18 February, 2020

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A Response To Professor Savitri Goonesekere’s Response

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Careless, Ungrammatical, Untruthful Writing

It is not worth arguing with Professor Savitri Goonesekere  who is rather careless in her writing, starting with my name, which is not R.S. Hoole. Perhaps she is mixing me up with my great-grand father Modliar R.A. Hoole.

She responds “I have checked my facts.” I say check again. She writes, “Dr. Hirimburegama who has applied for the Vice Chancellor’s post in the University of Colombo is a Lecturer Grade II of this university. I did not make the derogatory remarks that Prof. Hoole suggests I made in reference to Dr. Hirimburegama.”

Untrue! Her exact words in her first article are “It is alleged that both do not possess the academic qualifications required for promotion to the immediately higher grade of Senior Lecturer Grade I in the state university system.” My point is that if he was Senior Lecturer Gr. II in 2005, he had the required years of service for promotion to Senior Lecturer I. It is not possible therefore that he did not possess the academic qualifications for promotion.

Being a lawyer Prof. Goonesekere may argue turning her horrible grammar to her advantage. In saying “both do not possess” I think she really meant “neither possesses.” But now she can say “Yes, Hirimburegama possesses the qualifications but I only said that both do not possess!”

Tenured and Confirmed Posts

Prof. Goonesekere further wrote in a another derogatory remark about Dr. Hirimburegama and the other candidate, “The other two applicants are reported to be Senior Lecturers Grade II, the lowest post in the state university system regulated by the Universities Act 1978.” Lecturer Grade II is not the lowest regulated grade. The Universities Act, if Prof. Goonesekere ever read it while administering University of Colombo as VC, has a lot to say about Assistant Lecturers – now renamed Lecturers (Probationary). To overcome this faux pas, she now claims, “The university system may recognise a lower grade than Senior Lecturer Grade II. However, we are all aware that the lowest tenure track post in the system is Senior Lecturer Grade II. Why or how Dr. Hirimburegama continues in this post I do not know.”

Sri Lanka does not have the American tenure-track and tenure system she writes about, but a similar system with probationary and confirmed posts. In another difference, the Universities Act speaks of Assistant Lecturers eligible for confirmation as Permanent Assistant Lecturers. Tenure-track academics in America are those eligible for tenure and tenured persons are those who have been given tenure. If she meant to use American terms as a matter of style, then she should know that most Senior Lecturers would be seen as tenured and not tenure-track as she calls them; the tenure track Senior Lecturers then would be those who joined newly and have not served three years to be confirmed. While studying in America I do not know if she was aware of things around her. As a former VC if she knows her stuff, she should also know that Lecturer Grade B-04a is a confirmed post. She can call them tenured if she wants to; but not tenure track.

Doctorates and Advertisements

Professor Goonesekere also dismisses the importance of the doctoral degree which is widely recognized as the best training for research. We may expect that from someone who does not have a doctorate and it is not worth rubbing it in. She also makes much of the advertisement which really is an instrument for judging applicants. But the reality is that we appoint the best of the applicants. If we treated the advertisement as an absolute standard many of our VCs, past and present, could not have been appointed.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Writer, oh that’s great you’ve given the bum vintage a rocking for a life in dream land not Maryland.

  • 1
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    now we know why you can’t work with others.

  • 1
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    this man is a disgrace to academe and that explains his (temporary) acceptance by Our Potentate for a senior position at the Jaffna University. Perhaps the only worthwhile thing that that Potentate has ever done was not setting him up there.
    In passing, his attempts at criticising Savitri Gunesekera’s grammar, to put it mildly, pathetic.
    This is a monumental ego parading as an academic.

    • 0
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      Pathetic indeed.

  • 1
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    This is not the place to settle personal grudges.

  • 1
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    I totally agree. This guy is a embarasment to academia. I heard him at the Tamil studies conference in Toronto. Essentially what he presented was a polemic but not researched academia. Much of his writing too a totally parochial with a virulent anti HIndu stance. It is simply old fashioned missionary scholarship. Much of his writings goes way off the mark to fulfill some other agenda

  • 1
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    I think Hoole should be careful in nitpicking on other people’s language skills as he himself has exposed his limited knowledge of English in his writings. It is rather unbecoming of an academic who trumpets his credentials.

    And his obsession with degrees blinds him to the truth of what Prof. Goonesekere says: that in the legal field, there are scores of professors in top American and British universities who have strong first degrees without a PhD.

  • 1
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    It has been quite obvious here, that people who pick on writers, commenters, media, and attack them in a personal way for what they write, their opinion, or their criticisms, have nothing substantial to say, and making personal comments about their language skills in this case, is disgraceful.
    Prof. Goonesekere is a highly educated lady, and has every right to free speech, like others here.
    Too bad Prof. Hoole does not have the courage to take what she says like a man. Criticizing the content of what she said is one thing, but making personal remarks, is downright low.

  • 0
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    A friend of mine once submitted an education plan to Hoole at his (Hoole’s) request and Hoole used it as his own!!!!

    Hoole is more dangerous than the Friday Forum because Hoole says he is a moderate Tamil. Moderates are those who want Eelam via 13A.

    • 1
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      C. Wijewickreme:
      Who the hell let you out from under your particular rock? Even Hoole looks respectable next to the likes of you and your vicious, racist nonsense,

  • 1
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    I do not know this Hoole character but he come across as a dangerous and personally vindictive person. While Savitry G. herself is no saint, certainly she is a cut above persons like this. She should not reply further to this madman.

  • 1
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    Prof Hoole, are you not ashamed of yourself for what you are doing? Cannot you see the sense of what Prof Goonesekere has highlighted? It’s a sad day for Lanka, as we can all collectively kiss goodbye to meritocracy and start paying pooja at the altar of nepotism and autocracy.

    You are a disgrace to acedemia…. we all wait with bated breath for the announcement of your next post in Lanka’s higher education system. Cheeeee.

  • 1
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    Prof. Hoole has an excellent point about PhDs. Goonesekere wrote:

    Prof. Hoole who contributed to the formulation of the UGC’s scheme of recruitment for professors in the state university system cannot be unaware that a PhD degree receives a very few points in the total marks required and in evaluation for appointment to the post of professor. Many law professors in the world including in universities such as Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and Sri Lanka have been appointed to this post on the basis of an excellent first degree, their scholarship and academic and professional achievements.

    The above may be true for law candidates, whose final qualification is a JD. But for those outside the field of law who endeavor to do research in a university setting, a PhD is essential. The point of doing research is to publish in a professional journal, and this takes extensive training beyond the first two degrees. Even candidates applying for the post of so-called “assistant professor” are given points for past publications. For actual tenture, publications are essential.

    You can often judge the quality of a researcher by the number of publications. Those with few publications are at the bottom of their field and those with a large number tend to be at the “cutting-edge.” On this forum, there is a self-professed “intellectual” going by the name of Dayan Jayatilleke, who has published virtually nothing of significance and waxes eloquent about Marxist dribble. In the actual university settings, these kinds of clowns are paid a small sum of money to keep quiet and teach introductory classes to UG’s.

  • 2
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    Prof. Hoole

    It’s so sad to see your rapid moral decline. You again and again prove my contention that you manage to take any debate to the gutter level by your vindictiveness and petty-mindedness. Your quibbling over minutia shows your painful descent into irrelevance and utter lack of any principle in your stance other than gross self-aggrandizement. Did your mission teach you only English and how to “succeed” in life? Oh! the great English missionaries, why didn’t you also teach Prof. Hoole the ways of a gentleman? The news just out indicates that your clan of closely knit families controlling Anglican (CMS) and American (CSI) mission churches and schools in Jaffna are seriously reviewing your role as their chief point man as you are becoming a source of embarrassment to their good image.

  • 0
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    Rather fighting for petty thing both of you why do not you get together and clean Sri Lankan University system from fake bogus professors and improve quality by allowing good PhDs to come. Never ever give a professor position without PhD and minimum 15 publications in internatioanl indexed journals such as ISI/SCOPUS/INSPEC/COMPENDEX..etc. At bthe moment 98% Sri Lankn Professors are bogus and fake eating poor tax payers money as a salary.

  • 0
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    I totally agreed with Karu Silva’s comments. As a nation we have to clean our national Universities from bogus fake professors. UGC, VCs, Councils, Minister and even President must responsible for this diasater inside Universities. Now they can correct it by checking and sacking them for use of wrong titles and taking salary from poor tax payers money. Friday Forum members fight for this and clean to built quality University system in Sri Lanka. Recently I checked so called Moratuwa University web site and found that 67% of Deans do not have PhD degrees. Arch and It faculty check. Therefore do you think they allow any PhDs to join academic staff and promote any PhD to stay inside the University or to come after completion of PhD from aboard. Other universities case is worse to worse. Why as a nation you are silent. Media take this issue and expose bogus fake professors and build world calss University system in your country with PhDs and international publications based real professors. I checked Runuha University and Kalaniya University Economics Depts all the professors are bogus and fakes not PhDs or any single publication in ISI and Scopus level international journals.

  • 1
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    Prof Hoole, try to tackle the ball and not the person… Stay out of religion or cheap comments like grammar since this is a serious issue affecting future generation of SL.

    BTW, Globally Phd is not that important and after good first degree ( 1st or upper 2nd) persons applied research get more marks since they are linked to proper final out come.

    I do work with Stanford Uni and almost all the great achievers in that Uni, only had 1st degree.

    In SL what we need is proper academics with great commercial expertise to take our kids to the future. I am already formulating this plan with the President.

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
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  • 1
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    its strange that R Hoole is obsessed about qualifications etc when he he self who is an engineer tries to write articles on Sri lankan Tamil sociology. Surely an engineering qualification doesnt give him much credentials to write about about sociology. No wonder his sociological pieces are utter rubbish.
    Given half a chance much of his articles goes out of the way to score points for the Jaffna CMS Jaffna he belongs to…

  • 0
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    I also educated in Stanford University. But as one comment says I never saw any professor there without PhD from world ranking Universities and at least over 100 publications in very high end indexed journals…etc. Therefore do not mis-lead my old University to prove Ms.Savithree’s fake professorship her personnel ;roblems with UGC chair woman. I do not want to say professor to the person who do not have a phd from good University. Sorry baby you are not a professor with real flesh and blood.

    • 2
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      Stanford my foot! Where is it located? Beliatta?

  • 1
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    This whole debate began with Prof. S. Goonesekere’s claim that Dr. Kumara Hirimburegama’s application runs in conflict with his spouse Dr. Kshanika Hirimburegama’s role chairing the UGC.

    However the discussions on this site and in the Island in Colombo have provoked several allegations that Prof. Goonsekere herself as VC channeled Colombo University money to her husband by hiring him for legal services to the university.

    If true it is a serious matter and makes her objections to Dr. K. Hirimburegama’s application simple grandstanding. I would respectfully ask Professor Goonesekere to either confirm or deny these widespread stories in her own interest.

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
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  • 0
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    Very sad to see two educated and intelligent people having a public spat over a VC appointment that is destined to be a political appointment made by the present Rajapaksa regime.

    Division among the opponents of the regime is what helps the regime to stay in power. Prof Hoole may be taking a principled view of acceptable norms in such appointments but he very well knows that under the Rajapaksa regime all that has been thrown out of the window.

    Unity of all opponents of the regime is the need of the hour. Please put aside your petty differences and unite for the sake of the country to get rid of the Rajapaksas.

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