27 September, 2021

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Demands Of University Dons: Who’s Gone Cuckoo?

By Amal S. Kumarage –

Prof. Amal S. Kumarage

One can only thank Mr. C.A.Chandraprema for choosing an apt title ‘University Dons in Cuckoo land’ for his article published in the Sunday Divaina and Sunday Island of 4th August.

There is no disagreement that is exactly where university dons have been for the last several years. The difference now is that finally they have realized how ‘cuckoo’ they have been to believe that Sri Lanka is marching towards a Knowledge Hub when over the last 6 years the reality is that funding per university student has been gradually reduced; students per staff ratio increased; attempts to use university positions for political purposes has increased and above all the university community is kept out of discussions of urgently needed reforms in the education sector.

The Difficulty of Finding Academics

From last year, dons who up to then had agitated only when their salary levels fell below embarrassment (as in 1996 and 2011) have realized that inadequate salaries are only the tip of the iceberg of problems facing them. The bigger problem is what lies below the surface. That is what the academia has been struggling to bring to the notice of the Government and also the public. The spending on education which was 5.2% of GDP in 1971 has now reduced to 1.9%. The admission rate of students qualifying at the GCE AL exam to proceed to university has remained at 15% for the last two decades. More than 1/3rd of the academic cadre posts in universities are vacant at this time for want of suitable applicants. Of the people who have filled theses posts, over 50% have just first degrees at present and yet to qualify to teach. The percentage of funds allocated for research in most universities cannot be even calculated as there are none! Even in the Government budget only 0.05% percent of GDP was allocated in 2012 for all research and development when global knowledge hubs exceed 2 and sometimes 3 percent! So it is true that university dons have been in cuckoo land all this while, expecting the political promises of the transformation of universities to centres of excellence and to global knowledge hubs when we have in fact being taken in the opposite direction.

Loosing Accreditation

It is a fact that Sri Lanka continues to lose its gifted academics to foreign universities and now even to local industry. The core issues as Mr. Chandraprema and also the government tries to portray as the salary issue, is not the core problem. It is what lies beneath the salary issue, particularly the danger facing university programs in Sri Lanka most of which have for many years maintained international accreditation by institutions such as the Association of Commonwealth Universities. Our universities will lose accreditation when staffing levels fall below acceptable levels, when research dries up and our facilities such as labs become outdated. Then the degrees which are currently recognized and highly valued globally will require ‘added qualifications’. Sadly this has already happened to some of our programs.

The Cost of University Education in Sri Lanka

Mr. Chandraprema could have done better justice to his article if he had mentioned how much is spent on a graduate in a State university today. To produce an engineering graduate whose four year degree is accredited by all leading international accreditation bodies, the universities manage with a meager USD 6,000 (2010 prices) for all four years  of study. This is approximately 1/10th the cost of a similar internationally accredited engineering degree from abroad. At a time when anything international, be it a highway or a meal at an international hotel chain cost as much in Sri Lanka as in a developed country, this achievement cannot be taken lightly. In fact I would contend it to be a miracle- perhaps the only one we have seen so far in education. A 3- year Arts degrees cost the government less than 2,000 USD. Is this adequate value addition for local graduates to compete in today’s competitive markets alongside graduates from foreign universities whose resource inputs may have topped USD 50,000? To make matters worse, it is these same Arts graduates who are picked to teach in our schools, thus passing down the consequences of the deficiency in higher education to school level and to successive generations. Hence this trade union action is not about salaries of dons. In fact it is not about universities either. It is about the downward spiral of education in Sri Lanka. It is also about the consequences of the impact on education on future society.

How much salary should a Professor forego?

But let’s do take the issue of salary- as that too is very important. The Government keeps insisting that academics are well paid. We do realize that in the midst of the hardships faced by many Sri Lankans, that luxurious salaries are not warranted. Neither will we compare the lack of any other benefits for university academics to the luxuries provided to holders of public office that political leaders have provided for themselves. But let us take market values. A recent survey done by Prof Sohan Wijesekera has found that at recruitment, a lecturer with a 1st Class in engineering has to forgo around 20% of the total benefits his colleague having an ordinary pass would receive from being employed in industry. The survey also shows that once he obtains PhD qualification, to decide to continue in university service he must forgo 2/3rd of the potential benefits he would get if he joins local industry. It is clear that no one today joins the universities to get rich! The gifted, the progressive, the ambitious all leave for different pastures local or abroad. The salary in Sri Lanka compared to developed countries to which they turn for jobs is around 1/10th. Even India and neighbouring countries pay their academics much better. So I can only agree that only those whom the modern world will term ‘cuckoo’ will opt to stay in universities and teach. Thus the pertinent question that society should ask is not how much a professor should be paid, but how much he or she should have to forego in order to remain in our universities.

‘Tuition Culture’ in Higher Education

Mr. Chandraprema observes that unlike officers at the Central Bank, university academics can supplement their incomes from consulting work. This is precisely the problem we face and not a solution he suggests it should be. Universities lose potential high caliber staff at graduation and then again become unsuccessful in retaining those they recruit after they qualify further. Then the few that survive are distracted with heavy consulting, teaching at other universities and even responsibilities of Government posts. No leading international university encourages such activities. They would pay the professors adequate to get their best outputs in research and teaching which is what they are trained for leaving no reason to seek outside work other than for purely professional pursuit. Hence encouraging consulting and external work can be counter-productive.

However, what Mr. Chandraprema is suggesting is an interesting concept. It is exactly the course of action that led to the collapse of our school education and the formation of the Tuition Class Culture. When school systems were deprived of adequate resources and teachers were denied a respectable wage, then the school education standards dropped. This began in the 1970s. With the supply for universities spaces also not expanding fast enough, the competition among students for qualifying with high grades at the GCE AL increased. Then some of the gifted teachers in schools found and exploited the ready-made tuition class market which has now become the dominant and determining market to compete for gaining university entry. This is exactly what is being prescribed for universities also. If the current issues of the universities are not addressed, then staff in these established universities will be preoccupied with consultancies and led to work part time in the many mushrooming ‘universities’.

Six Percent

The problem of the 6% of GDP for education would not seem so ridiculous if Government had not allowed its spending to drop to as low as 1.9%. It was 5.2% in 1971 and 2.9% just as recent as 2005. It is correct to note that very few countries have achieved this 6%. Even fewer countries have sustained 6%. But every country that has achieved any form of status as a knowledge hub or centre of education provision has spent 6% of GDP at some point. Besides, none of them have fallen below 4 percent after that. If we search for a global percentage to set as a benchmark, the only figure we find is the UNESCO target of 6 percent. What would be the case if academics asked for 4 percent? Would not Mr. Chandraprema accuse dons of short changing our potential of achieving the much acclaimed knowledge hub? Take the case of India, which invested only 2 percent on education in the 1970s when Sri Lanka invested 5.2%. But then while Sri Lanka has steadily neglected education spending, India kept raising it until they reached 4% in year 2000. Thereafter when Indian Government started neglecting it, civil society opposed and protested. In 2005, the governing UPA proclaimed the Common Minimum Program where they reversed the trend and are currently working towards a target of 6 percent.

Graduates and their Rate of Return

Unfortunately it seems that raising concern, dissent and protest on continuing cuts in education has been left to the university academics. Civil Society as well as the opposition political parties have been slow to take an initiative. The media has remained silent too. This is why the current trade union action may seem so ‘bizarre’ to Mr. Chandraprema. For once, academics are asking for something not just for themselves. The Government must not see this as an ‘opposition’ to its development program or its right to govern, but as strengthening of its hand to spend on education. In an increasingly materialistic world, most Sri Lankans seem to think that carpeting a road brings better benefits than spending on universities. Especially since the media has successfully portrayed the universities as trouble spots and a waste of public spending. It may be revealing for the reader that research shows that an engineering graduate from the University of Moratuwa pays back the cost her university education in less than 3 years. No other investment in Sri Lanka has such high rate of returns. It is not just engineering. I suspect many degree programs and even the often much aligned Arts degree would have similar returns, especially considering the minimal investment that is made.

Foreign Graduates

It was evident to all academics last year that the program hastily arranged by the Ministry of Higher Education to attract foreign students would surely fail. To begin with, there was no consultation with the respective Faculties or Senates. Three foreign students from the Middle East and Africa were admitted to the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Moratuwa by the UGC. After the first year exams they are currently placed 848th, 849th and 850th respectively in the batch of 850 students. What standard was used for their admission by the Ministry and UGC is still not known to the Faculty. It is true that the local degree programs have the potential of attracting foreign students, but we would insist that such students should be at least as good as local students that enter. Many countries provide scholarships to attract top students to raise standards. The Government has lost nearly USD 12,000 for each of these students in terms of the Rs 30,000 monthly allowance each is paid, full exemption of tuition and other fees applicable to foreign students (USD 8,000), free medical cover, hostel etc to fund students who have made it to the bottom of the batch.

To attract good students it is necessary to invest in the development of potential programs and then to market them accordingly. Mr. Chandraprema would have done himself a favour if he had investigated the status of the foreign students that have been admitted before praising the initiative of the Ministry. What is worse is that the Ministry seems to refuse to learn from its mistakes and has advertised again this year but imposing a restriction that a student who does not perform would lose the scholarship. Such is the confidence that the Ministry has on the selection criteria it has developed to admit foreign students. This is a perfect example of trial and error policies of education the universities and education in Sri Lanka are subjected to.

Dons as Destroyers

Dons have always eschewed violence and should not be termed as ‘destroyers’. But there are many myths and misconceptions about universities that do indeed need to be destroyed. First of these is that our universities produce only unemployable graduates. The so called unemployed graduates are mostly those who were employed at some stage and then opted to obtain external degrees and then begin to desire executive type jobs.

Second is the belief that universities are violent, disruptive and a student takes years to graduate from them. It is the government policy and planning or more precisely the lack of it that delays students entering universities. Take for example the Z score crisis today. When students are sent to our universities by the UGC they are mostly 22 to 24 years of age. In most foreign countries they enter at 18 years and graduate by 21 or 22 years. In Sri Lanka the best years of a student are wasted between government exams and awaiting results and in repeating exams competing for limited spaces in universities. These are matters of education policy and outside the influence of university academics. Students who enter universities are actually adults whose attitudes and behavior is already formed by the schools and society in general. It is often too late for universities to contribute towards their character formation. The violence students demonstrate at times is a reflection of what is happening in wider society. The current situation the Police are faced with in maintaining law and order even in rural areas is ample illustration that this is not just a university issue but a wider social and governance issue.

Third, that the university academics are a self serving lot. It is correct that perhaps for too long that is what they have been. We academics should regret that we have allowed undelivered promises to keep us in cuckoo land for too long. But give the academics a little credit this time! They run the risk of not being paid during this time of trade union action. But every lecture they have refused to deliver during this period will be delivered and every exam will be held. Every student who is affected will graduate. Academics usually forego their vacations, attending conferences, and even research just to ensure that the student loss is minimized. No academic would want to delay a student’s graduation even by a single day. However the question of protecting education as a whole seems to have now fallen on the shoulders of the academic community since the Government appears to be unconcerned.

A lesson from Margret Thatcher!

It is interesting that Mr. Chandraprema should refer to Margret Thatcher in his article. From what is known, her first job as a Minister was in Education where she cut many unproductive spending programs- famous among them was abolishing the milk program for older children that earned her  the title ‘Margret Thatcher-Milk Snatcher’! But despite her tough spending cuts, she maintained education spending at above 6 percent during her term from 1970 to 1974. Even during her period as UKs longest serving Prime Minister up to 1990,education spending never dropped below 5 percent of GDP. In fact Mr. Chandraprema may well draw the attention of the Government to learn from Ms Thatcher on how much she protected the future of UK by ensuring that its education and higher education system remained world class through the process of privatization she introduced.

Higher Education should be reformed

It is obvious that reforms in higher education are urgently required. Such reforms must be centered on ensuring that both State and private sector can compete, complement and develop holistically in providing quality programs for more students. The current plan of the Government, if it has one to show, seems to be ill founded. It only reminds us of the botched effort during the late 1980s and in the 1990s of solving the transport problem by introducing private buses. The Government at that time blindly following some of Thatcher’s initiatives in the UK began dismantling the State bus system by allowing a poorly regulated private sector to enter the market. Today neither of the two provides a quality service. It clearly illustrates that when reforms are short sighted and built on improper policies, the damage cannot be put right for generations.

While creating more places for students must be commended and encouraged, as a country we need to keep out institutions that are bent on giving just a degree instead of an education. Today there is much emphasis on language and IT skills. These are just the icing of university education. Developing an appreciation for society and culture, rationality and argument, literature review and research, team work and leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship are core components that need to be inculcated in the future generation. How much these programs will be regulated towards this end remains to be seen.

Academics are Allies not Enemies

The Government must consider the university dons to be their allies and not their enemies. It must stop portraying all academics as being politically motivated or as Mr. Chandraprema attempts to portray as being stupid and intent on destruction! Even if the Government cannot agree to 6 percent, all it should do as a first step is to agree that 6 percent is a desirable target and make a commitment towards it. After all, India and many other countries have done so. When we who have always congratulated ourselves as having the best levels of literacy and education among our South Asian neighbors, ask for 6 percent, we are told that it  is the ‘call of the cuckoo’.

It is acknowledged that it is the Government’s prerogative to develop the economy as it seems best as those elected for that purpose. Hence its decision of spending more on highways or tourism or on industry may not be questioned by academics. However, academics can observe many instances of waste that arises in government programs which can be curbed with better fiscal discipline. Education which is a long term investment should not be the sector that has to suffer the cuts in this process. Take for example, the current fall out of the hedging deal! The amount of USD 162 million which the CPC is being asked to pay, could have produced 27,000 engineers!! This is just one instance of incompetency and misguided priorities.

Salaries- just the tip of the Iceberg

In the trade union action of academics, salaries are only the top of the iceberg of demands. The demands raise underfunding, loss of autonomy and depleting human resources as major issues facing education in Sri Lanka. I do not recommend for the Government to follow Mr. Chandraprema’s advise that the President should ‘smash up’ trade unions as Ms Thatcher or the Iron lady did in UK. Protest has a reason. Government should not believe that smashing up dissent would make the problems go away. This would be like the Government taking on the attitude of the captain of the RMS Titanic who believed it could smash up each and every iceberg. Worse still is for it to entrust education to personalities similar to Captain Edward Smith of whom it is reported that ‘as the scale of the impending disaster dawned on Smith, he became paralyzed by indecision. He did not issue a general order for evacuation, gave contradictory orders, and failed to inform senior officers of the ship’s perilous condition. He also did not supervise the evacuation or tell the officers that there were not enough lifeboats to save everyone aboard.

*Amal S. Kumarage, Senior Professor, Faculty of Engineering, University of Moratuwa

Related posts  FUTA

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    The lying clown at the central bank Nivard cabraal is boasting the Lanka’s GDP per capita income is 4200$. If this is so surely University lecturers and Profs should be earning some of this money?
    Who in the university, which is supposed to have some of the country’s most qualified earns this?!
    Who in the regime, the clown Cabraal, and its stooges like Chandrapala FOOLING?

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      A well balanced article. First and foremost I believe all have to take stock of this ‘Free Education’ that is being bandied about. Free Education was ushered at a time that we were a Colony of the British. Therefore anything that the Natives received free was considered free. However after we gained Independence and managing our own affairs, there is nothing free, as we all contribute to the coffers of the Treasury and the funds for Education is allocated from the Treasury. In other words every citizen contributes to Education through direct and indirect payments. Sri Lanka being a Third world country, the revenue derived from direct taxation is far less compared to the revenue derived from indirect taxation where the whole society pays with a high cost of living. Therefore this myth of Free Education must come to rest. I believe Free Education has served it’s purpose and as every other thing in society today in this market economy should have value and should be priced. Free Education then, enabled many to come up the Social ladder and today many a Professional and Academic are indebted to the facility. However after standardisation was introduced in the early ’70s, the quality of the University products dropped and so the standards, where the mediocrity that churned out from the Universities found difficult to market themselves and the numbers of Unemployed Graduates started to soar. The joke was that they were not only unemployed but unemployable. The quality students who were shut out due to standardisation to our Universities naturally went to foreign Universities and today all of them are holding high office and those host countries have benifited from our investments, while we are languishing with the mediocrity here. Therefore it is about time that we should once and for all, adjust our Education to suit the needs of the present society without just producing numbers of Graduates that add to the numbers who are unemployed and unemployable.

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        The Dons are not getting paid anymore by the State as they are on strike. They are going broke and their families hungry without salary – for the first time academics are standing up for PRINCIPLES – a decent education and equitable development in Sri Lanka and should be supported. Civil society should start a fund to held needy striking families of the academics
        Academics will soon have to go on hunger strike or have the strike broken as their families will have to starve soon. The snow ball is gathering momentum and may be the straw that breaks the regime’s back!

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    It is nice to see that academic accept there is need of obvious that reforms in higher education urgently and private universities to ensuring that both State and private sector can compete, complement and develop holistically in providing quality programs for more students. However, government doesn’t have proper plan how to regulate private university and what are the minimum standard. S.B. think uiversity eduation is also same tution class.

    The conflict between UGC and uiversity academic community can not understand. Because, they are former or current faculty staff.

    I think everything was mixed up and difficult to solve. I think President should invite to team of Sri Lankan foreign university professors and local scholars to resolve this problem. Ministers and President should identify the important of heigher education. End of war gave short-term rapid economic development and tourisum also can give short-term economic benifit. However, investment on Education gives longterm benifits and it has long life than tourisum development.

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    Brilliant, and yes what a productive title

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    we need more academics like Prof Amal

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    Must read article! Well done Sir!

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    another excellent article

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    Unfortunately for the writer, he maintains him a the baseline for the arguement, which is wrong. For example, of course as he says people like him and his colleagues from Engineering sometimes spend even their holidays to do something productive but many in other faculties spend their entire sabbatical year clearing their garden. Also, z-score fiasco was created by short sighted academics in its entirety. First a group of academics proposed it, then when the system didn’t look reliable, another group of academics made a new formula. Then the educated former academic woman, the CJ messed it up completely. Yes there are a few who deserve better but the service is tainted with serious quality issues.

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      As usual Rubert Banderkoon is totally off the mark. Refuses to see sanity and is obstinate. These are individuals who will never see the wrong done by MR as they are brainwashed or is it totally being Dumb?

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      this is how present-day politicians behave with the poor people of the country

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYEMFQrvxv4

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      Rupert your crooked mind would nevervallow you to see things upright but upside down. 10.% of the population becoming like you is no big surprise.

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        Not worth replying, but noticed you are seriously infected with the FUTA-in the mouth desease too to pop a percentage out! FUTA’s general problem is the 6% as well. When the entire university system is contaminated with people like you who only believe in themselves, yes we do have a problem. We need to form a proper administration for the university setup. The semi-autonomous scheme has gone out of hand, and reached its dangerous end.There is no responsibility for the poor public who fund the scheme, but it has become a paly ground for substandard academics. Sad, the few who work hard, do work very hard but are engulfed by the former lot.

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      Rubert Vanderkoen
      Chandraprema made a mistake when he said “cuckoo.” I believe he must have meant “Vanderkoen.”
      This sounds like yet another of Rajiva Wijesinha’s “dirty tricks brigade” spouting rubbish and lies without any reference to the facts or grammatical English.
      The editor of this website should exclude lunatics of this kind from unnecessary prominence by consigning their inanities to the WPB.

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    A good resume of the reality.
    But,there is simply no money. What is available is being wasted and robbed.
    Priority is the military which consumes most of the income, and is very necessary for the survival of the family junta, cohorts and hangers-on.

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    Well done Prof. Kumarage for having taken the trouble to write this well researched and cogently argued article, with the superb irony in that title “who’s gone cuckoo”. There are a bunch of supine writers today whose central premise is “The Rajapakse brothers government defeated the LTTE and ‘won’ the war, ergo everything that the Rajapakse Bros government does must be defended and applauded. Everyone who says something against it are of necessity traitors, international conspirators and unpatriotic elements.

    Todays’ Island has a report on A level students petitioning the Supreme Court. The school education system has degenerated so much that, education in Sri Lanka has morphed into a mass national private tuition class, whose sole purpose is to get children to pass exams. Ad hoc decision brewed in secret and in the dark are imposed on the education system without ANY consultation whatsoever.The growing public support for FUTA is a hopeful sign that the public have woken to the need to protect the rights of the children of this country to a sound education free from the passing caprices of ‘here to day gone tomorrow politicians’ and their stooges.

    The highest ranked University in this country – Moratuwa University is 512th in the regional list !

    What more proof does one need of the deterioration and sad plight of education in this country – ruined entirely by politicians and their catchers.

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    Excellent article. I hope this author will write another article about how Sri Lanka could setup quality private universities and ways of monitoring their quality. It should include how both State and private sector can compete, complement and develop in providing quality programs for more students. We all knows Sri Lanka provide heigher education to 15% of students who set for A/L each year from 1950 to 2010 (It may be around 2 or 3% of students enrolled to schools). We wish you all the best.

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    This shows the truth. However, the stupid politicians in the country has taken everything under their control.Especially, a shame of media control. A family try to build up themselves forgetting and cheating to the poor people in the country. Yes Sir, Your article shows that we still have educated people in the country. God bless you!

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    Can I see the list of International indexed journal publications with impact factors of this writer. [Edited out]

    Part of this comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
    http://colombotelegraph.com/comments-policy/

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      Should we note anything from a person who can’t even write his name properly? Anyway, there’s no substance in this comment and is nothing more than chauvinistic jargon.

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      Dimwits of your sort cant see beyond. Those lists should be available for your reference -on their web site. Whoever he is – please respect the great contents that help many to realize the essence of the changes to improve the university system paving the way our youth a great future in the country.

      Btw, You seem to have a personal grudge against him. Please concentrate only on the substance of the article. If you have other issues, it is better to that with the writer on an other forum.

      Every right thinking

      The writer has stated clearly why

      “Even if the Government cannot agree to 6 percent, all it should do as a first step is to agree that 6 percent is a desirable target and make a commitment towards it. After all, India and many other countries have done so. When we who have always congratulated ourselves as having the best levels of literacy and education among our South Asian neighbors, ask for 6 percent, we are told that it is the ‘call of the cuckoo’”

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        it should be – every right thinking can understand the need of changes to uni in SL.

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      Well Done Prof. Kumarage!!!! A well written article and it shows the reality of the education in Sri Lanka and only people like Prof Kumarage stands up to reveal matters like these in these days. Unfortunately we still have people like “SIRMANNA” who doesn’t like to accept it.

      Most regretably, this “SIRMANNA” is giving completely misleading information. Prof. Kumarage is a well educated senior professor, researcher who has won many awarded for his contribution on research in transport sector. if you do a Google search you can find hundreds of research papers he has published locally and internationally. As far as I know he is the only NTC chairman, who made NTC a professional body and who implement various strategies to improve the private bus service to give a better service to commuters.

      Sirmanna think before you speak!!!! Do not give misleading information to the public

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        To Sachi, Thank you for the comment with correct facts and trying to educating the masses of the truth.

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      You may download ans go through this web
      http://www.tlm.mrt.ac.lk/documents/Prof.kumarage.pdf

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        This news article is good. I saw his detailed CV. However, Prof. Amal S. Kumarage also does not have SCI or IEEE indexed research papers. This strike expose most Sri Lankan professors research credentials. Sorry to say that most professors are not good at publishing papers in SCI or IEEE level.

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          that means not that these professors are not appropriate as Uni staffers. It is just that most of the universities lack research grants. This is an another problem for univesities in developing world. If that is common to almost all Profs at lanken universities – no point of discussing about their publications on those peer journals.

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          Sorry to see this comment. It is not correct to say that our professors are not world class by just looking at a CV and have not been indexed under SCI or IEEE. It is only one way of evaluating it.

          Most of our Professors (Specially Moratuwa) are more knowledgeable than or in par with their counterparts any where in this globe.

          But main problem is the lack of support and resources from the Government or the Education system for them to engage in more researches. Any body who have some sense could understand why the Government is not interested in solving this problem and going behind so called infrastructure development projects and dump huge percentage of national budget in to those projects!!!

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      @Sirimal: You may go to Prof. Kumarage’s web site to see how he published. He was an excellent PhD student in the University of Calgary. He received enough offers to stay in Canadian academic, but decided to return Sri Lanka – which surprised even his close freinds.

      Do not accuse people in baseless manner.

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        Ken, He comes out as one of those better ones when you look at his credentials, he has done several things within the country. But bluff like yours dilute his case as well. Because for example, after seeing your post, I have just had a look at his publications list to find, he has only four SCI journals in the list, CANADIAN JOURNAL OF CIVIL ENGINEERING ,Journal of Advanced Transportation, Research in Transport Economics, and International Journal of Regulation. The impact factors of the first two are 0.3, and 0.6 respectively whereas the other two are not even listed. Unless I have missed something, this is a very very poor record.
        Your second claim that he surprised many by leaving Calgary, may be true but his record does not help anybody believe it. During his PhD, he seems to have published only one article in a very low quality journal (Journal of Advanced Transportation,Vol.24, No. 2, Summer, 1990) and two conference proceedings (selected proceedings of the Fifth World Conference on Transport Research, Vol. 3, pp. 495-507, 1990 and ASCE, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Automated People Movers, Florida, 1989.).

        He has another publication in another low quality journal (Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, Volume 19, pp 236 – 244,) in 1992, and it could well be borne out of his PhD work, but even with that, still it is only two articles.

        If Calgary was surprised when a man, who has published one article in a very insignificant journal, was leaving, that should be surprising! May be they were surprised that he was offered a position!
        Despite your misconceived attempt of profanation of the man, he has done remarkably well since his return to Moratuwa.

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          This is the fact that these university community trying point out. To publish in high rank journals you need advanced research. To do advanced research you need huge amount of funds and other resources.

          You said that this Professor has published in 4 SCI ranking journals during his PhD. Publishing 4 papers in SCI ranking journals during the PhD journey in 1980’s was a remarkable achievement. Even the developed countries were not that developed during that time compared to now. So no wonder Canadian academic community was surprised on turning back the offers he got from the Uni of Calgary. If he stayed in Canada he would have published many hundreds advanced research papers in those so called high ranked journals. People like them are treasures to our nation. They have come back to Sri Lanka solely because they love their mother land, they really want to pay back to the nation and contribute to the development even though they do not have much benefits serving to the country other than becoming a professor. If they were to stay in Canada, by now they would be in a very high position in those universities. This person (& so many other Professors)even without having enough resources has done a lot ground breaking research, specially this Professor in the transport sector. If you have followed what he has done you will be surprised how these people have done that much work without having enough funds and resources.

          On the other hand before calculating the impact factors on their research do not forget that there are lot of basic matters we have to look at from Sri Lankan context. Before targeting so called ground breaking research, we need to get the foundation right. Before doing research in advanced areas we need to establish good practice in basics. These people have done that to a greater extend without bothering the government or anybody. They have done their job to the maximum. Not only him, if you do a review on research of other Professors not only in Moratuwa but also in other universities in any field, you will see how much work they have done in their fields. May be those research are not too advanced to publish in high SCI ranked journals. But still they are internationally recognized. I believe now it is time to go beyond that. Give them more funds, they will show you how they can increase their impact factors, how they can publish in highly ranked journals in the world. Train more young graduates, send them abroad for PhD studies. Can you tell how many students have sent abroad for PhD studies with the Sri Lankan government scholarships. It is true that Sri Lankan graduates are going abroad for PhD studies. But not from Sri Lankan government scholarships. They received scholarships from relevant foreign universities, or foreign agencies. Foreign universities in Western world are really keen to get Sri Lankans to do research in their countries. But why they love Sri Lankans students so much???? At the end Sri Lanka loose these high achieved students forever!!! They will return to Sri Lanka only when they are old and unable to find any employment in overseas. Only people like Prof Kumarage will come back to the country when they are more energetic and capable of contributing the economy.

          Having only knowledgeable and capable human resources is not enough. This is what these academics are trying to say. But that is what these politicians and their supports do not understand. They have funds only to buy helicopters for their pleasure.

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          Well said Robert, being a planner in the same sector I am well aware of the contribution he has made to the Country with his broad knowledge on the subject/sector, balanced judgement, sense of humanity towards the poor people of this country and decision making. It is very pathetic that Sri Lanka has very few professors or the professionals of this kind who always ready to stand for Professionalism and constantly practicing what he preaches.

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          Pal, I said, he had only one article (not four) published in a journal with IF 0.6 during his PhD while in Canada (not in SL). It looks very much like a national publication than an international one for Canada. It cannot be remarkable by any means. If you want to paint it as a remarkable achievement, you are free to do so but those who are aware of the facts won’t be deceived. There are those who did PhD within SL in 1980s who had better publications and publication records. Appreciate your attempt to decorate him and I have no qualms about his credentials but I was only telling Ken to be careful when making up stories for others.
          As we speak, I tend think why he hasn’t used any of his own models (as his CV says), to develop transport services in Sri Lanka when he was holding the top job. May be they are not good enough models after all, but maybe I’ll ask him at some point directly than listening to trade union banter. Something interesting you mentioned caught my eye that is the interest of the West in Sri Lankan students. It looks like a cloud cuckoo land you are in, but don’t believe all what story tellers throw at you, there is no such specific interest in Sri Lankan students. Everywhere, there is some interest in anybody who does well regardless of their nationality. Many researchers in Australia and Europe are keen on getting especially Chinese and Indians but any other students as well, which has an economic factor than anything else.
          Anyway, as I said before, his publication record aside, still he is one of the better ones. He has done a remarkable job since he came back to Colombo and we should leave at that. It is also laughable to see what you say about his funding. You don’t have to worry about his funding situation, he has siphoned out a bit of everything. But well done to him on that. There are others who need a kick in the backside.

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          It is really interesting to read these comments. But seems you have missed the point. First of all I do not want to fabricate anybody personally. May be it is you who is trying to paint and fabricate the ill government activities. And for you information I am not talking about Prof. Kumarage’s personal funding, If he has earned any money I am sure he would have worked hard for that. Anyway that is non of my business. I was talking about providing funds for research activities in the universities to increase the knowledge and expertise in relevant fields which would ultimately help to develop our nation. And with respect to the models which have developed by this professor, yes you better talk to him personally or speak to agencies such as RDA, UDA, NTC officers (but not those who are appointed by MR, speak to qualified engineers and planners) who already use these models. They would tell you how useful these models are!!!

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          Glad you find my comments interesting. As for missing point..do you think you had a point at all? Your advice isn’t important for me, I have no reason to talk to MR or RDA or anybody else. As I said, please don’t worry about answering for Amal Kumarage, I will ask him, because it looks like he has had a lot of domestic funding to develop traffic models and to deal with other transport related issues but I can’t see any model being applied in Colombo. If his models have been passed on but have not been applied, then he has the duty by the people to explain it in public, because the funding came from the public, not any minister’s personal wealth. Two points, just for your information..one, once again, it wasn’t you, you obviously didn’t have a point, I was only referring to Ken who had a story made up. My message to him was, don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt. If you really wants and if the cap fits, wear it by all means. Secondly, whenever somebody else sees you in the wrong, it doesn’t necessarily warrant an attribute to a government connection. The universities are closed half of the year through student strikes. We don’t need more strikes and closures. Academic fraternity has to be exemplary and more patient than some Devasiri. When you have the opportunity, you strike, it is an age old crude tactic.I am not surprised about people like you, who may have newly joined the university, but very sad, people like Amal decided to go with the flow as well.

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          It is not even worth to reply to this senseless Rubert who thinks that he knows better on Sri Lankan education other than anybody who has experience and knowledge in the sector. Most importantly he thinks that everybody should agree to only with his stories. What a pathetic person.shame on you!!!!

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          Oops, now going personal, are you? And you call yourself an academic as well? No wonder we have problems. I can only repeat what I said before,,, Academic fraternity has to be exemplary and more patient. Elizabeth Kenny spoke about people like you, have you heard that? I doubt. But she said, “He who angers you conquers you”.

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      Sirmanna:

      Duh?!!

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    To Mr Amal S. Kumarage.

    pls send sinhala and tamil translation to Unpatriotic Sinhala /tamil newspapers to publish as most of our Srilanka population had misguided by PREMAS and PAKSES.

    Patriotic News papers do only howling and licking.

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    To: Sirimanna,
    Anybody can do a google search and find information about the publications of Prof. Amal. (or anybody).
    Besides, for a Sinhala Buddhist, international journal publications should not matter since they are of “Judeo-Chirstian” in origin. Prof. Nalin de Silva has explained this point in his writings over the years.

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    An interesting article.

    TO: Sirimana,

    Don’t mess up with education and religion.

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    These people are never allow any qualified PhD holder to join university system and system run as a mafia with their kith and kins. If these people can get 3000 US job they never going to stay in this country. Those who can find good foreign jobs they left. As Srimanna said this is a struggle to topple government by Church based UNP group and JVP based foreign NGO group. HE President never allow these jokers to topple people elected government and recheck their qualifications and sack them for getting University titles wrong ways. They never recruite qualified person to University teacher posts. All recurits are family and friends, etc based. That is why family dept you find in many Universities. More than 40% university academic staffs are females and another 10% husband and wife and another 40% are what ever means relatives to each others.

    Now best thing is government recheck qualifications of these fake professors and sack them. I checked this man’s university web and found more than 90% profs have only IESL Engineer journal publications. This journal run by them and no where indexed or listed and no impact factors. It is just like a magazine. Sack all of them eating poor tax payers money covering to Prof title and now acting by saying no one join University because of low salary and engineering is the subject others are low etc. These peole need some mental counselling/checkups before allowing to work in Universities.In University all the academics are teachers irrespective of disciplines. But this simple truth these jokers can not understand. You do not find this Senior Prof title no where except in Sri Lanka. Even Senior Profs title you do not see in any good Universties except in very backward underdeloped countries like Sri Lanka.

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      Those who do not know the recruitment criterions of a university can made the false alegations. Vice chancellor, Senate appointed and council appointed members are in the selection panel except the Dean and the Head. There are very strict criterions in written and marking scheme for the panel to select an academic from an interview. If a perticular candidate is not acheived minimum marks in the interview they are not even considered at the council. Finally Council is the body who made the approval. If the members of the university council are not qualified enough to make necessary clarrifications before approval it is upto the UGC & Ministry of Higher education to take the responsibility to appoint majority of such Council members. If any mischap occurs during selection committee VC who is appointed by the HE thepresident is responsible as VC is the chirperson of the selection committee. People who has failed in entering the University academia seems to be jealousy with the system. Those who have PhDs should be able to basically teach the undergraduates. Therefore the PhD should be related to the subject stream given by the perticular dept. Otherwise qualification is null & Void. In that case who have acheived best qualifications in the basic degree is much better than the PG qualified personnel. Obtaining a master degree is much easier than obtaining a first or second upper class in the four year degree. Not only the academic acheivements, extra curricular activities, research publications and ability of teaching is also assessed during interviews. Selection criteria is not easy as someone think. Holding a PhD in the relevant field only is not adeqaute to be an academic. If a basic degree holder (with adeqaute qualifications) selected they can be trained according to the requirements of the subject discipline. Those who earned the basic degree with good results should have the opportunity to become a future academic. When the low qualified personnel are in the decision making level they are least bothered about the basic qualification. Most of the academics who are in administrative positions and academic establishment divisions of Universities know how much the influential people interfere with the basic selection of the candidates for interviews although there are strict guidelines given by the UGC circulars. Without doing a thorough study on selection procedures of academics(only selection where there is no political influence in university system)it is very harsh to make comments without much evidence. University academis is not a family business… But when they are in the system they get marry or otherwise they had relationships when they were very good undergraduates or otherwise they earn qualifications to be an academics of the university after the marriage. Otherwise husband cannot inluence to take his wife or wise-versa being in the system if they do not have adequate qualifications.

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        You said that best qualifications in the basic degree is much better than the PG qualified personnel and obtaining a master degree is much easier than obtaining a first or second upper class in the four year degree. We went to universities and we know how majority of female students get their first class and how some boys get the first class. May be getting master degree easy in Sri Lanka. Because, some professors don’t know how to supervise advance research, our lab does not have advance equipmentsto experiments and does not provide advance knowledge in Sri Lankan master degree. All over the world accept that basic degree (Eg: Agriculture major in Food Science) give broader knowledge of mainstream subject field. Master degree (Eg: Food Microbiology) gives advance specific knowledge of a subject. Mendis’ argument is totally wrong and it may be true for Sri Lankan universities’ master degree.

        According to Mendis BSc, BA, BBA degree-holders are prefer than PhD holders. When we see the Sri Lankan universities faculty profiles, most of the staff does not have PhD. May be this is the reason universities reject PhD holders. In foreign universities in countries like US, Europe, China, Japan prefer PhD holders with research publications in well reputed journals.

        If fist degree holders are better than PhD holders, our university stuff should have many research publications and our university should have good university ranking (better score for academic section). Because, 70% of our university stuff does not have PhD.

        Most of Sri Lankan universities first degree are job oriented and less academic focus. I know most BBA, BSc accounting, finance or business administration degree do not have compulsory research and even some MSc and MBAs in Sri Lankan universities do not have research. Why most of management faculties professors does not have research publications in SSCI or other well recognized journals? First, majority them do not have PhD, second, they have MBAs which does not have adequate enough research component. Third, their undergraduate degree research is not compulsory, then they didn’t take that credit.

        At present, Sri Lanka has to create new culture in the universities and universities should attract PhD holders with research publications. We don’t need to worry about our senior faculty stuff above 55 years of age. Because, they do not have time to learn research methodology, soft-wear packages for data analyses or simulation. These seniors are in interview boards, we applied from them, when recruit stuff members to the universities consider the applicants research ability and potentials to do research and give priorities to applicants who has done research project in their first degree or master, if there is no good PhD holders applied for the post. Lot of senior faculty members are very humanitarian and kind and they have large political pressure within and outside universities.
        .

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        Mendis,

        I fully agree with your comments. No doubt these can help to many on this forum.

        I would like to add this too to yours. I believe the prevailing criteria that candidates with just basic degrees (with a class)being appointed as junior lecturers to the academic staffs should be removed from the prevailing system. They can be appointed as lecturer assistants but the basic qualification to become a lecturer should be posssessing a PhD to the relevant field. This I noticed at a time meeting some lanken PhD students in Europe a couple years now. Indian universities are not among the first best 100 in the world today, nevertheless, their basic qualifcaiton becoming a leturer is strictly held keeping it only PhDs. And as you detailed a PhD holder without paedagogical tranings should not be the Uni teachers. As we see it, there are lot more need to be done introducing a better system if we expect ours becoming standard unis.

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        Mendis, Honestly, are you serious about your comments? The criteria are cleare but there are holes in the recruitment method. Have you seen how many wives of lecturers working in support departments? ELTU, Library, labs, Admin? You must be either joking or deceiving the public knowingly. Probably, you only talk about a small environment you are familiar with perhaps. How many sons and daughters of lecturers also join the university staff, regardless of their degree of knowledge? Of course the system is fair to a good extent but nepotism is at its best at the university setup, we need to clean it up.

        They may have taken you for a ride by asking your extra curricular stuff but most our interviews are not as strict as you say. They are all quite often fixed, and the interview is just a formality. We lose out a lot of quality candidates, not becaue of the salary but the arrogant mechanism.

        You are very naive in glorifying the first degree holder contrasting with a postgrad. Certain Masters degrees may be easier but some involve such hard work, so are PhDs. A mature postgrad will be simply more knowledgeable to talk about his or her subject in depth than a fresh young graduate holding a first degree. Our fresh graduates in science streams wouldn’t have seen or experienced any state of the art equiment/machinery and what they could teach is what is in a book. The comment is silly, and academics have to be more intelligent and shrewd in their judgement than that. You also immatuarely undermine the advanced education systems in the developed world who always recruit experienced postgrads to academic positions.

        Anyway, this Amal Kumarage’s writing now reminds me one of his colleagues. This ‘colleague’ from the same university staff has been working for a ‘care home’, looking after older people (slightly older than him), abroad for a long time now where he is a resident. Why couldn’t he find a job for his qualification? Why doesn’t he have a single publication, now at the retirement age? How can you compare the two friends? The writer can’t be taken as a baseline to justify any demand because we have a weak setup, a restructuring of the entire university system, as he agrees, is paramount for a better future.

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          If you want to look for nepotism, there are better places than the universities

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    Thank you for this eye opening yet positive piece Prof. Kumarage. You write with a sense of love for our country for her children’s future and for justice. I can sense that. There is much to learn and the truth is often not palatable. Aiyo,Who is this Sirimanne? I am embarrassed just to know there are such poorly endowed minds on such spaces like this, who demonstrate they cannot cope with a piece of well researched erudite writing. Sirimanne is it your lack of love for a Dharmishta society or plain inability that makes you wriet like this? out of point, making cheap personal shots, writing illogically and shamelessly trying one of those third rate tactics of diverting attention from the topic and bringing in religious accusations, trying to cause dissent.) Unfortunately for you I doubt most of the readers are that stupid. Sirimanne I am tempted to tell you to go help in the kitchen instead- but then I take pity on the poor woman who will have to deal with that mess.

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    I worked to Sri Lankan University last 40 years and Sri Lankan University system suffering from the evils very clearly explained by Sirimanna and Yahampath.That is why today we do not have any ranking and no one want to study in our Universities. Things are written in books, but practice never work that way. Now best thing is government sholud clear Universities from mafia type jokers.Especially wrongly appointed professors. You take today in Sri Lanka all the things built by Chinese, Korean and foreign engineers and Sri Lanakn Engineers are just maintaeance people.

    If you do not have at least minimum 10 publications in ISI and Scopus level international indexed journals with PhD from good ranking University, today no country appoint you as a professor. But in Sri Lanka most professors never ever heard about these international high end indexed International journals.

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      Funny- Sirimann and Yahampath are clearly appologists to the regime.

      We ve been commenting on the Uni system – entire Education sector should be reformed.

      I listened to lanken Radio today – and got to know whow the schools function present day in SL.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze6H4Hns7xo&feature=relmfu

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      I really dont think that you can generalize that as you commented here.

      Quoted from yours- “in Sri Lanka most professors never ever heard about these international high end indexed International journals”-

      because most of them have spent for their PGstudies abroad (US, Canda, Malaysia, Japan, Germany, Netherlands, Uk etc) – at least this info is common to ones who come from Science /Engineering /Agriculture/ Medicine streams.

      The fact that lanken Unis are not accessed to the industries for their research should be the reason for them failing to publish papers regularly on the In journals. Latter is the case NOT only with SL but many other universities in developing countries as a whole. Research projects do need huge sums of funds to run their laboratory based life science /Engineering research. Universities in Germany, France and the Netherlands for example work closely with giant pharma companies such as Novartis, Roche, Pfizer and the similar. So research funds flow to the Universities.

      What is necessary is not to look down upon the highly academic uni staffs (as some of the commentators DELIBERATELY do), but trying to help them restructuring the entire Uni system in the country. Politicians, UGC and the panels of current professors should sit down and exchange their views regularly in a contructive manner prior to implementation of any reforms.

      Some of the comments are interesting and new to me. Though Not sure, until the updated statistics are being shown. I myself never thought, that nephatism is playing a significant role also in Uni appointments to lanken Unis. If it is the fact – so entire nation (Unistudents,academic and non academic staffs) should react – not staying apathetic further. Lately, German students of some provinces were successful in their protests against Uni fees.

      If the majority of Uni academic staffs are appointed not respecting the recruitment criterien – no wonder that their quality of the degrees and the universities are falling to lower standard.

      But the quality of lanken Universities 2-3 dedades ago were well recongnized. Even basic degrees offered such BA, BSc, BCom were then highly recognized inthe world. Senior Politicians and senior uni staff members may know mcuh more about the root causes.

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    Ironical that these proffessors are not our rulers!

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    “To make matters worse, it is these same Arts graduates who are picked to teach in our schools, thus passing down the consequences of the deficiency in higher education to school level and to successive generations.”
    The major problem of our school and University education is the failure in maximizing Critical Thinking and constructive imagination.Teaching of all the subjects, in particular arts subjects, should be re-planned and integrated to maximize the critical thinking and constructive imagination of the school and university students.

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    It is shame to hear from the person called Professor by condemning arts graduate teachers in Sri Lankan public education system. I met many Sri Lankan engineering graduates working as labours in Japan and korea. Therrefore this person (so called lunatic senior professor) has to check for his mentle sickness before allowing him to teach for students.

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      I do not beleive that engineering graduates will work as labourers anywhere.They must have misrepresented their status so as ‘not to lose face’ with Rev. Palitha.

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        DAS, Appreciate your faith in our guys, but unfortunately,I hope you have to eat humble pie, I am afraid. There was one Mech Engineer who delivered pizza and a very senior Engineer who spent all his sabbatical year pushing filing trolleys and boxes. There were struggling many others, the world out there is not that cosy.

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    Hmmm good article, my hats off to you.

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    Can Some University lecturers respond to the following Idea from chandraPrema that was published in the Iland and was quated from Lanka Cnews. His idea is a bullshit.

    “Today, all serious students find Wikipedia and YouTube indispensable companions in the pursuit of knowledge. Indeed, the portable computer is now the chief vehicle for pursuit of knowledge at all levels of sophistication. The persistence of an outmoded method of learning and teaching – the ancient method of a pupil sitting at the feet of a pompous and opiniated ‘master’ who demands submission as a condition for ex-cathedra instruction – is an anachronism that must go with such things as steam locomotives and horse-drawn carriages. The new method – based on companionship with computers – if fully and successfully implemented – will usher in a new age of humane education. There are, undoubtedly, a few problems – the chief of which are the high cost of a lap-top machine and the danger of young minds seeing this instrument as the gateway to forbidden visual delights. These difficulties must be overcome.

    A coda to the discussion above may be useful – we witness today a strike by University Teachers demanding salary hikes etc. that truly have little or nothing to do with the improvement of university education.

    If the salaries of these worthies are doubled, it it would be a miracle if the quality of their teaching is also ‘doubled’.

    What is needed to raise standards is to install a computerized ‘delivery system’ of the kind discussed above. Such a system will allow striking dons to remain at home for about a year – greatly easing the burden of running the current ramshackle ‘apparatus’ of higher education.
    The Island 09/08/12 R Chandrasoma”

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    Never ever increase salary for University fake professors and their kiths and kins. No PhDs, or no PhD from good ranking Universties and no publications in International high end indexed journals and not at all any professor appointment from any other country. They get these professor position by publishing small small own author published books and other outdoor dirt tractices. Even some profs do not have first degrees (PIM, J’Pura you find these Profs) more than 89% do not have PhDs. Why do you want to give salary for these jorkers. Visit Rajarata, Sabaragamuwa, Colombo, Kalaniya and all 13 Universities these professors are just nothing and school teachers are more qualified than them.

    At the moment most of the purchases for University system getting from the Companies belong to University inside poeople. Computers and chemicals are getting from company belongs to inside academics an others all same. That is why these people want more money to education (6% GDP). Why they can not allow private sector to enter higher education and compete with them.Professional degrees such as medicine, law, engineering etc should be given to private sector and government should give schloarships to students.

    Now world trend is primary and secondary education under government and higher education must be run by private sector with tight regulatory body. Please do not include fake joker professors for that. Sri lanka has the lowest qualified Profesors in terms of any international professor indicators.Therefore they deserve very less salary and salary should be link to performance and international high end journal publications, foreign exposure and PhD from right place.

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    Apparently the causes of conflict are varied and intricate and calls for expertise from the policy makers and the aggrieved party. It can be imagined that there is no dearth of expertise among the University Dons. The policy makers on the other hand have to consult other well meaning and qualified persons. Mr. C.A.Chandraprema seems qualified as he seems to have studied the situation, though critically.
    One would expect that the University Dons will approach the problem with pragmatism and righteousness. It goes without saying that all of us share a deep cultural respect for teachers; in this instance the Dons of the Universities.

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    This is in response to the request of RW to comment on the idea of Chandraprema.Universities are sites for generation and dissemination of knowledge. That is why we have all these arguments about research publications. The computers cannot generate knowledge, but help in dissemination of generated knowledge. It is foolish for anybody to expect computers to take over the function of academics.

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    A very insightful article.

    There is a brouhaha going over the academic credentials of University academics, and regarding their research abilities. Although it is out of the main scope of this article , that point has been risen here several times.

    Most of the PhD holders do their studies in industrialized countries.Then after they come here. Do we have a direction to paddle here in Sri Lanka?

    Most of industrial countries use their technology for military advancement, medical and agricultural advancement.They do their researches for Social and economic policy making. They have very effective research institutes in every aspect of studies PhD holders and candidates can join with them to conduct their work.

    Here ,We try to merely build the wonder in Asia by lending knowledge from others. I think before building wonders we should at least teach our kids to build kites again,rather than importing Chinese stuff.

    Why should academics do research?
    can somebody who has bashed academics answer that?
    Is it mainly because part of job? , or for the sake of publications and promotions, or reputation? or for the National development?

    If it is national development in which direction ?????

    “Isn’t it easy to just import from E~BAY rather than trying to build something here”

    Looking at the surface of problem and bashing at academic people is so pathetic.

    There are some shortsighted comments regarding academics and researches in Universities. Due to the lack of incentives and country’s import policies there is no nursery for researchers to develop.
    Lack of teaching staff is making it a vicious loop, pressing academic staff for teaching rather than researching.
    It is easy to take few cases and extrapolate it over the whole university system.

    Before using your language such harshly against a set of people who have served this country under much hardships shows something wrong in the mind set of society.

    The figure of 1,60 000 can cover up the underlying issues, but in favor of WHOM? Academics will get that salary any way.
    They try to press government to make maximum use of that money.

    There is a bigger picture here rather than the salary.

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    Without any single publications in international indexed journal professor salary and title used by more than 94% of Sri Lankan Professors. It is shame, HE President sack all these fake professors and say them to prove that they have to have at least 15 articles in international indexed journals and PhD from good ranking University.

    Sack these jokers from Sri Lankan academic mafia an clean Universties from family business. These are public funded Institutions tax payers pay salary.

    The main problem with government low quality Universties are wrong people in Lectuer/professor positions.

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    An excellent article and an eye-opener. However, there is none blinder than those who will not see.

    First, we are hit below the belt by being deprived of our salaries. This is a gross violation of our Fundamental Human Rights.

    Now we are in ‘cuckoo land’! People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. ‘Cuckoo land’ is inhabited by those who have no love for the masses that will be adversely affected if free-education and university autonomy is jeopardized. Private universities are money making institutions sans a desire to preserve academic excellence. Leadership training means a horrific militarization of schools and universities, which is the anti-thesis of democracy. A lot more can be said…!!

    Many academics have forgone lucrative jobs abroad and come to serve their country of birth. The writer is one of them. If sacrificing material gain for selflessness and loyalty to ones country means we are living in ‘cuckoo land’, Mother-Lanka will be indeed proud to welcome us.

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