Posted on September 15th, 2010

Upali S /USA

Sri Lankan colleges of Higher education should be closed with immediate effect. This is the biggest curse of Sri Lanka.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ All the so called universities in Sri Lanka should be closed for at least five years and every student should be compulsorily drafted to the military for hard work; ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ jungle clearing, road labor, drain cleaning or even keeping our villages and cities clean. After all what skills do they have and let us start getting them involved with things that are not to complex. During the five year closure period the government of Sri Lanka should formulate rules and regulations to make the free university education system a paying one. Except for the 12 year basic education, no university, no technical college, no community college where higher is offered should be free.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Politically motivated and politically influenced student unions ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ (I believe that is the only kind of student unions in our universities) should be banned and every student must sign a document before joining a university that they agree that getting involved in politically connected ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ student unions duringƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  college education is ground for expulsion.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Sri Lanka will have a more productive, a better educated and a healthier bunch of men and women after passing out of colleges of higher education and they will be better prepared to serve the nation. After all the 18th amendment is our right for better governance and therefore should be used for that purpose.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The above was a comment I made in Adaderana for a news report about 2 faculties in WayambaƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  being closed due to student violence. Wayamba University. Some positive and some negative.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Nowhere in the world is education free except in Sri Lanka. 12 years of school education and then another 4 to 6 years of college education is where our children grow up and are released to the society to develop our nation, for that matter any nation.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ First the students should understand why they go to college, then who pays for it and then what the tax payers in the country expect of them. Most of the students are progressive and some do appreciate the people of the nation who work hard whose taxes are utilized to provide them with a free higher education.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The sad part of it is some of those who are in politicsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  see a gold mine in universites, with fresh young minds, progressive, full of new ideas who can be used as tools to do their dirty work. It is no different to Prabhakaran,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Polpot,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Sargeant Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor (both from Liberia, to name a few) or any other despotic terrorist leader giving guns to kids and training them to kill. There is no difference.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Wijeweera himself was a dropout and built an empire for himself by using mostly children to try to achieve his goals while he was enjoying a luxurious life almost the way Prabhakaran did. The JVPƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  has steadily lost their political base and the past support from mature Sri Lankans. They are using the students of Sri Lanka to the maximum. For the sake of our students JVP should be destroyed by cutting off these dumb kids from joining their destructive student unions (for that matter all political parties should be banned from our universities), that is not onlyƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  a curse to our society but also are on a path to destroy Sri Lanka’s future as a hard working, progressive nation.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ My being in the US is no accident. I went to Moratuwa Campus, then a technical college, and then on to some colleges in UK and in US. I came from a very poor family, but I worked hard and paid for my college education abroad and managed to educate every one of my family members too (I came from a family of eight and my father was a low paid government clerk).

I regularly visit Sri Lanka, I visit colleges and give lectures and I am saddened at the plight of our children, their lack of knowledge, living in a hole in the ground mentality and the possible future of Sri Lanka when some of these radicals end up as the countries’ political leaders. Finally I am 64 years old have been an engineer for the past 41 years, own my own company with more than 300 hard working men and women, all Americans and also give part time training to University students in the US. Every one of these students including those from Sri Lanka have to work.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Nothing in this world should be free you see. I do not allow politics and politicians in our work places and I certainly do not have dirty politicians messing up the workers unions either which I consider is the way of the jungle politics.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Working in kitchens, selling hamburgers, cleaning offices, hospitals or even parks, supermarkets, including the bathrooms are not considered low class. They consider it as a way of making a living and a way to pay for their college education. A large number of American students before they leave high school (which is our final year in school) sign up for military, air force, marines and the navy to gain a paid education. They go to college for the first year,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  go to boot camp for primary training and join the army for at least two years. When they finish a four year period (most times less) they end up getting up to about $90,000 (ninety thousand dollars) towards their education. College education is not free. At least $20,000 to $50,000ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  per year depending on whether one wants to go to a state university or to Harvard, Princeton or Stanford.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Those Sri Lankans who live in the west know what I am talking about. This is not an attempt to white wash America or to AmericanizeƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Sri Lanka.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Almost all these young menƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  end up as hard working men and women, who would give their lives for the country as well as getting an academic, social and responsible education. I am not subservient to the US way of life nor do I condone all their policies – local or overseas. But let us be fair, I am only referring to the so called college education mess in Sri Lanka. For a country to develop the children must be free and left alone to study. They in turn should be made to appreciate from their very young age, how much their parents and those who contribute in terms of tax rupees, sacrifice for them to get an education.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Are we forever going to beg from overseas to live and have very high overheads and burdens on those majority who work so that a minority (so called ruling and Colombo class) can have all the luxuries like it has happened during the past 62 years since independence. Let us start at grass root level and use the 18th amendment for some progressive work. Lee Kwan Yew did not achieve the present state of Singapore in a day.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ NOTE: By the way for those who do not know, during his rule of Singapore during every election, every ballot paper had a number. His secret service could trace the political affiliations of every voter in Singapore.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  So much for democracy and for free elections in Singapore.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Upali S /USA

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