Posted on September 13th, 2015

Cecil Atukorale

When we look around and brood over the situation in every corner of Sri Lanka, we do not find it difficult to conclude that in the restoration of Democracy, Good Governance and Rule of Law, educational reforms must occupy the very first place. Of the numerous problems of education, that of voter education is the most pressing one. Demagogy and deception by the ruling elements, over the years, have become a part and parcel of our political culture, much to the dismay of the civic conscious citizen. Typical politician’s behaviour is like that of a bull in a china shop. The manner in which the Cabinet of Ministers, National List MP’s and the Leader of the Opposition were appointed can, in no way, be reconciled with the accepted norms of parliamentary democracy. They are all bad precedents for the future. Steadily growing bureaucratization of our political system has led to the situation where the state changed from being the machinery serving the people into something positioned above. How was this possible?

The real driving force behind some of our major political parties is not the national interest, nor any idealistic consideration which are so frequently referred to, but something altogether different, a desire for profit, a totally selfish interest. Hence, duty free cars , enhanced pay packets , pensions, subsidised meals and overseas trips and the like, at the expense of the poor tax payer.

Political parties in this country, in fact, are instruments of power and privileges rather than that of public welfare. At the recent general election held they appeared on political platforms and addressed people as if there were living saints.

They promised many things like Good Governance, Transparency, Accountability and what not. Here the most ridiculous thing is not the qualities our politicians have, but those they claim to have .Today our voters are gullible and the shroud politicians are making undue gains out of this public ignorance of politics.

With the abolition of the teaching of Civics & Government in public schools in the early seventies by the then government, our school system ceased to produce politically enlightened citizens with civic consciousness. When that unwise measure was taken, not a single politician raised even a finger in parliament in protest. The democratic reversals that emerged from such failure of our political leaders to keep faith in the public had significant negative repercussions on our system of democratic government .Ability to read and write is not going to educate the citizen as to what he is to expect from any government. Unenlightened electorate is a blessing in disguise to political opportunists. Population in the masses men and women cannot be reformed by proxy. They must reform themselves. As such a citizen should always possess knowledge of the social sciences, of the functions of government in civics in general.

The remedy for this is to make our voters more informed of historical & current facts pertaining to politics. It is here that they need good reading materials to gather such knowledge. In this September we are celebrating the literary festival with book exhibitions and Seminars.

At the moment this country is badly in need of writers who can produce good political literature for the unenlightened   masses who have now fallen prey to false propaganda tactics of power & money crazy opportunist’s politicians

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