21 October, 2017

Academic Autonomy: Free The State Universities

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof.  S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

University Autonomy

In recent times as the horrible goings on at our universities receive increasing exposure, the authorities cite academic autonomy to explain why they should not intervene. University autonomy is a good thing. But we do not understand it. According to the European University Association, academic autonomy refers to a university’s capacity to manage its internal academic affairs:

1)  Organizational autonomy : This requires setting the selection procedure and criteria in hiring the executive head, the power to dismiss such head, choose the term of office of the head, appoint external members of the governing body, determine academic structures and create legal entities.

2) Financial autonomy: This refers to a university’s ability to manage its funds and allocate its budget and thereby realize its strategic aims.  This includes the ability to borrow money, retain surpluses, own buildings, and set tuition fees

3) Staffing autonomy: This covers the ability to hire the most qualified academic and administrative staff without external prescriptions or interference. It includes free agency in recruitment procedures for senior academic and administrative staff, setting salaries, and determining dismissal and promotion criteria.

4)  Academic autonomy: It covers a) Setting student numbers and admission criteria b) Introduction and termination of degree programmes; c) Deciding the medium of instruction; d) Selection of quality assurance measures and deciding who provides them and e) Designing the programme content.

Sri Lankan Controls

Our universities are heavily regulated by the Universities Act. The President chooses VCs and terminates them. The term of office is prescribed. There is no financial autonomy. Salaries and admissions are UGC decisions . There is no free-for-all between universities for the best students and staff through better courses and salaries. Promotions criteria and academic programs are approved by the UGC. Worse, the IESL which accredits engineering programmes, runs its own programme.

This is why the Act also provides for intervention by the Minister. He must exercise that power.

Academics as Cheats

The framers of the universities Act just did not trust academics. They understood that we are cheats par excellence – in the West too, but they will be punished if caught, unlike here. Even after Jaffna’s Council member, Dr. D. Nesiah, formerly of the CCS, pointed out how journal pages were being bought to get professorships and trivial papers were being claimed as ISI-indexed papers, the promotions sailed through. In a system where the VC with a general degree claimed a special degree in biochemistry in her VC application and such lies in applications  pervade all universities (Peradeniya, Moratuwa and Colombo included), we cannot afford an inquiry. It would open up a Pandora’s box requiring most professors to be dismissed for fraud.

Indeed, Prof. Arasaratnam who forced academics to sign a statement supporting then President Rajapaksa for Jan. 8 and has claimed on the Ministry of Defence website that she lost both parents due to LTTE-terrorism (whereas both died of natural causes and she lost her father long before he died), survives in the name of autonomy.

When I asked a senior figure in the Executive Council (January – August 2015) how come all these horrid people are allowed to survive after we worked so hard to be rid of them, he replied, “We are worried only about the communalists who are dangerous and whom we cannot work with. But the corrupt? Not to worry! They will switch loyalties and work for us.”

Professor Mahalingam’s Stand

Arasaratnam: Autonomy as Licence for Lawlessness

Arasaratnam: Autonomy as Licence for Lawlessness

Our scene is best explained by what the late Prof. S. Mahalingam told me, saying that any carefully designed scheme of recognition will be abused in Sri Lanka. When he was awarded the D.Sc. (Eng.) London degree, he was just a little junior to Dr. Chandran Chinnappah who held the chair in mechanical engineering. Under the older chair-per-department system, he would have had to wait several years to be professor and then retire after a short time. So a national committee of (I think he said 9) academics was put together to see how he could be recognized. They came up with the merit professorship to reward exceptional performance like in his case. He was accordingly made Professor. The next year or so saw all 9 members of his committee being made Professor because of their so called exceptional performance! Today, every other joker is a professor. At the time, he also recounted how he was offered the Vidya Jothi, he declined the offer, they went ahead and gave it to him anyway bit he did not attend the ceremony, and he was getting multiple calls from the Presidential Secretariat to collect the award.  He felt every award was subject to influence in Sri Lanka and he therefore wanted no recognition from the system because he had his solid D.Sc.

EUSL – Contempt for the Supreme Court Despite January 8

Dr. Kiddnan Kobindarajah: Walked a Tightrope wanting Tamils to work with Rajapaksa and the TNA

Dr. Kiddnan Kobindarajah: Walked a Tightrope wanting Tamils to work with Rajapaksa and the TNA

Thus VCs come in with influence and receive patronage protection. In an ongoing case, Dr. Kiddnan Kobindarajah, politically appointed by Rajapaksa as VC of EUSL, applied for VC again. The process was heavily manipulated by the Competent Authority, Prof. Uma Coomaraswamy, who was sent to clean up the mess Dr. Kobi allegedly created. (Dr. Kobi himself claims he cleaned up the mess from LTTE interventions and a person whose class was raised on LTTE orders has been appointed by Coomaraswamy and other appointments made against USAB rulings).

Coomaraswamy unlawfully kept Dr. Kobi off the ballot, he challenged it before the Supreme Court which ordered Coomaraswamy to include him and observe Circular 880 which she had ignored. She tried to suppress the CVs of the applicants and wanted the members to vote on a distorted evaluation committee score sheet which showed her candidate positively. This happened before Christmas. So the court decision has not been communicated formally to EUSL although the Attorney General who represented EUSL was present.

When the people have rejected lawlessness on Jan. 8, upholding the law is paramount. Yet, EUSL’s Coomaraswamy has rushed the three manipulated names to the UGC despite the AG, her attorney, being aware and Dr. Kobi’s lawyers communicating the Supreme Court decision to her. Her hope, I presume, is that the President will appoint her former botany colleague before the Court vacation ends and hears the contempt of court plaint freshly filed by Dr. Kobi. In a decent society, the law has to be upheld. Whether we like Dr. Kobi or not, he is entitled to the protections of the law which we all voted for in Jan. 2015, culminating in the ejection of Mr. Mohan Pieris as Chief Justice. Are justice and the rule of law not what our celebrations on 8th January are about?

Autonomy Our Style

ma Coomaraswamy: Messing up EUSL which she was sent to Cleanup

ma Coomaraswamy: Messing up EUSL which she was sent to Cleanup

Autonomy does not exist here. The system cites autonomy to save bad VCs and CAs but intervenes as when the Open University was ordered to roll back tuition fee increases, and the UGC unilaterally imposed new Faculties of Technology. Autonomy is a tool invoked to shield administrators and ignored when intervening to advance political goals.

State Versus Private Universities

In the West, new Presidents/VCs have to prove themselves to stay on and leave behind a good heritage to remember them by. Here the idea for many VCs is to reward themselves and cronies and defraud the university to the maximum before their three years are up. For example, a Peradeniya VC had his provident fund docked for Rs. 516,800 for illegal payments based on the Auditor General’s report, and according to Lakbima made payments to a non-existing Arco Pte., Ltd. He continues to receive state patronage.

The ongoing debate on state versus private universities therefore is really silly. Some of the best top ten US universities are state-run (California at Berkeley, Michigan, Illinois at Urbana Champaign). Here the government imposes horrible persons as VCs/CAs and props them up to defend their bad decisions, forcibly locates faculties where they cannot succeed to buy votes, and forces excellent students nearby to these faculties without a future.

After ensuring by our own acts that state universities fail, can we argue that they are bad?

This is the time to revisit the Universities Act and make state universities truly free, facing competition from private universities. Let us make the revolution of January 8th real. Instead of admission, top students should be given a fee-voucher to use at any university they choose, whether private or state. The bad universities will fail (and not be worth saving). To survive, state universities will be forced to abandon patronage and perform.

Then we can properly judge which model, private or state, is better.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    a person became a vice chancellor of the oldest university in SL. he/she became chairman of the UGC all because of political influence and patronage. the most interesting point is that this VC was a an undergraduate when the writer of this note was a lecturer in the same university.this candidate did not get adequate votes from the council but was appointed by the authorities as VC. subsequently the appointing authority was conferred hon. doctorate all initiated by the loyal VC..another academic who very vociferously writes about good governance now was the person who proposed it. i am not sure whether the appointing authority was happy about this doctorate which is another matter.
    -dayal

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    Professor Boyle , the Diaspora Mentor & Advisor says, genocide still continues on Yahpalana Sirisena’s watch..

    Professor B must have mistaken Embilapitiya for Ambilapitiyam..

    This Professor is on about autonomous Universities.

    Our Dalits can’t go even to school let alone Universities, because they don’t have shoes.

    80 kids walk bare feet to Jaffna Mahavidyalayam according to another Dr Rajasingham.

    Be patient Professor.

    When North goes Federal ,you can do what you want.

    Vellala party TNA leader is now calling the Genocide Champion , the ex President a Leader of National stature, because Sambnadan wants him to agree to Batalanada’s Federal Constitution.

    But every time the ex President called Sambandan after Nanthikadal for talks, the latter gave him the two finger salute.

  • 5
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    I agree with Prof.Hoole’s overall thrust. We should have a mix of national, provincial and private universities, technical colleges/polytechnics and community colleges, competing among themselves on the basis of quality and relevance for faculty, students, funds and administrators. We should also bring in the best faculty, regardless of their nationality, at least for a decade to reorient higher education to what it should be. The only role of the government, in addition to funding and monitoring financial prudence, should be monitoring and ensuring high standards. If any of the present faculty or administrators do not measure upto the standards required, they should be fired with appropriate compensation. The University Grants Commision should be renamed the Higher Education Standards Commission and its functions defined accordingly.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 2
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      The Ministry of Higher Education should also be abolished.

      Dr.RN

  • 1
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    ” Organizational autonomy : This requires setting the selection procedure and criteria in hiring the executive head,”

    This comes from someone who wanted to get the VC position by lobbying through Douglas Devananda!

    • 1
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      Rohan, Jaffna university stable? Look at JUSTA’s reports on recruitment. Look at how people are made professors. When an American historian visited Jaffna, staff members were scared to meet him. Even Prof. Hoole’s friends have told him not to come to their offices because it is immediately reported to the VC. The staff can either cooperate with the VC and be rewarded or disagree with her wrongdoings and be punished. She freely promises promotions and headships to get people to do what she asks, She has the whole university obedient to her. The only good things are the new buildings and well kept gardens. Mind you, all universities in the Soviet Union were very stable under Stalin but that did not make them great.

      You say Prof. Hoole has written on religious lines. He has exposed caste discrimination in Jaffna, and religious discrimination through school textbooks claiming his ancestor Thamotharampillai who was born a Christian, was really a Hindu pretending to be a Christian for benefits. Is that not the worst form of minority oppression to teach Christian children this kind of history. He has exposed unsupportable communalist claims that Navalar translated the Bible. He has exposed how our schools, even our Christian schools, cook up history to claim old start dates. He has stated that just as the Sinhalese cook up their Mahavamsa history, we Tamils also have our own factories putting out false history. That may not be acceptable to you because it is your way of suppressing dissent and controlling your hegemony, but I am grateful that he is doing what our academics in any decent society should be doing.

  • 1
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    If Jaffna VC claimed a special degree when she only had a general degree, this would have been exposed when she forwarded copies of her certificates with the application, and later when she produced originals at the interview.
    How did she compel professors to sign a statement supporting President Rajapakse, and lie about her parents’ deaths too.

    Will Dr. Hoole explain.

    • 0
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      The people who were on the selection committee for VCs at that time knew it very well and embellished her VC application because they wanted to make her VC. Two of the three in the committee were medical doctors who held their jobs because of her. The other candidates were under marked. Even now if there is a transparency policy, these pre-selection committee’s ratings sent to the faculty should be called for. This is how Jaffna uni works lately. I would hate to work there as many of my colleagues also tell me.They even swear she entered home science etc..

      The whole council election was politically manipulated by Douglas Devananda. Council members were called personally and told not to vote for a particular candidate. referring to pits being dug for those who do.

      These people who were sometimes vociferous supporters of the LTTE then switched to DD (the very person they then called him the D in disguise) have made it the sickest place on earth for their private gains.

      • 0
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        Concerned,
        How was she so powerful even before appointment as VC such that “………….two of the three who were medical doctors held their jobs because of her”?
        Please explain.

  • 0
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    This guy Hoole is t[Edited out]

  • 1
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    UGC should first be free from politics and experienced person should be appointed as Chairman. When I visited Eastern University for Quality Assurance program in 2014, some medical academics complained that an unqualified person has been recruited as a Lecturer in Medical education with the influence of LTTE whose 2nd class lower was raised to 2nd upper by LTTE after one year of releasing results. They also told me that he wanted to get his promotion using one year M.Ed program in Arts with the help of extensively biased evaluation by his supervisor P T Jeyawickramarajah but then Council had appointed Professor Susirith Mendis to study the case. According to my knowledge, Prof Mendis had submitted a report stating that his recruitment itself wrong and he cannot be promoted using his 1 year degree in Arts and USAB also had endorsed it. It looks like Uma Coomarasmy must have promoted that chap as senior lecturer to ensure her survival at EUSL since he is a henchman of her former botany colleague.
    In EUSL concerned, all recruitments and promotions (during LTTE Era) need to be reviewed by an independent commission in order to ensure the quality of the degree programs offered by EUSL.

  • 0
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    It seems clean up should be started from UGC.

    A governing body made of volunteers from Sri Lankan born academics and management executives who worked in ranked Universities and industries outside of Sri Lanka should guide the slackers at UGC.

    It seems Sri Lankan State Universities are set to fail in order to get rid of free education and to introduce private Universities.

    How do we define a private University? Not for profit private University or for profit private University?

    How can parents of gifted kids even from a middle class family in Sri lanka afford to pay ridiculously high tuition fees to private universities? Can those kids get full scholarships to complete their undergraduate education? Can at least 1/3 of admission to private universities be allocated for kids from financially disadvantage families?

    How do we improve the efficiency of Sri Lankan State University professors? The secret is to put their posterior part of the body on fire by introducing performance base salaries, eliminating permanent job security and renew their contracts in every 5 years.

  • 4
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    This Dr Hoole is the one who wanted to become Jaffna VC and selfishly brought his whole family to serve his only ambition. He went behind MR and made a statement supporting MR when MR faced humiliation in the UK. He went behind EPDP to support him for the VC post. If Hoole has seen Kopi’s CV he will not be supporting him ( no he will still support him because that is the line which will help his selfish motives)I am not trying to defend the indefensible like Jaffna VC, but Hoole is not a straight man.

    Hoole thinks he is the only suitable person for the VC post. In his America every Tom, Dick and Harry is a professor or ass. prof. Hoole is obsessed with his idea to become a VC in Sri Lanka.

    • 2
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      On 12th November 2012 Dr. Hoole appeared before the LLRC in its first sitting at Jaffna District Secretariat. He was the first person to talk as he was recommended by Mahinda Government. The Chairman of the LLRC late C.R. de Silva told this publicly. But to the surprise of those who attended the sitting> Dr. Hoole spoke only about his personal and family matterssuch as VC election etc. Also he spoke about one Tamil politician “Kuthirai Jajendrakumar and EPDP! He is such a great Tamil intellectual!!

      • 0
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        [Edited out]

    • 2
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      People like Rohan seem to get their news about Prof. Hoole more from the comments in your CT comments and wicked propaganda by political groups opposed to him than by actually knowing him.These comments are by Rengan Devarajan who is propped up by Douglas to cover his tracks, and others who gained from the LTTE and sent many young lives to their graves. It is sad that present day students are told such lies about anybody at all. Obviously Rohan was not at PEra Eng. From his comments we can also see that he is not an academic for he does not understand academic mores.

      As someone who worked in the CompSci Dept at Pera we the then staff were very close to PRof. Prof. Hoole came back to Sri Lanka in the nineties as soon as Mrs. Hoole finished her Ph. D.for he did not want his 3 daughters to become westernized and he wanted to teach at Jaffna. All his brothers and sister returned and taught at Pera or Jaffna. He was already a Prof. in USA. Prof. Hoole taught at Pera for many years before he applied for Jaffna’s VC position. So did Prof. Thurairajah. His dream was to help with Engineering there as he had helped start Galle/Eng. He was then head of the CompSci/Computer Engineering Dept which became the most applied to dept there. We worked till late willingly to help the students do their programming. He had been applying from the eighties to be a Prof. at Jaffna uni even before he applied to PEradeniya. JAffna uni then under LTTE influence kept him out because of Prof. Rajan Hoole’s human rights writings and published the worst slanders about him in local and their foreign news media as is the NAzi tactics of such groups- To publish false propaganda about a person/group before they killed him and his family. Minister Douglas did likewise sacrificing the unioversity for their own career advancement.
      To slander a decent man who still writes us all recommendations and helps students to get into Ph. D programs to this day is wrong.

      In an academic institution all views must be heard and debated. That is the academic norm. Hitler, Sadam even MR or the devil himself should be heard and their position agreed upon or soundly denounced as an academic exercise. Prof. answered the way any true and bold academic would and we are proud of it. His ethics for engineers class is the best. He got the Indian Award for his latest paper on Ethics this year.

      People like Rohan spew hatred because of their immature analysis of information using biased info and create prejudices and hatred of people who deserve credit and our gratitude.

      But then these articles are deliberately written by haters. Sadly they are in power.

      • 2
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        I have no doubt about the academic credentials of Dr Hoole or about his good Human nature. Though we are free to choose we do not choose freely. Our choices depend on our circumstances. But due to human adoptability we find our home where we live. We find contentment in our situation. Most of us who ‘chose’ to live in Jaffan during the height of the problem were not unhappy but we had to be there for various reasons-not by choice.

        When some body goes on and on about some thing very personal beyond a certain point it becomes intolerable. I have some views and questions:
        1 VC post is not decided on academic credentials ( obviously the best academic is not the best administrator) it is decided by the voting in University Council. Has Dr Hoole ever got highest votes in VC elections? if not is he wants to be a political appointee? (there is a problem with the system that is different)
        2 to my understanding financing of Universitites in foreign countries depends on performance, which in turn ensues most suitable person to be chosen for VC post. Its different in Sri Lanka. Big or small government funds them all.
        3Why does Dr Hoole always talk against north and eastern university, are the other universities functioning well?
        4 Why did he go to LLRC and talk about VC appointment?
        5 Please compare Prof Sivasegarams analysis and Dr.Hooles article, which one is an intellectual analysis?
        6Ramifications of Dr Hooles arguments beyond a certain extent will be taken as a reflection of bankruptcy of ideology in his community. The way he is going on and on is wrong.
        7 There had been VCs and VCs most of them are glorified by the position they held. Surely Dr Hooles stature is very much beyond needing VC post to prop him up.
        8 Dr Hoole made a statement in support of MR during VC election period this cannot be understood other than as an act to be in good books of MR (obviously to favor him in VC selection).

    • 2
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      A lot of hate-mongering propaganda by Prof’s personal rivals is being repeated here.

      “Selfishly brought his whole family to serve his only ambition”: I have met Prof’s children. They are all accomplished, speak their mother tongue and can get on with the high and the low. I think all of them have returned to work with refugees for substantial periods. I do not think his family would agree that the move was bad for them. They are better persons for that move. I wish I too will be able to go back for the sake of my children.

      “He went behind MR and made a statement supporting MR when MR faced humiliation in the UK”: No. I recall his writing that it is better to use the opportunity to question MR critically at Oxford than to prevent his appearance and go against a university’s values of open and free discussion. I was proud at the time about his stand.

      I did not read one word of support from Prof for the former EUSL VC in this article. Prof only supported his rights which all of us must. Using the court vacation to go against a court order is very serious especially in a democracy. The Minister must act to ensure this does not happen again.

      My VC Kapila Gunasekara at Pera everyone at the university knows was named by the Auditor General for paying money to a nonexistent company. It was a criminal offence. The Council took no action. But President Sirisena made him Chairman of SLFI. This encourages people to break the law freely.The Minister must set a better example. If the Minister acts against this lawlessness it would speak well of him. Even a formal charge and inquiry against Dr. Kobindarajah is better than conviction by rumor and allegations by his rivals.

      Prof. Hoole is certainly more qualified than most of us to be VC – except that his age now precludes him from trying again. That is a loss for Sri Lanka, not for him. Tamils seem to hate the best of their own. This article was about university autonomy but some of the comments try to reduce it to a personal vendetta against Prof. I do not understand and feel sad. I will always be his grateful student for the opportunity to learn not just engineering but many other higher things under him.

      Prof, I hope you read this. Standing up for you is the little I can do to show my gratitude.

  • 4
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    Interesting article. I do not have much knowledge about how a university system works or its internal procedures. However, one should expect a university being one of the pillars of the educational system working towards better future for the country, a university should keep away from politicians. I do not think any developed or Western world country has Politicians’ involvement in higher education as much we have in SL.

    From my own experience one of the rejects from the UK and the worst character who one can ever come across is Solicitor RENGAN DEVARAJAN who was appointed to the Jaffna Council by the EPDP through the UGC. Thankfully he is gone now, replaced by the new government. If such characters are in the selection process then it will be very hard to restore any credibility to the system.

    Going forward, private university needs to do thing right or it will collapse. It will never be recruiting failures and refusing to recruit the accomplished like our state universities.

    Tarrin Constantine

  • 3
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    I was disappointed when Jeevan Hoole was not given the VC position. After hearing about the games he played to get there, and his writing on religious lines, I was so relieved that the right decision was made to overlook him.

    I was skeptical about the appointment of Vasanthy Arasaratnam. She was controlled by Douglas to a certain extent. Yes, she was trying to get signatures from the academics as well to express support to Mahintha (but, how can one refuse?). But, the university was more stable during her time compared to the Balasuntharampillai and Shanmugalingam. I am in occasional touch with some of her critics of early days, and they concede now that hardly anyone else would have achieved what Vasanthy Arasaratnam managed.

    This kind of issues are not limited to the universities in the Tamil areas. Look at the universities in the south, particularly in terms of academic leadership. Douglas, Karuna and the cronies will not have any say now. I hope, any potential political influence in the future would be minimal in university matters.

  • 2
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    Universities in North and East need a considerable amount of cleaning up due the mess made by armed groups and supporters. UGC made a mistake in appointing Uma Coomarasamy as CA to Eastern University specially when TNA has power role in the present government. Uma Coomarasamy is the twin sister of first female Tamil Eelam fighter Urmiladevi (Urmila) who coordinated Avro Aero Plane bombing by Tamil Militants in 80s in Colombo (later she was gang-raped by some militant groups for her illegal affairs with male militants) and therefore it is obvious that she will work with interested parties to implement TNA agenda to make EUSL as a regional university to fulfill Tamil’s aspirations. UGC should have appointed an experienced and rough professor from another university to clean up the mess. In 2011 Professor NR Arthenayake of Open University was appointed as CA for EUSL and had cleaned up huge portion of mess at EUSL. Still not too late for UGC to clean the mess.

  • 1
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    Sir, you say: “…top students should be given a fee-voucher to use at any university they choose, whether private or state”

    This will effectively make the state the payer of tuition fees. Since the state pockets are deep the natural resistance to price increase (that is naturally present amongst private consumers) is eliminated.

    The final effect is that your proposal will cause tuition fees to rise to unaffordable levels.

  • 0
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    I reliably understand that during the LTTE era,EUSL appointments and promotions were influenced by them.Karuna was the De-Facto Head.
    After the split in the LTTE and Karuna joined MaRa he held sway again.The murder of Prof:Rabindranath and the subsequent appointment of Kobindarajah is all tied up with the influence Karuna yielded.In fact the latter was a beneficiary of Karuna!
    EUSL Staff and Students are aware of the corrupt activities of Kobindarajah.

    Its a tough job for Prof:Coomaraswamy-The Competent Authority appointed by Govt:to rid the place of the influence of Hoodlums and reestablish normalcy.
    But with her experience she could deliver.

  • 3
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    We know Ratnajeevan hoole is a well renowned person in the country. I don’t know how he has been trapped in the eastern university local politics. Dr Hoole was nominated to the VC post by Dr J T Xavier who is the culprit to the private medical school North Lanka hospital issue those days. Dr Xavier and team purposely nominated to bring Hoole into the seen for their own purpose. They worked through Batticaloa Bishop S Ponniah. Are they academic? Is that academic autonomy? Then how can he talk about the academic autonomy?
    Actually Dr Hoole did not appear for the interview. I don’t know what he expected to do in the one year period as VC. He lost in the VC race by the election in his last academic year as he is 64 years old. He was defeated by two Botanist and an agriculturist.

    Normally losing candidate always not accepted there failure and try to blame others. [Edited out]

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      [Edited out]

  • 1
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    Eastern University people clearly know Dr Kobi had several issues including police cases related to sexual offenses and had inquires especially by the Presidential commission. This article seems to justify Dr Kobi, friend of Dr Hoole where we have to think the status of Dr Hoole.

  • 7
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    It is indeed a very good piece of writing, salutations to Hoole!

    Universities are the machines which produce the intellectual products which are meant to work with people, problems and societies. Your constant and tireless voice and attempts are amazingly taken up and welcomed! Your writings are helping those who run the system, work for the system but have been oppressed and also those who are target of the system who are also oppressed and thus became passive recipients!

    We can’t keep running the system with full of malpractices and corruption though we know that we can’t fully eliminate it. Paulo Firrere’s pedagogy of the oppressed well clearly explains how the system of education and those who receive lessons/benefits are manipulatively suppressed, and thus became passive recipients!

    Rectifying measures have to be taken/set up time to time. If the systems fail to do that, it should come from outside, like you do. You are doing it right now, but I’m a bit worried who will continue this in the future. But I’m sure that many things will take shape sooner or later by your efforts! And the credits then go to you!

    But sometimes it is difficult to uproot the mistakes/corruption since it leaves very narrow mark of evidence (white-color crimes no?). As I still think intelligentsia is the most dangerous group in the world, I also wonder whether education will impart inherent dishonesty at least to some. I know a Snr Professor who recruited a student who belongs to his caste and then he sent him to India for an Institute (not a university-can the PhDs from Institutes are accepted another question) where he has a friend and then Snr Prof wrote a thesis for this student who cannot even do basic communication in English. He wrote articles in English for him to the International Journals and were published! Now he already prepared to apply for the Professorship, only waiting for the years of service as a barrier! How can this intellectual (inherent?) dishonesty be rectified in the university system? We all should think hard. Perhaps while recruiting, instead of a pre-prepared presentation, it should be changed as on the spot presentation and give a common topic related with the discipline and leave half an hour and asked to do the presentation?

    The university system should also have a way to fire up those who were recruited on favour and not qualified. I don’t think that the present system allows for this? I know recently a lecturer who specialized in History was recruited for the Dept of Education! This happened in Jaffna! He may have a diploma in Education, is that enough that he can be allowed to work with pedagogy and education of teacher who mold the future generation? I don’t know!

    Do the universities have a “Verification Committees” which sole duty is to clarify the publications claimed in the annual reports by the academic staff? How can an academic publish four five articles in a year in the international journals? If we don’t have it, it is time to set up “Verification Committees” at the UGC level incorporating different Snr Profs from the same faculty but from different universities.

    Again, Salutations for Hoole for your constant and tireless work towards cleaning up the universities! We are with you.

  • 2
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    I would like to comment on “EUSL – Contempt for the Supreme Court despite January 8”

    Comments:

    (1) The author proved in his article that Dr.Kobi had some allegations during his tenure. Two queries were held at the university by the adviser under the instruction of former Minister of Higher Education SP and finally by the Presidential commission. On the basis of the investigations, Prof Uma Coomaraswamy was appointed as the Competent Authority (CA). After the appointment of Prof Uma Coomaraswamy, the system was restored in a correct way by rectifying many administrative failures, financial irregularities and personal revenges against the staff (Former VC did all this unethical activities with the support of certain Deans and Heads who were benefited from him). She is a good administrator with experience of academic caliber.

    If Hoole wants the documentary evidence, the Teachers Union of the Eastern University (TAEU) will give two editions of compilation about the failures of former VC who supported by THE Hoole in this article. YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE WRITING THIS ARTICLE…!!

    (2) The Supreme Court instructed the university to precede the VC selection in 2015, on the basis of the legal procedures. The Council did proceed according to that.The decision of the Court also communicated to the members of the council by the CA before conducting the election/selection, where the article misguides the readers.

    (3).On what basis or on what ground the author did impose the blame on CA? This time only, under the leadership of Prof Uma Coomaraswamy, the VC selection process was held in a legal way (Good governance..!) by appointing a search committee, screening committee, performance (presentation) by the candidates (This Hoole is one of the candidates for the VC of EUSL in 2015 who did not appear for the presentation, even though the university invited him..!).On that basis of all performances, the election was held to select the best three candidates by the Council-It is a transparent process..!!.

    (4).The article shows the immaturity, unethical and unlawfulness. Even though the procedures carried out in transparent and the election also legally happened. How it is possible to mention that the names are “manipulated by the CA” (WHAT EVIDENCES HOOLE YOU HAVE??). Whether the members of the council is uneducated or did not know anything about the university system..?; half of the composition is from the academics from the university. If CA manipulated the name, as per indicated in this article, Why the members of the council did not object CA? Hoole you shoud know the ground situation of the university…Please do not imagine from outside the circle.

    (5).The author wrote a nice article, but the entire article is spoiled by the statement, “CA wants to appoint her former botany colleague”….(R U JOKING..??) Out of the three candidates selected, first two are from Botany and the other from Agriculture…so what? As per the priority basis the candidates were chosen.

    ADDITIONAL:

    Mr. GOOD GOVERNOR (the comments above- You have the guts to write your own name when writing comments…!!) we know who you are. You wrote an entire false statement about the recruitment of a staff from Medical faculty. We know who the people gave this false information to you.The recruitment was done with the panel of experts at the University of Peradeniya…There are no interference by the LTTE (For how long you are blaming the LTTE…for the sake of personal benefits…we know how many time you went behind ….)

    You are the person always doing nonsense things that hindered the development of the medical faculty.You do not know what is medical education and you tried several times to close the department for your benefits and did not allowed the staff purposefully to go higher studies….Many staff have been resigned because of you.YOU COME TO US, WE GIVE YOU THE WRITTEN EVIDENCE FOR YOU REGARDING YOUR COMMENTS.
    DO NOT WRITE ARBITRARY STATEMENTS FOR THE PUBLIC….BEFORE STEP INTO THE FIELD YOU MUST KNOW THE GROUND SITUATION..MIND IT Mr GOOD GOVERNOR..!!

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      Lolz you sound unhinged

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    Even though prof hoole is a good teacher he stated many wrong informations about the EUSL And mislead the readers.where he was during 2011-2014? there was a huge malpractices, corruptions, sexuals abuses by the former VC those were proved by the presidential commission. why he didn’t speak about those malpractices happened in the EUSL in past. I came to know that Prof Hoole applied for VC (EUSL) this time and his name was 4th. And he was tried to became within three in the list with the help of Kopi’s supporters in the council. dear prof please write the facts as you are a respectable person in sri lanka.

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      Actually Hoole [Edited out]

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    I am observing all comments and I am compelled to make my comment since I am one of the few society leaders in Batticaloa who invited Prof Hoole to apply for VC post at EUSL. My intention is not support Hoole or Kobi but to tell the truth to UGC and academic community in the country that how Mrs Coomarasamy manipulates everything for her selfish gains. When Prof Uma Coomarasamy was appointed as CA we were happy since we had thought that she will be neutral and cordially work with everyone but she, herself claiming as democratic dictator in the council meetings, is making a mess at EUSL which may require another decade to clean up. We wrote to UGC and Ministry but they seem not interested in anything (they may think that this is the university for tamils and why should we bother about anything there). As Prof Hoole mentioned, the selection process was heavily manipulated by Uma Coomarasamy in the following manner
    1. In contrary to UGC procedure, she had appointed three members of her henchmen from Council to rank the candidates based on their academic credentials. But interestingly, two of them are not academics and it is pity that an experienced Prof Uma Coomarasamy appointed them to evaluate the academic credentials of VC applicants.
    2. The Chairman of that ranking committee was Retired Professor R Sivaganesan who was the referee of one of the candidates and ranked him as NO 1. Everyone in Batticaloa knows that he is an academic joker and he was delieberately brought to Rank 1 (he himself knew it) to cover up their dirty motive of bringing Uma’s former Botany Colleage Dr Thangamuthu Jeyasingam as VC, ranking as NO2.
    3. World renowned Professor Hoole was ranked as NO4 whereas an academic joker was ranked as NO 1. Another applicant who had experience as environmental scientist in UK was ranked as Rank 8 (Last in the rank)
    4. In the Council election, Uma Coomarasamy also voted (since she was the chairman she should have refrained from voting to maintain neutrality)
    5. Professor Sivaganesan was also allowed to vote even though he was a referee for a candidate in Vc application

    These are the some of the irregularities in VC election in which Uma Botany Colleague Dr Jeyasingam had received 13 votes to be top in the list.

    These are the facts. I suggest and request ColomboTelegraph team to do investigation journalism to get entire facts about the VC election at EUSL and highlight all irregularities which will help our country to identify democratic academic dictators in the system.
    UGC Come on Wake up!!

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      I second the motion for an investigative journalism by CT! Please do! I’d love to get to the bottom of the facts!

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    Mr Anniyan and Mr Good governor,

    We can understand these are not their real name. Why? This article about the academic autonomy.. you still behind the door. Come on….. first come out please.
    Prof Uma Coomaraswamy did remarkable work with the two consultant Prof Abey and Former UGC secretary Mr Nandasena. Nobodies can’t questioned about it.
    Prof Hool was in abroad most of the time and he tried several time to become a VC to any university and he failed. That is the reason he always tried to criticize the system rather than work with the system.If you see the history of Hoole, he was on Vacation of Post. He had court cases in Pera, Jaffna, and OUSL, now he turned his eye to EUSL. This is very shame.
    Mr Anniyan stated, “I am one of the few society leaders in Batticaloa who invited Prof Hoole”. Then you should support Prof Hoole. Don’t you know he is 64years. He was chased out by Jaffna academic when he was sent as VC through political backdoor.
    Hoole,Good governor and Anniyan : were you alive when EUSL damaged by kobi.Why you were silent when there were several female staff(including academic to labourer)went out because of Kobi’s Sexual harassment.In Kobi’s time there were no system, regulations were not followed. Every thing works with personnel agenda of the Kobi with the help of UGC Chair Kshanika and SP.
    Mr Hoole do you know SP’S brother LRB dissayake was the council member during that time…very close to Kobi..(?????) All the construction work were under his control.At that time why your pen was silent?

    You talk about January 8.. What is your role in that? previous MR era also you enjoyed the political benefits.

    After CA Prof Uma Coomaraswamy’s arrival,now all the members of EUSL especially academic are feel free. She worked lot for the Eastern University without any time limit. She never gossip with others like us. She guides the university community with her experience, maturity and her sincerity. Those who want to clarify about these please come and ask the people in the Eastern University.

    We have to salute Prof Uma Coomarasway. Without knowing the actual history please don’t comment like …….

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    I need to clarify the facts that marked in the name of “Annian TM”, as per the order of the points respectively.

    1. UGC circular 880 clearly says: “The Council shall appoint an Evaluation Committee comprising 03 Council Members (none of whom intends to be applicants or nominees for the post of Vice-Chancellor), to report to the Council an assessment of qualifications, professional experience and vision statement of each applicant.

    As per the UGC circular 880, the council (not by Prof Uma Coomaraswamy) nominated 3 members from the council itself. The Chairman of evaluation committee is Prof R Sivaganeshan who is the well known scientist in Sri Lanka as well as in South Asia. Other two are well known persons with academic caliber…do not know this??

    Mr Anniyan (we know who you are MR KK), you should know the procedures… before writing the comments.How you people write the comments in the puplic domain. DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMONSENSE..?? HOW YOU PEOPLE GUIDE AND DEVELOP THE UNIVERSITY….You all people developed favoritism, ethnic conflict, regionalism, racism in the EUSL for your own benefit and filling of your pockets. You did not do only ONE thing….for ur benefit…that is also can be possible in near future…

    2. As per the assessment criteria, the candidates were evaluated. This was discussed at the council. As per your indication, if it was, why the council accepted their evaluation unanimously (with your supporters too in the council).You may be the academic JOKER (??) do not know the facts of the process. Mission and vision and the academic/administrative performances were evaluated with international research publications, national/international contributions. How many candidates that you r mentioned has those qualifications? How many publications that u have?

    What do you mean the dirty move by Prof Uma Coomaraswamy….she does not know sexually abuse the staff (non academic, academic, labour, attendant),she does not now how to mismanage the financial matters, does not know personally revenge the staff, does not know to block the promotions/foreign trips of the staff, does not know to publish anonymous notices, etc…like you all.She did every possible right things with transparency and good governance. This could be look wrong to you all people who do not behave like her (that is nature..!).

    3.Who is world renowned prof.? who wrote this article without any evidences that you all given and misguide him. He should know the fundamental facts before write the article in a public domain. Why then he was chased out when he was appointed/tried to appoint as VC of Jaffna University?? You the people do not know when recommending his name?

    4.ARE You MAD..?? Prof Uma Coomaraswamy is the CA In-lieu of the Vice chancellor. She is one of the member of the councils and all the rights to vote and should cast the vote. Unless she fail to vote, she violates the legality of the university system.

    5.The same reason in (4) is applicable here too.

    You have no rights to comment on the UGC. They are working under good governance. Prof. Mohan De Silva doing a better Job. Do you want the UGC again under the lady who spoiled every thing??.

    If the ColomboTelegraph team wants to rectify the facts, they are welcomed. We issue the entire written documentary evidences and those evidences need to be published for public comments.Then the facts and the reality will be “in the light”.

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    Further to my previous comments, I am compelled to spotlight some more facts (I initially had thought it is not nice, but when these academic culprits (who does not have guts to divulge themselves) tarnish the names of well-reputed people in our society such as Arc Bishop and Dr Xavier I am ready to send all documentary evidences of malpractices of Uma Coomarasamy, including altered result sheet of that medical lecturer Mr Sathananthan and some other shocking evidences against other culprits to ColomboTelegraph which were given to our society by some genuine academics.

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      [Edited out]

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    I heard there are lot of serious irregularities in medical faculty at EUSL during the Dr Kobi’ period .
    Example [Edited out]

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    Mr Anniyan.[Edited out]

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    Yeah I also heard that Dr Kobi [edited out]

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    [Edited out]

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    [Edited out]

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    Eastern university was disrupted by the regionalism. Nothing was created to develop the university. Key role played by the people those who wants the position. This is also kind of politics in the academic world.Former regime used this to enter to the university very easily. VC position also given only because of the regionalism by the Pillian group. Where he didn’t had any administrative experience such as head or dean. During his period university was like a military camp. If we see the former VC Dr Kobi’s profile how many publication, research activities…In the presence of others, with Senior lecturer Grade II, he became a Vice Chancellor also Politic.Promotion given with just 18 month PhD. where the quality can be questioned. This the very good example for the politicization.I dont know whether Hoole has seen Dr Kobi’s profile as Hoole is the one most visited person of Kobi’s site

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    EUSL was operating on Regionalism from day one[1982]. In fact its Founder EX:Minister K.W.Devanayagam was a politician who pitched his politics also on Regionalism.I was told that the EUSL saw it fit to confer an Honorary degree in 2014 more than 10 Years after his death! Mind you for its founding father!!
    In the meantime,however,over the earlier years since the establishment of the EUSL,ex:Surveyor Generals,small time Tamil Pandits etc etc had that Greatness thrust on them!

    So Gentleman this is the Eastern University.Perhaps,its founder did not realise he was establishing a Nudist colony in a Convent.

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