14 November, 2018

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Colombo University VC: A Reply To Prof. Hoole

By Savitri Goonesekere

Savitri Goonesekere

Prof. R S Hoole has in a letter published on March 20, 2013 responded to a piece written by me.

Let me clarify certain issues he has raised. I have checked my facts. 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. I raised the issue whether he and the other Senior Lecturer Grade II applicant for the post satisfied the requirements outlined in the public advertisement extracts of which are given below.

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. In any case the issue of what is the lower post in the university system below Senior Lecturer Grade II is hardly relevant when we are discussing applications for the highest post of Vice Chancellor in the university!

Let me also clarify that it is very obvious to any reader that I referred as “Professor” to Professor Kshanika Hirimburegama and not her husband Dr. Hirimburegama. It is therefore incorrect to state that I referred to him as professor anywhere in my article.

In regard to the personal and snide comments on my qualifications may I assure Prof. Hoole that every appointment and all awards that I have received have been on the basis of my academic and professional credentials. 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.

Prof. Hoole attributes personal motives to me for raising issues which I considered to be of concern to the university community, the higher education system and the public of Sri Lanka. I quote for his information the following extracts from the advertisement for the post of Vice Chancellor University of Colombo that appeared in the press. The advertisement came from the office of the Registrar University of Colombo dated 5th February 2013.

“The University of Colombo is the only metropolitan university in Sri Lanka and a rapidly developing pioneer educational institution … linked to the then Ceylon University College and the University of Ceylon. Regionally and internationally the University of Colombo is recognized as a highly reputed institution … The University of Colombo has a campus, 7 Faculties, 6 Institutes and a School, providing … programmes to a population of approximately 25,000 students in undergraduate, post graduate and extension progr4ammes.

The Vice Chancellor shall be … the principal executive officer and the principal academic officer. She/he is an ex officio member and the Chairperson of the Council and the Senate of the University… and the accounting officer of the university.

The Vice Chancellor shall be a person with a vision to carry forward the corporate goals of the University through her/his intellectual as well as managerial brilliance.”

The applicant/nominee is therefore expected to be a person of high academic calibre and integrity with a record of outstanding achievements with excellent communication skills along with an ability to stimulate diverse interests of the students and staff.”

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    Licence to teach and to do research is a PhD degree must internationally. But in Sri Lanka what is this hell. PhDs are not welcome by the corruptive mafia Universities as this writer says. I do not think any University appoint a Professor based on First degree. May be Colombo University. Anyway more important thing to talk:Good example to show that Sri Lankan Universities full of fake and wrongly given professors in all faculties and family to sex academic depts is: if they are so good do they work for less than 1000.00 US $ per month and while one family is destroying your whole country not any single voice from University Lecturers’ side. Even they are unable to analyse the danger heading Sri Lanka within next year or so due to UNHRC proposal. Normally UNHRC three things: First penalise war crime solders in army (But this never going to happen and Gota and MR family also in trouble for this), resettle tamils in their lands (Now all these lands under military and politicians hands and even hotels already built, Autonomy for tamils (Sinhalese never allow to happen this). Then we know surely next Burma going to Sri Lanka. People will die without foods and jobs and Tourists starts to disappear for the hotel build by politicians robbing poor money. Israeal and UNHRC case is different fools. Isral never send their mothers and sisters to clean toilets and cook for others and they never eat out of this money likewise Sri Lankans. Learn University Professors how to analyse problems in this way and educate people this way.

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      Mr Chamitha Perera,

      It would be highly appreciated if you learn to write good English before you comment on academic matters in an English website. It is tiresome to read your gibberish.

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        Academic, this is the mediocrity produced by Free Education, the Singlish we have to painfully tolerate. Not only their life styles and ethics, but their language as well.

        • 0
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          Correct, I had a chance to listen Basil Rajapaksha’s interview on Dailymirror. What a English ah…

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        well said academic. some people think they are well educated and coudn’t write a paragraph depicting the point being tried to higlight.

    • 0
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      Mr.Chamitha Perera, your comment is an example why we need good teachers and why academics should posses degrees with honors? Why can’t you write basic English? In my humble, uneducated opinion, your writing is one of the worst written comments in English language I have seen in a Sri Lankan website. Learn basic grammar and spelling before you criticize Sri Lanka. Mahinda Rajapaksa is not God, he is just a human being trying to do his best. Don’t blame that man for all ills in this world.

      Few of your spelling errors are corrptive/tamil/Isral/solders/depts/penalise…

      Even with my humble education, I found over 40 grammar mistakes in your short comment. Please don’t write again unless you pass grade 3 English.

  • 1
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    The truth is that all Academics, including this writer have had political leanings in the past to corrupt Political Leadership, either being related or as friends to be recognized for positions in the system. Today all are paying the price.

  • 1
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    |This is not a forum to wash dirty linen and personal grudges irrespective of the fact who is right or wrong. If any persons do this then the caliber of those people will be judged by the readers.

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    Wherever Prof. Hoole butts in, he makes the whole place stink. He has the knack of taking any discussion down to his low, petty and mean level. And he does it under the guise of standing up for high professional standards and moral principles. That is what is most repulsive about him. He has no right to talk about nepotism as it is a well known fact in Jaffna that he belongs to a parasitic clan of Protestant Christians that for many generations enjoyed preferential treatment by their colonial masters by being their most loyal servants.

    This is a close knit clan connected by kinship and marriage (many of them inter marriages) that has been running the Anglican Church (CMS) and the Church of South India (American Mission) from their very inception up to now. They gained advantage over other Jaffna Tamils by being the first to renounce their Tamil-Saiva heritage and get converted to Christianity to gain a head start in their upward social mobility. Many of them adopted bizarre English names given to them at Baptism by misguided Christian missionaries who felt they were civilizing the natives. A few of them retained their original Tamil last names.

    They monopolized control of the above mentioned churches and prominent Jaffna schools associated with them, and hospitals founded by the Christian missionaries in Jaffna for several generations and continue to do so even today by “keeping it in the family.” They became the reverends & bishops, principals, headmasters and teachers occupying official quarters provided in the school premises. If their children couldn’t achieve success in the local university system, they used their church connections to admit them to educational institutions run by their counterparts in Britain, US or Tamil Nadu. They channelled all the financial assistance and scholarships provided by their Christian benefactors and charities from the west to the poor to their own children. Again on their return if they couldn’t find coveted jobs in the public service, they were given cushy jobs in their own schools or churches.

    I have not named names as inheritors of this largesse gained by subservience, opportunism and exploitation continue to play prominent roles in Tamil society as academics, clergy, professionals and social activists as expected. Some of them even tried and miserably failed in their desperate, but unpardonable, attempt to maintain their privileged position by lending their credentials and cultural capital in fashioning a legitimizing ideology to the fledgling LTTE in the early 1980s.

    Today this religio-academic-rights cartel consisting of a handful of interconnected Jaffna Protestant families continues its work, behind the backs of the public and their legitimate representatives, pursuing its self-serving political agenda in collusion with its neo-colonial western masters while preaching about transparency and accountability to the “uneducated.”

    Their chief spokesperson and point man in this venture is Prof. Hoole who has the rare and eminent distinction of being kicked out by both Prabakaran and Rajapakse.

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      I am happy to see the worms coming out of the woodwork. This Rambler proves my point that there is strong ant-Christian, anti-Muslim element in the nationalist movement. The quality of his English suggests that he has also gained a lot from the missions either directly from the missions or through his family. Let the world know that the Bodu Bala Sena has many faces. Thankfully most Tamils are not like this Rambler who truly rambles on.

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        Judging by his comments in other threads, I think Rambler is not a Tamil nationalist but a pro-MR regime guy; he could be a Tamil who supports Douglas Devananda or a Sinhalese who knows about Jaffna and some Tamil.

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          AGNOS

          Doctors say I have a multiple personality but we don’t agree with that!

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        Prof. Hoole

        Certainly looks like I have upset your applecart. But it is no excuse for you to use the religion card. If you read carefully what I have written you will find I have not attacked any religion or mission. I was simply pointing out how a close knit group of interconnected families, which I termed a “clan”, has been using the Protestant church-school nexus in Jaffna as their private property for several generations thereby taking undue advantage over less privileged people.

        Unfortunately you go down to the level of Sinhala-Buddhist racist Bodu Bala Sena and indulge in rabble rousing when someone makes a valid criticism. You and the Bodu Bala Sena are two sides of the same coin in that you both try to take cover under religion and play victims when your flaws are exposed.

        Yes, English language was introduced to Ceylon by the British colonial government through the missionaries. In what way are you claiming credit for that?

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        Prof. Hoole
        You again bark the wrong tree. The topic here is not related BBS or any extremist group whatsoever. Be careful when you open your mouth; it makes everywhere stinky.

        I had a great respet for you when you self-exiled, as being a true Sri Lankan academic regardless of ethnicity. Now I am at a lost.

        Good Luck

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    As we know about how this writer gave full coverups for all wrong doings of her predessor (Former VC: family Dept emiritus), this writer must be exposed for her all bad management while she was in Colombo University VC position. I saw some comments about first commentors english. Understand joker academics (selling your mothers and sisters to Middle east and selling in Korea and Italy and many countries for very low level of works and eat out of that money: No nation do that sinhalaese) you are not english people. Likewise everybody first commentor also trying and we understand it and important thing inside facts of her message. If you have self-respect you never ever work as a University Teacher in Sri Lanka. The most amazing this I heard that based on first degree professors apointed in other countries. Even to become a University teacher basic qualification is a PhD must. I feel very sorry about Sri Lankan graduates and their quality of degree.

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      Dear Jayawaruna, degrees are classified. Obviously you have never been to an university unless to protect yourself from rain. You should get a degree in English. You need it man, go to the open university. It appears you are a product of 1956 free education. SWRDB’s children were educated at Oxford and Sorbonne. Guys like you had free education. What a shame.

      A degree may be awarded with or without honours based on weighted average mark of assessments.

      First class honours (1st)
      Second class honours, upper division
      Second class honours, lower division
      Third class honours (3rd)
      Ordinary degree (Pass)

      There are degrees and there are degrees. Chalk and cheese man, its chalk and cheese.

  • 0
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    So let me get this correct Savithri : If both parties in a marriage are serving as citizens in their own country and keen to pursue their respective careers the spouse in the lower rank is discriminated in applying to higher posts, simply due to the fact that it’s the spouse?

    Can you also be clear in what you did to the University as a VC?What were your contributions to the highest academic institution in Sri Lanka?

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    favouritism and political influence are instrumental in our education system in Srilanka today. I know well that many Docs got their promotions with forged Ph.D. from foreign countries. This is not first time in Srilanka that we have this type of injustice and discrimination: In Srilanka if you have political influence today you get any promotion or any job without any basic qualifications. How many people have got jobs with forged qualifications. With this system of executive Presidential system he could select any one as he likes in accordance with his political wish not in the interest of universities. I remember that one senior Member of one of Peradeniya university applied to South East University recently. He is more qualified person than other two persons and yet he was not selected for the post. This is the political appointment not in the interest of country rather in the in the interest of political party. This is an injustice but in our political culture we can not change it. Our academic tradition and heritages are dying out in Srilanka today: Academic life is hierarchical one and senior members with more qualifications and more experience should be respected and given promotion in order. yet, this culture is destroyed by these ruthless politicians.

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    This writers’ highest contribution was giving complete cover-ups for all the ills and wrong doings of the her predessor (CB sacked VC of Colombo University) of the Colombo University. She gave full coverups after CB reoved her predessor from the VC position and allow this curruptive low level man to stay in Economics dept and to further grow family tree and henchmen dept. Now Arts, Management and post graduate sections all are leading by these henchmen. Some even given foreign scholarships because they have to cooked for his son in that country and some given lectuer position because they drew diagarmme for his translation books. Some given Lecturer position to spy, anyway girls used for sex automatically got Lecturer positions. That is why today as a nation we suffer without any contribution or sounds from University Lecturers. Even shame to talk about Sri Lankn Professors qualificaions. Why media is silent about all these and not helping to clean Universities from mafia and family business and fake bogus professors. Please check Sri Lankn Professors qualifications with publication and publish them. You will cry seeing this why do you paid taxes to these guys to pay salaries. Poors will curse seeing this disaster inside Universties. Post gradute sections are utter hells. We have all the details of this family dept Lectuers recuirtments. Soon we will reveal all to media with names.

  • 0
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    Professor Kshanika Hiriburegama was qualified to appoint (2007)as a VC of Uni of Colombo by the President due to Former GIRL FRIEND of current speaker Chamal Rajapaksha. It was obvious that Prof. Lakshaman was the only qualified among the nominee in 2007.

    she did nothing to the development of the University but recruited people from the faculties to get details about other lecturers and professors. She appointed some SPY (IR department, sociology and econ Department…)
    She always attemted to sort out social issues immidiately, ultimately which makes the issue bigger and sorted out without understanding deepness of the issue.
    She completely contriute to the decline of the university.
    Now she is appointed as a UGC Chairman. It means the whole university system will be collapsed.

    She is quite interesting to rule the universities. And she will not leave her post for another six years. Unfortunaly the universities in Sri Lanka will go back for another some years.

    She is totally politically appointed person. Why these scholars go behind politicians if they are genuinly scholars?

    Further, she is a SINHALA NATIONALIST (I am sorry to say this)

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    The whole point, my friends, is the issue of the appointment of a VC for Colombo University and the single argument being made by Prof Savithri Goonesekera that nominee Dr. Hirimburegamuva is not qualified in that he is not among the most academically senior faculty members and is yet a lower grade lecturer – namely Senior Lecturer Grade II. The issue is NOT whether Prof Kshanika Hirimburegamuva is Dr. Hirimburegamuva’s husband, NOR is it whether Prof Savithri Goonesekera herself was a good VC, and NOR is it that the UGC Chair is linked to Sinhala ultra-nationalist ideologues. The issue raised sharply by Prof Goonesekera is the point that, according to the official requirements of the Colombo University itself, Dr. Hirimburegamuva is NOT qualified to even apply for the post of VC The fact that he can be appointed VC is the most recent example being shown up by Prof Goonesekera of the growing mess that is the country’s state-run university system.

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    I agree with Ananda Mayadunne. The important issue raised by Prof Savithri is about the Dr. Kumar Hirimburegama’s qualification to apply for the V.C. position. The arguments put forward by Prof. Hoole are a red hiring and Prof. Hoole tried to kill the messenger. I have few things to say about so called PhDs and “publishing” as hallmark of so called “scholarship”. Any person with some intelligence and perseverance could a get a Ph.D. If this is difficult, it is because of the mafias of various “professional bodies” acting as old guards of their bastions. Such bastions are erected as “entry barriers” to serve incumbent professionals’ monopolistic-tendencies to further their economic opportunities. Once you get your Ph.D., you have to master the “publishing game” which any sensible person could master. The wrong incentive system that operates within academic community for publications (by counting “research articles” and their “citation indices” and “impact factors”) is well-known. The plagiarism, dishonesty, down-right robberies of subordinates’ research (especially menial labour of postdocs) are too numerous to record. The mutual “back scratching” among the senior professors for their own publications and returning favours among so-called guardians (editors of reputed journals ) of “scientific world” are stink to high heavens. Sexual bribes for opening up these doors are everywhere and these are really disgusted many fair minded people. I don’t elaborate more on these, as most of the senior faculty would know what I am talking about. The assessment methods to judge whether somebody is worth becoming a “professor” is so “imperfect” that some of the people who have become professors know this and feel shame about it. The bottom-line is that the academic world is the “least likely place” to find “objectivity” (for hiring as well as for promotion) with or without political interference. The wrangling of “conflict of interest” in academic community is so foul that you are better off not knowing them. These are the people who are entrusted with “power” and as always the case “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

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    The assessment methods to judge whether somebody is worth becoming a “professor” is so “imperfect” that some of the people who have become professors know this and feel shame about it.

    I am fully agree with the above statement of MYTH BUSTER,
    Prof Nayani Melagoda, (whoever become VC she is always behind them, *VCta kadeyanawa* always behind the American Embassy) got Professor due to her relation with the former VC Hettiarachchi. She served even at his home get this PHD.

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      Shame on you -who ever the person ‘Rochan’ is -He has no time to do academic work because all he does is digging gossip of women!

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    Rochan: Do not character assassinate unless you their personal lives. Before you seek to rapacious others spare a minute (if you have a decency) and review yourself first.
    The problem with closed minded people like you , is that their mouth is always open.

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