violence or lack of it is not the yard stick of determining university ranking. The campus violence is a reflection of the larger society that it represent. One of the reasons for this deplorable condition is political interference and is reflected in one of the statement here where the killers/perpetrators are protected. I am not sure whether Sri Lankan universities were “shining examples of higher education” by any standard at any time. If they were those who benefited from those high standards were the main culprits for the present conditions as almost nothing in return has been contributed to the economy by those high achievers as a pay back for poor public funding their education and we depend on housemaids and seamstresses, some of them may not have gone beyond fifth grade, for shouldering our economy. The rank of universities depend on quality of education which in turn depends on quality of research and new inventions which has measurable contributions to modernize the economy of the country for example as in East Asian countries like South Korea and Taiwan. All innovative universities have naturally evolving industries and so called incubator companies around them, many originate from their own research. Despite eighty years of higher education we are yet to see such scenarios around our campuses and such omissions are specially glaring in case of medical and engineering faculties

  9. AnuD Says:

    Some time ago, I heard the govt had plans to invite freshers two weeks before the others coming. Is there anything like that happening now ?

  10. Wickrama Says:

    “….according to the World ranking Sri Lankan universities are lower than the universities in Uganda ”
    THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE. I CHALLENGE THE AUTHOR TO PROVIDE EVIDENCE OF THIS CLAIM.

  11. Dham Says:

    What’s wrong with being behind the best Ugandan University ? Who knows, US Universities can be behind Ethiopian Universities.

    Dilrook has raised a good question. How are these professionals who migrate pay back poor Sri lankan money ?
    Idiotic women like Champa ( the wife or the betrayer called Gunaratnam aka Daskon) not only have stolen poor peoples money but also betraying and badmouthing the motherland.
    There should be a mechnism to pay back the money of the poor tax payer.

  12. Son of Lanka Says:

    According to the Ranking of World Universities (Jan 2012), the Average Ranking of the Top 5 Sri Lankan Universities is 2732, while the corresponding figure for Uganda is 6861. Moreover the Average Ranking of the Top 10 SL Universities is 4946, while that of Uganda is 14604. Clearly, as the number of Universities in a Country is increased the position of Uganda as a centre of educational excellence declines far more sharply than that of our Motherland.The Author of this Post has chosen to make a sweeping generalization based on a single ‘outlier’ in the ranking data for Uganda.

    If the problem of ‘Ragging’ is to be stamped out, then harsh measures have to be implemented. All University Entrants must be compelled by Law to give a signed undertaking that they will not actively or passively participate in ragging activities during their period of study. Any and all Students who are subsequently found guilty of this offense, including those who may have passively watched the proceedings (and are guilty of aiding and abetting the crime) must be sacked from the University. No ‘appeals’ should be permitted. Suspending guilty students is a joke.

    All University Entrants must also be compelled by Law to give a signed undertaking that after graduation they will work in SL for a period of 10 years before seeking greener pastures abroad. These sons & daughters of SL should be made to understand that our Motherland invests valuable and scarce resources in educating every student at the local Universities and that SL has a right to expect a return on such investments so that the Quality of Life in our Country can grow organically. As it is, the Return on Investments made by our Motherland in the field of Graduate Education benefits the Rich Western Countries to a much greater degree.

  13. Dham Says:

    SoLs,
    Problem is when they become graduates, they cannot get world class experience in Sri lanka. Therefore it is not necessary to impose a 10 year bond, but instead government must impose a scheme to pay the cost of degree back, depending on the course.
    As for ragging, politiking – simple . Law enforement is the answer but this is absent in Sri lanka. Political cancer has spred to 3rd stage. Must reomve politics altogether and have military law of something.

  14. lingamAndy Says:

    Darshani Wimalasuriya
    Please write, why you have not metioned similar incitent happend in Jaffa univercity & senior student banned from lecture for two week .

    Are We not living in United Lanka yet !!!!

  15. lingamAndy Says:

    Dear Dham
    bright Tamil students-Why Jaffna university have Thamil student only but all our other universities have All community students ?

    is not discrimation to our major community(sinhala student)?

    not worth mentioning minor hiccups- Alway good ( whether major or minor hiccups) to rectify than & there !

  16. nandimitra Says:

    The behavior of the university students is dispicable. How ever they are a reflection of the society we live in corrupt , lawless and unaccountable. In any other country serious note would have been taken by the authorities. How can the authorities take action when they are no better. Dont blame the students alone ,blame the society and its leaders who see no evil,hear no evil .

  17. Anjali Says:

    It is not a huge problem to solve.The only principal needed is zero tolarence policy.no sympathy-criminals should be punished.
    step 1) pass a strong law in parliment against ragging immediately.
    law should allow to publish the names of students involved in ragging.
    2)Identify the students involved in ragging-main culprits should be arrested jailed immediately.It will take about 2 weeks
    3)Give a last warning.
    4)If any one involves in ragging whether it is small or big incident ,arrest them immediately .
    5)resume the searching for the convicts involved in ragging.ask australia and other governments to deport them immediately.
    6)create a special police unit for university students.
    Specially The condition girls going through in universities can not tolarated.hope lankaweb publishes this comment.

  18. Jayantha Says:

    Re Dharshani’s Article.

    This seemed to have got some folks worked up. Dharshani has brought up a subject that needs immediate attention
    if Sri Lanka is to produce a higher caliber of graduates.

    1) The students at all our universities are controlled by those who want to manipulate them to capture power in
    the country. Case in point the killers of the JVP to start with who showed us with the two JVP led failed
    insurrections during the past 40 years.
    2) The students in turn go on strikes for the most minor dumb reason and then they do not get an opportunity to
    complete their syllabuses.
    3. This results in student graduating from these universities having only about 50 percent of their syllabuses
    completed the most.
    4. Obviously the standards drop and the so called graduates are below world standards.
    5. No other country in the world has such unruly student as those at Sri Lanka’s universities. And for that matter I
    do not know of any other country in the world where higher education is free and therefore so bastardized.
    6. Those who go on strikes as well as those who rag freshers must be dismissed immediately and should never be
    allowed in any university or in any technical school in Sri Lanka. They could become labourers as they seem to
    to have no culture, no manners and no decency and seems to be of subhuman and of low mentality.
    7. Re the graduates from Sri Lanka getting jobs overseas, we all know only the most studious can manage to enter
    the universities in Sri Lanka because of lack of room and the very competitive exams.
    8. No employer in Sri Lanka or overseas are looking for our graduates because they are the best. For them they
    are just graduates and once they are employed the employers come to know how little our so called graduates
    know. After having lived overseas as a company owner I have finally come home. So I am writing from my
    personal experience with graduates from foreign countries as well as from Sri Lanka.
    9. I have had the misfortune to hire Sri Lankan engineers in Africa, in Australia, in Uk as well as in USA. These so
    called graduates are nothing but theoriticians. They are not willing to learn and they have what one would call Sri
    Lankan mentality. They want to find a corner where they can hide, get a salary, carry a bunch of files, possibly
    get a secretary, a telephone and give orders.
    10. When the likes of Wimal Weerawansa is the minister of construction, engineering and whateverelse what can
    Sri Lanka expect.
    11. Once a graduate from Sri Lanka or whereever gets exposed to about 5 to 10 years of training they tend to be
    reasonably good.
    12. Many of my colleagues who are from Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and from Europe too whose
    compamies have invested in projects do not want to hire Architects, Civil Engineers, Structural Engineers and
    Mechanical Engineers from Sri Lanka. They bring their own but give the least complex work (such as paper
    work only) to locals because Sri Lanka expects as a condition to overseas funded projects to have Sri Lanka’s
    (so called) experts to be employed.
    13. For those with frog in the well attitude who brag about Sri Lankan qualified experts we do not have practically
    qualified personnel – thanks to our universities and then due to the attitudes the graduates pick up and get get
    brain-washed with during their days at our universities.
    14. Our so called professionals once employed are never to be found in their workplaces. They spend their working
    time attending funerals, weddings, Kotahalu Magul and god only knows what else. Then they get used to
    looking for ways and means to get a fast buck. Bribes, commissions and less time put in on a working day.
    15. Case in point Sri Lanka did not need a Tsunami to bring down a major chunk of the People Bank in Colombo to
    come down. Our architects and engineers were so good the part of the building just came down it did not need
    any Tsunami.

    Dharshani, thank you. You wrote a very good article. I hope our Sri Lankan University educated dumb theoriticians the politicians get the message across.

    JP/Colombo

  19. madagama Says:

    This is a good article that tells the truth about our universities. We don’t need to kill the messenger she is telling the truth. Sri Lankan Universities are very much down graded and not recognised in the International Field This is a fact and we must take urgent measures

  20. madagama Says:

    Please read this Sinhala article, it discloses the brutalities and sadism in our universities. No point blaming the journalists ,this is not a Western or Christian conspiracy, these are true facts ,our universities seriously violate human rights. I have experienced brutal ragging @ the Colombo University and no one came for our rescue, not even the lecturers. My cousin sister left the Peradeniya university in 2004 due to unbearable ragging. Someone has to stop this madness. Please save our younger generation from this long standing violence.

    වාචික, කායික සහ ලිංගික හිංසනයෙන් සපිරි ශ්‍රී ලාංකික විශ්වවිද්‍යාල
    | ඩී. සුගත් රාජපක්ෂ

    ශ්‍රී ලංකික විශ්වවිද්‍යාල පිළිබඳව සමහරු අර්ථ කථනය කරන්නේ මුදා නොගත් භුමි ලෙසටය. ලංකාවේ විශ්වවිද්‍යාල අරාජිකය. ලංකික විශ්වවිද්‍යාල වල සෑම වසරකම නවක වදය ලෙසින් බරපතල ලෙස මිනිස් අයිතිවාසිකම් උල්ලංඝනය කෙරේ. මේවා ගැන මානව හිතවාදීයැයි කියා ගන්නා කලාකාරයන් ඉදිරිගාමීයැයි කියා ගන්නා දේශපාලකයන් අවංක කාර්ය ශුර සහ උගත් යැයි කියා ගන්නා විශ්වවිද්‍යාල බලධාරීන් කථා කරන්නේ නැත. අප පිලි නොගන්නා කටුක සත්‍ය නම් මානව හිමිකම් වලට ගරු කරන, හිංසනය ප්‍රතික්ෂේප කරන උසස් සදාචාරයක් ඇති ලෝකයේ වෙනත් විශ්වවිද්‍යාල වලට සාපේක්ෂව ශ්‍රී ලංකික විශ්වවිද්‍යාල තවමත් පවතින්නේ තිරිසන් මට්ටමකිනි. සමහර විදේශ රටවල සරසවි සිසුන්ට සහ විශ්වවිද්‍යාල මහාචාර්යවරුන්ට ලංකාවේ විශ්වවිද්‍යාල වල සිදුවන හිංසනයන් අදහා ගත නොහැක. පසුගිය කාලයන් පුරා අපගේ විශ්වවිද්‍යාල වල සිදු වූ බරපතල මානුෂික අයිතිවාසිකම් කඩවීම් උසස් සදාචාරයක් ඇති මානව හිමිකම් වලට ගරු කරන අධ්‍යාපනික වශයෙන් උසස් ලෝකයේ වෙනත් විශ්වවිද්‍යාලයක සිදුවූවා නම් එම විශ්ව විද්‍යාල කුලපතිවරුන් සිටින්නේ සිර ගෙවල්වලය. ඒ හිංසනයට නිහඬ ලෙස අනුබල දීම නිසාවෙනි. හිංසනයට නිහඬ ලෙස අනුබල දෙන්නාද අපරාදකරුවෙක් බව මෙවැනි රට වල විශ්ව විද්‍යාල බලධාරින් අවබෝධ කරගෙන සිටියද අපගේ විශ්වවිද්‍යාල බලධාරින් තුල තවමත් එවැනි උසස් චින්තනයක් පහල වී නොමැත. ඊට හේතුව අපගේ විශ්වවිද්‍යාල බලධාරීන්ද ශිෂ්‍ය සමයේදී නවක වදයේ වින්දිතයන් හෝ වදකයන් වී සිටීමය. එම නිසා මෙම බරපතල මිනිස් අයිතිවාසිකම් උල්ලංඝනය වරදක් සේ දැකීමට ඔවුනට තවමත් හැකියාවක් නොමැත.

    read more

    http://www.lankaguardian.com/2012/03/blog-post_3533.html

  21. jmack387 Says:

    Sena – you are totally correct. What happened to character of the university graduates?

    I was lucky enough to NOT go to a Sri Lankan university. When I visited Sri Lanka in 1995 and 2001, it seems like Sri Lankan universities are like riot scenes with militants running the show. I commented to my parents, who went to the Colombo campus that from outside, it looks like some ‘harak maduwa’ or cow shed. Yep, that hurt but was all true.

    This article clearly highlights major problems at Sri Lankan universities. But some narrow-minded readers are attacking the author instead of calling for reforms. To Dham, Wickrama and Dilrook: if you had a decent education anywhere outside of Sri Lanka, you’ll know the huge difference. You’ll really know what Darshani Wimalasuriya is talking about. I fully support Darshani because I have been to Sri Lankan schools and western ones. Sri Lanka can do so much better.

    So let’s see what can happen: the Minister of Higher Education invites overseas students to the Sri Lankan Universities, they return to their countries and report how brutal it is in Sri Lankan universities. Then the west-based LTTE terrorists used that, in addition to everything else they got, to further accuse Sri Lankans of being brutal criminals who commit crimes with impunity. So do you really think attacking the author if this insightful article helps?

  22. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Jayantha you are spot on. I am an engineer and I have worked for 36 years in London, for that period I met only three Sri Lankan engineers qualified in Sri Lanka. But our design office is full of Indain qualified engineers and south americans.

  23. Muhammad FS Says:

    I mostly disagree with the main article which is JVP minded gibberish.

    I graduated from a Sri Lankan university and completed my masters and further studies in a well known university in USA. I have worked with (not worked against like some fools do) with a group in improving the quality of education in our universities. I can say Sri Lankan universities have problems but are doing a fine job.

    Lying about Uganda is deplorable and pathetic. I’m sure she has not been to Uganda. Check facts before writing gibberish.

    I have worked with more than 25 Sri Lankan engineering graduates in many countries and they are far better than Indians. But they are way below east Asians, Europeans, Americans. There is room for improvement.

    There are problems. Graduates going to weddings, funerals or regular prayers is not the fault of the university. This type of foolish comparisons show unfortunately the intellect of those who analyse it wrongly. May be the fault of their universities.

    Wimal Weerawansa became the minister of construction just 2 years ago. How can he make engineering graduates so bad in two years?

    Problems facing universities should be resolved without mixing them with personal conduct that has nothing to do with universities.

    1 Bring back order to unruly universities. Ban politics.

    2 Teach graduates leadership. Leadership training program is a good start. Expand it.

    3 Increase practical training.

    4 Align with world’s top universities on teaching quality improvement.

    5 Raise salaries for lecturers. Now they are paid a very low salary. This is totally unacceptable.

    6 Don’t restrict graduates going abroad. Encourage it. That is the way to go.

    7 The biggest problem seems to be those who could not get into Sri Lankan universities because of low marks and got into some trade school somewhere try to put down Sri Lankan universities. We know what Oxford and Cambridge graduates of the past in politically influential positions did to the nation. Thanks to them the country is in a mess isn’t it?

    8 Improve research. There is plenty of room for improvement.

    Let me quote what a great Sri Lankan by the name Lakshman Kadirgamar said in UK about Sri Lankan universities.

    I would like to, if I may, to assume that I could share the honour with the people of my country, Sri Lanka. I had my schooling there, my first university was there, I went to Law College there and by the time I came to Oxford as a postgraduate student, well, I was relatively a matured person. Oxford was the icing on the cake … but the cake was baked at home…

    Without spiteful and foolish attacks on Sri Lankan universities (JVP mentality “Bangawewa” mentality. Why not it happen to them I wonder) we should concentrate on improving universities. Unfortunately some commentators here are not up to that.

    Not sure this comment will be published. Thank you. Think positively for a change. Negative thoughts make your life miserable and restrict you. Overcome them. Only after that you can improve others.

  24. Dham Says:

    RE- Jayatha’s article

    1) There were JVPiers for 40 years in Unis. This excuse has nothing to do with article with exaggerations and lies.

    2) Acknowledge strikes should be stopped. But if you do that US, Australia, UK, India will call Rajapake – the dictator.

    3. Not surer anbout compleyion 50 percent of their syllabuses – probably an exaggeration again.

    4. The standards drop is a universal phenomina.

    5. No other country in the world has such unruly student as those at Sri Lanka’s universities. – is a big lie – Lokk at Tamil nadu – the kill each other.

    6. Agreed, law and order shall be maintained.

    7. Don’t know what is trying to say by getting overseas jobs.

    8 & 9 . You are a miser trying to higher cheapest graduates probably. Get the best and the bright and see the difference. I agree the “collect salary” mentality is there but this changes with exposure. It is there in China, India too. So why rate below Uganda ?

    10. When the likes of Wimal WeerawansaRanil Wickremasinghe is the opposition leader what can
    Sri Lanka expect ?

    11. Jargon again- Daaa .

    12.May be true. Sri lankan good graduates expect high salaries.

    13 Jargon again – nedd not answer.

    14. Nothing to do with Uni standard and Uganda.

    15. The People Bank in Colombo building is a copy of malaysia building planted by Woh Hup Ltd ( Singapore company) thanks to your friends in UNP.

  25. madagama Says:

    Please see these videos then you will see the difference

    1) Physical ragging in a Sri Lanka University ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkKX5owFxYU )

    2) University of Colombo students carry knives instead of pens (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfxrReGbYNU)

    3) Rajarata University Freshers were forcibly taken to a protest (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIyVk3pRwKk&feature=related )

    4) Sri Lankan students in a Western University (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ri0erYYQ5dE)

    I feel so sad about the pathetic conditions of our universities

  26. aravinda Says:

    This is the solution.

    1. Free Primary education.

    2. Free Secondary education.

    3. Course fee at Tertiary education at cost. Student loans for the underprivileged. Ragging will
    reduce immediately. If it still exist, raggers should be dealt as common criminals.

  27. aloy Says:

    Dham,
    Your item 15 refers.
    I think there is a mix up here. Wo Hup did Bank of Ceylon building next to World Trade Center in Fort. Perhaps Jayantha refers to another building, or was there a major failure in Bank of Ceylon building?

  28. Wickrama Says:

    DHAM & Muhammad FS,
    Brilliant replies to Darshani & Jayantha

  29. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    World University Ranking 2011
    Harvard University – According to the World Ranking number 1
    Oxford University -World Ranking number 6
    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich -World Ranking number 15
    University of Hong Kong -World Ranking number 21
    University of Tokyo -World Ranking number 26
    Pohang University of Science and Technology South Korea -World Ranking number 28
    Peking University China -World Ranking number 37
    University of Alexandria Egypt -World Ranking number 147
    Moscow State University -World Ranking number 155
    Indian Institute of Science Bangalore -World Ranking number 559
    Makerere University Uganda -World Ranking number 1062
    University of Zimbabwe -World Ranking number 2246

    University of Colombo Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 2690
    University of Moratuwa Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 2324
    University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 2615
    University of Ruhuna Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 2552
    Open University Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 4189

    (Ranking Web of World Universities http://www.webometrics.info/ )

    For the World University Ranking 2011-2012 please see the link ( http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2011-2012/top-400.html)

  30. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    I can see Lankaweb moderator having hard time deleting abusive words from those who are defending Sri Lanka Universities. That itself proves that those graduates do not have the proper skill of fruitful debate and put their point of view without going into use of abusive language. This is a major problem among south Asian professionals in the design office, they always take a defensive approach rather than admitting a mistake. Perhaps, they don’t teach and train in fundamental skills like presentation skill and assertiveness skill in these asian universities.

  31. madagama Says:

    NeelaMahaYoda you are absolutely right

    Our Sri lankan Universities do not give appropriate attitudinal training to the students in conflict resolution and assertive skills. Therefore many local graduates (those who never had foreign exposure) become extremely defensive and instead of disproving facts they simply humiliate the writer with abusive words . When you read the comments posted here you will see such people. We only pity them.

    A PHD student who had done his BSC @ the University of Colombo now living in Florida told me how students bucketed freshers at the Colombo University with human excreta. He further said if this type of hazing occurred in an US or any foreign university the culprits would have ended up in jail. He told that it was an extremely disgusting event and he says that he feels ashamed to say that he studied at the University of Colombo.

    I agree with Darshani Our universities are virtually dead it does not produce global products any more

  32. Dham Says:

    Madagama and NMyoda,
    “I agree with Darshani Our universities are virtually dead it does not produce global products any more”

    Roughly when it did produce the last global product, according to you ?
    At that time what was the ranking of best university in Sir lanka ?
    What is you problem of having a University in Uganda before Sri lanka ? This is the biggest racist teaching Dharshani received.

    “This is a major problem among south Asian professionals in the design office, they always take a defensive approach rather than admitting a mistake. Perhaps, they don’t teach and train in fundamental skills like presentation skill and assertiveness skill in these asian universities.”

    I agree on presentation skills to an extent but Western schools start teaching this when young to an extent some can only do “presentations”. – do you agree ?

    About the problem of “not accepting mistakes” I agree to a certain extent again but you cannot generalise like than. There are people in Western back ground education, good christians who are even more stubborn.

    Now, having your opinion on good habit of accepting mistakes, please answer this.

    “Sri Lankan Universities are virtually dead says a senior lecturer attached to the University of Colombo. According to him qualified professors go to the overseas universities seeking prosperous job opportunities. Only the old and inefficient academics are trapped in the local universities. ”

    Do you accept that this statement is outrageous and insulting to those bright and generous individuals still serve in lankan Unis for long time having returned back ?

  33. Outspoken Sri Lankan Says:

    This article truly describes the visible behaviour of the new generation of “academics” which is very disturbing. I was a product of a Sri Lanka university prior to the 1971 insurgency and we witnessed behaviour that was totally unbecoming of a future educated class which has now occupied places of importance and the traits are visible in most cases. Those who wish to be influenced in “gutter politics” and who are “sexually depraved” don’t belong in places for learning at the cost of the taxpayer. There is some merit in having granted free education but the admission process should be such that the government doesn’t spend good money producing hooligans. If even the poor have to pay something, they will value the education. Having seen the difference in the foreign universities, I learned that my undergraduate education fortunately in a much saner environment being a science faculty was always targeted by hooligans. Now it appears that even the science faculties have become rotten.

    There must be some drastic steps taken to eradicate this. The government should send them to till the ground. Unfortunately, even among the poor, those who really want to learn should be the people admitted to universities, not rapists, and sadists. Now that the war is over, the government should TRAIN members of the security forces, bind them to strict rules of conduct and put them in charge of the discipline. Sri Lanka will go down the gutter when things like this are allowed to happen. Those who get free education don’t deserve it if they come to universities to urinate and tormate others. What a pathetic situation. They should be given rat poison for behaving like that. it brings down the name of the country in the eyes of the world. We don’t need vagrants with degrees holding jobs.

    Animals are better than some of these people. Even in the 70’s there were elements that should have been fishermen on the high seas not in lecture halls. Some behaved like animals even at that time. Fortunately, we didn’t have to face ragging because we didn’t hang around campus unless for lectures.

    Parents who cannot afford to sent children overseas are left with no option if they have studious children who want to study. The government must do something to keep hooligans out — education at government expense is a privilege and not a right. It should be treated as such. Anyone who is guilty of misbehaviour should be starved for a week for each act. They are worse than animals. Nothing has changed over the last 40 years except get worse.

    The minister must be dreaming if he wants to bring foreign students. He needs to disguise himself as a student and mingle without being recognized. They are too pompous to do that. They will come and visit like big shots and talk a load of rubbish because they are okay and they have the money to send children overseas. No wonder parents send children to ICMA and Royal Institute or abroad. How can they risk their children in a zoo?

  34. Dham Says:

    Outs–lankan,
    Don’t froget last year governement intervened positively, introducing leadership program and in many othery ways.
    I have spoken to some freshers last year and what I learned was much brighter outlook.
    What you again has spoken is about the bad past. Tell me what happened last year , without grandfather stories !
    Aim of the article by a traitor in my view is to bring up unncessary dirty past and show it as a current issue by current government to join with more mud slinging at this stage. If you read it carefully you will undserstand.
    I am in no way defending the politicians or the government, but this wirter therefore should be condemned for coming forward with a hidden agenda.

  35. Dham Says:

    Trying to condemn Sri lankan Universities saying that they are below Ungandan Universities is an insult, not only to Sri lanka but also to Africans as a race. No matter what we know that there are outstanding world class acedemics as well as professionals produced by so called third world countries including Uganda.
    Two of the greatest civil engineers in the recent past were Prof. Fazlur Rahman Khan from Bangladesh and Prof. TY Lin from China.
    The point is the motive behind this letter. If it is to condemn the behaviour of students, their up bringing is also plays a large part. Parents too are responsible. In that case that should have been discussed, rather than exaggerating the matter to condemn Sri lankan Universities is rather pathetic. Sri lankan Universities function with minimal commercial capability and with minimal funds and yet they produce outstanding graduates which should be commendable.

  36. madagama Says:

    Dham

    I think you lack analytical thinking , so don’t bring unnecessary politics here

    Please read the article written by Sugath Rajapaksa of Kelaniya University

    වාචික, කායික සහ ලිංගික හිංසනයෙන් සපිරි ශ්‍රී ලාංකික විශ්වවිද්‍යාල
    | ඩී. සුගත් රාජපක්ෂ

    නවකයන්ට කුණුහර්ප කීම

    ලංකාවේ සෑම විශ්ව විද්‍යාලයකම නවකයන්ට ජේෂ්ඨයන් විසින් කුනුහර්පයෙන් බැනීම, අසභ්‍ය වචන කීම, තර්ජනය කිරීම කරන බව වගකීමෙන් සහ අවදාරණයෙන් යුතුව අප ප්‍රකාශ කරමු. මෙය අසත්‍යක් නම් ඕනෑම කෙනෙකුට මෙම ප්‍රකාශය අභියෝගයට ලක් කල හැකිය. ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ විශ්ව විද්‍යාලයක ඉගෙනුම ලැබූ සහ ජේෂ්ඨයන් ගෙන් කුණුහර්ප නොඇසූ මහත්මයෙකු හෝ මහත්මියක සිටි නම් කරුණාකර ඉදිරිපත් වන්න. මෙම කුණුහර්ප කීමේ සම්ප්රදාය දැනට අවුරුදු 30 අධික කාලයක් පුරා ලංකාවේ විශ්ව විද්‍යාල වල ස්ථාපිත වී තිබේ. මෙය ලංකාවේ විශ්ව විද්‍යාල බලධාරීන්ගේ අවදානයටවත් ලක් නොවන කරුණකි. හේතුව ඔවුන්ද නවකයන් ලෙස කුණුහර්ප හා තර්ජන අසා ජේෂ්ඨයන් ලෙස නවකයන්ට කුණුහර්ප කියා තර්ජනය කල අතීතයකට හිමිකම් කීමය. ඒ නිසා මෙය බරපතල වරදක් ලෙස ඔවුන් නොදකිති.

    උසස් සදාචාරයක් සහ අධ්‍යාපනික සංස්කෘතියක් ඇති ලෝකයේ වෙනත් විශ්වවිද්යාලයක සරසවි සිසුවෙකු විසින් තවත් සිසුවෙකුට අසභ්‍ය වචනයෙන් බැන වැදීම , තර්ජනය කිරීම වැටෙන්නේ අපරාද හෙවත් ක්‍රිමිනල් වර්ගයේ වරදකටය. සංවර්ධිත අධ්‍යාපන සංස්කෘතියක් ඇති පිටරට විශ්ව විද්‍යාලයකට අඩියක් තබා ඇති ඕනෑම ලාංකිකයෙක් එය දනියි. එවැනි ක්‍රියාවක් කල තැනත්තාට එරෙහිව පොලිසියට හෝ අධිකරණයට යාමට පහසුකම් තිබේ. සරසවි බලධාරීන්ද මෙවැනි වර්ගයේ සුළු අපරාදයක් වුවද යට නොගසා නිතිය ක්‍රියාත්මක කරති. නමුත් තවමත් එවැනි අන්දමේ උච්ඡ අධ්‍යාපනික සහ සංස්කෘතික මට්ටමක් නැති ශ්‍රී ලංකික විශ්ව විද්‍යාල වල කුනුහර්පයෙන් බැනීම, අසභ්‍ය වචන කීම, තර්ජනය කිරීම සාමාන්‍ය සිදුවීම්ය. ජේෂ්ඨයෙකු විසින් තමන්ට ශාරීරික හිංසනයක් , ලිංගික අපරාදයක් නොකොට කුනුහර්පයෙන් බැනීම ශ්‍රී ලංකික විශ්ව විශ්ව විද්‍යාලයට ඇතුළුවන නවකයා සලකන්නේ වාසනාවක් හැටියටය. නවක වදයෙන් ලත් බේරීමක් ලෙසටය. මෙවැනි පුළුල්ව පැතිරී ගිය වාචික හිංසනයක් ඇති ග්‍රී ලංකික විශ්ව විද්‍යාල ජගත් විශ්ව විද්‍යාල මට්ටමෙන් කොතරම් පහත් ද සහ කොපමණ තිරිසන් මට්ටමක තිබෙන්නේද යන්න අවබෝධ කර ගත හැක්කේ සංවර්ධිත රටක විශ්ව විද්‍යාලයකට අඩිය තැබූ ලාංකිකයෙකුට පමණි. එවැනි අත්දැකීමක් නොලද , බාහිර ලෝකය ගැන අවබෝධයක් නොමැති ලංකික සරසවි සිසුවා තමා අධ්‍යාපනය ලබන්නේ මඩ ගොහොරුවක බව නොදැනීම කෙතරම් අභාග්‍ය සම්පන්නද ?

    කොළඹ විශ්වවිද්‍යාලයේදී නවකයන්ට සිදු කල ලිංගික හිංසන ගැන අනෝමා ජනාදරී කියයි.

    පුනරුක්ති නම් තම ස්වයං චරිතාපදානයේ කොළඹ විශ්වවිද්‍යාලයේදී නවක සිසුවියන්ට මුහුණ දීමට සිදු වූ ලිංගික හිංසන පිළිබඳව අනෝමා ජනාදරී හෙලිකරන්නීය. මෙම ලිංගික හිංසන අතර සිසුවියන්ට අසභ්‍ය වචනයෙන් ආමන්ත්‍රණය කිරීම, කුණුහරප කීමට බල කිරීම , කුණුහර්ප පදවැල් ඇති ගීත ගැයීමට බල කිරීම මෙන්ම සිසුවියන්ට වතුර ගසා ඇඟට ඇලුණු ඔවුන්ගේ වස්ත්‍ර දෙස කාමුකව බැලීම සිදු කොට තිබේ. (මෙවැනි ලිංගික හිංසන තවමත් කොළඹ විශ්වවිද්‍යාලයේදී සිදුවේ) නවක වද අවසන් අදියරේදී පැවති ෆ්රෙෂස් නයිට් සාදයේදී එවකට කොළඹ විශ්වවිද්‍යාලයේ ජේෂ්ඨ සිසුවෙකු වූ කහවත්ත නොහොබිනා අන්දමට ලිංගික බලපෑම් කල අයුරු ගැනද අනෝමා ජනාදරී පවසයි. මෙම කහවත්ත නම් පුද්ගලයා අනෝමාගේ අත බලෙන් ගෙන ඔහුගේ රහසඟ උඩ තබාගැනීමට තැත් කොට තිබේ. 1980 දශකයේ කොළඹ විශ්වවිද්‍යාලයේ ඉගෙනුම ලැබූ සහ ඝාතනය කරන ලද දයා පතිරණ ගේ සමකාලිනයෙකු වූ කහවත්ත දැන් රජයේ දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවක උසස් නිලයක් දරයි. මෙවැනි පුද්ගලයෙකු අද ලංකාවේ විශ්ව විද්‍යාලයක සේවය කලේ නම් ඔහු නවක වදය නැවැත්වීමට ක්‍රියා කරයිද ? ශ්‍රී ලංකා විශ්ව විද්‍යාල වල කථිකාචාර්යවරු , අංශ ප්‍රධානින් ලෙස සේවය කරන බහුතරයක් කහවත්ත වැනි අතීත කියාකලප තිබූ පුද්ගලයන්ය. එම නිසා ඔවුන් නවක වදය නැවැත්වීමට පෙරට නොඑති.

  37. Dham Says:

    madagam,
    I don’t have to read your cut and paste to agree with you on ragging. I am not arguing on ragging. I fully agree that ragging should be punished with zero tolerance.
    There is political intent in this article – which is the on going mud slinging on the general adminstration of the country.
    Exaggerations, instult to existing uni staff, insult to young graduates by the writer is deplorable. That is all.
    If ragging is the issue , the writrer should have addressed that only- that has nothing to do with Uganda and looking down upon African countries – which is the white man’s way.

  38. madagama Says:

    Dham

    Uganda thing is not a mud slinging one, read the article carefully and the comment by NeelaMahaYoda

    Makerere University Uganda -according to the World Ranking number 1062

    University of Colombo Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 2690
    University of Moratuwa Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 2324
    University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 2615
    University of Ruhuna Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 2552
    Open University Sri Lanka -World Ranking number 4189

    all our universities are lower than the higher education institute in Uganda this is a fact there is no conspiracy , we have to improve our universities, change the defensive mentality in people like you and accept the defeat and work for progress. otherwise soon the western world would disregard our universities as worthless non productive 3ed world educational institutes.

  39. aloy Says:

    There are two issues here; one is the standard of education and ragging the other.
    I entered engineering stream to Colombo uni in early sixties. Those who entered hostels were ragged, I was not. When we moved to Peradeniya the following year and stayed in different halls, all were ragged. There was no JVP then, it was the formative years of the movement and bahu and others were coducting clandestine meetings. But I noticed it was the arts students who were spear heading the ragging. However it was not inhumane. On the third year we all moved to Akbar hall and there was no ragging there during our time in that hall. I think the ragging became what it is today after JVP took control of students unions. Therefore the solution is to remove them from the scene.
    I think the government is taking some positive steps in this direction. The orientation program initiated by the defence ministry is one. However there was no news whether it was successful or not.
    As for the standards, no one can say they are low. Both my daughter and son in law are (from Colombo uni) in the medical field in the UK and in any interview they face they are on top. So are most of the other Sri Lankan doctors. Our engineers and science graduates ( with good language skills) are preferred over others from the region.

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