19 September, 2020

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FUTA Wants Academics To Take The Correct Decision On Rajapaksa Meeting

Federation of University Teachers’ Associations has today called upon the academic community to take the correct decision with regard to the President Rajapaksa‘s invitation to a so called ‘Progress Review Meeting’ schedule on December 1, 2014.

ChandragupthaThenuwara - FUTA President

ChandragupthaThenuwara – FUTA President

Issuing a statemnet today the FUTA said; “It has been brought to our notice that certain Vice- Chancellors are exerting pressure on academics to attend this meeting and we vehemently condemn such efforts. The academic community must maintain academic freedom and university autonomy at all times. The integrity of our profession and the higher education sector must not be compromised.”

We publish below the statement in full;

FUTA has learned that the Ministry of Higher Education and the UGC have issued invitations to all academics of state universities to attend a ‘Progress Review Meeting’ at Temple Trees on the 1st of December 2014 at 3.30 pm. No details of this ‘Progress Review Meeting’ have been provided.

We find the timing of such meetings extremely questionable. Previously too, a meeting was held in 2010, just prior to the Presidential Election. We consider such initiatives blatant attempts to politicise the administration of the higher education sector. If the President was serious about conducting a progress review of the higher education sector, this is certainly not the way to set about it. In fact, FUTA has been agitating since 2012 for the establishment of a Presidential Commission to review the existing higher education sector and to propose higher education policy. We find it extremely curious that such initiatives are ignored and instead, meetings of this nature are hurriedly called only once an election has been announced. Suspicions among the academic community that such meetings are simply part of the President’s election propaganda are therefore justifiable.

Of course the President has the right to engage in election propaganda and to campaign. Academics also have the right to express their political views, to advocate on behalf of their political ideologies and to even campaign on behalf of their political choices. However, the use of public funds, and public office Election Commissioner to ensure that election laws are upheld by all political parties and candidates.

We are confident that our academic community which has been fighting to preserve university autonomy and against politicisation of the higher education sector will take the correct decision with regard to this invitation to a so called ‘Progress Review Meeting’. It has been brought to our notice that certain Vice- Chancellors are exerting pressure on academics to attend this meeting and we vehemently condemn such efforts. The academic community must maintain academic freedom and university autonomy at all times. The integrity of our profession and the higher education sector must not be compromised.

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Latest comments

  • 7
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    Academics’ Progress Review called by the President ? at Temple Trees ??

    • 13
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      Well said Dr. Thenuwera and thanks for being so courageous! But you shouls say the BOYCOTT word and ask the academic community to boycott the corrupt and illegal presidential candidate – Mahinda Jarapassa.

      Also, please promote an urban aesthetics movement and an art group to paint graffiti over the posters of Mahinda Jarapassa that are POLLUTING the city of Colombo .. ask university students to paint graffiti on the posters of the Dictator and take back our streets from this criminal!

      • 1
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        Dinuk, I tried to reply to your blog direvtly underneath it but CT wouldnt accept the reply (mechanical failure?), so I hope you see this.

        I absolutely disagree with you about a BOYCOTT. It is the last thing anyone objecting to the current regime should do. It plays into the hands of those who can most easily rig the vote and it simply reduces the anti vote. The last bright spark to call for a boycott was Vasudeva at the Referendum (the occasion on which, incidentally, Basil Rajapakse crossed over to support JR – I wonder how many remember that betrayal). He didnt gather many votes as far as I can remember but he was indirectly helping the vote for the extension of the then parliament by another 6 years.

        Yes, the coming election may well be illegal, or, at least, the President’s running again, but since war has been declared you just cant stand aside and let the menacing side take the field without a blow being fought. You have to put up a fight. And you have to vote. Every unused vote is likely to be used by the govt. A boycott is simply not the way to go!

        • 4
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          Manel: I think the call from Dinuk is to boycott the meeting with MR they have been asked to attend — not the elections.

          • 4
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            Dinuk, I apologize. You were referring to the meeting with the President. How stupid of me.

            Well, as for that, I am not so sure of my position. The thing is that even if there is a call to boycott, maybe some lecturers will still attend and the others thus be identified — even if they havent already been. I would think maybe attend and see what the Prez is up to. After all, one hopes that among the so-called intelligentsia most minds are made up already about the election and arent going to be swayed by any sweet talk.

            Hopefully…………….

            Also, i one attends one knows what arguments are being put up and can wpork out how to meet them.

        • 1
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          Manel
          I think Dinuk refers to boycotting the academics’ meeting with the President and not the election.

    • 4
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      FUTA is a symptom o the intellectual decline Sri lanka suffered as a result of the 30 year war.

      The so-called academics and intellectuals who control FUTA today would not have been able to join the teaching staff of any university prior to 1983 or so. The vast majority of these so-called academics have Second Lower level degrees and some have even become “professors” with just MScs, no PhD!

      The universities need to be cleaned up as much as the general administration of the country.

      The patronage system of average academics recruiting low quality staff needs to stop to restore prestige among the academic community. They should not demand high wages way above the general population, and should drop the stupid demand for a fixed percentage of GDP on education. (What happens if health, public serice and Construction and all other sectors also demand similarly?)

      One does not become an academic or intellectual simply by joining university staff, but through one’s work and behaviour. Thats all.

      • 4
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        Is not our GL prime example academic intellectual at vice chancellor level specializing in vice?

        He will definitle be there in the meeting. You too?

    • 3
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      ChandragupthaThenuwara – FUTA President

      Stick to ypour decision.

      Do not be a lackey of the MedaliulanaMaRa.,

      Onlu a few days left

      MaRa willm lose 75/25 , the worst loss in SL History

      Write, Print and distribute the Common Sense SL 2014 Pamphlet, electronically on u tube Facebook, Twitter and bu other means.

      It is MaRa, Mara Family Dictatorship Vs. Democracy. Retire MaRa.

      Common Sense (pamphlet)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_%28pamphlet%29

      Common Sense[1] is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. In clear, simple language it explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence. It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution and became an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. Washington had it read to all his troops, which at the time had surrounded the British army in Boston. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history.[2]

      Common Sense presented the American colonists with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of whether or not to seek independence was the central issue of the day. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood. Forgoing the philosophical and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, he structured Common Sense as if it were a sermon, and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people.[3] He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity.[4] Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era”.[5]

  • 12
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    A very pertinent response by FUTA to a highly questionable approach of the President to influence academics. Let the academics unite to the last person and remain unafraid.

  • 10
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    Do not forget to take a kite with you. Give him the kites, enjoy the food and wine while he fly them on the Galle Face Green.

  • 4
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    Commendable decision from FUTA. Hold the same stand on both candidates. Don’t side with anyone, but make it an opportunity to scrutinize both, influence both on the dire needs in the field of education, and engage the public in a deep dialog about the executive presidency in its present form.

  • 4
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    My suggestion to FUTA is to attend the meeting and question the President and the minister of what they have promised and not done. Rather than giving them a open platform to address the most educated(?) in the country, question them and expose them. Also you can expose the people who wash their dirty linen, and doing despicable work for them.

  • 3
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    Some of the Academics will seek this opportunity to make a deal with the regime so that they could become VCs. UGC Chairman etc…. Look back, you can see the evidence in the recent history… “Dieu sauve le pays”

  • 2
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    Some of the Academics will seek this opportunity to make a deal with the regime so that they could become VCs. UGC Chairman etc…. Look back, you can see the evidence in the recent history… “Dieu sauve le pays”

  • 3
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    FUTA
    Thank you for standing firm on your convictions.

    I wonder why FUTA website is not updated fast enough: http://futa-sl.org/media/

  • 1
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    The ACADEMICS definitely have an important role to play in the country and no one should or allowed to exploit that RESOURCE to any personal benefit other than to the country. This country has invested in the sphere of education and created this category called “Academics” so that the country will reap the benefits. They are independent and are capable and expected to “LEAD” but not to SURRENDER to any type of pressures by individuals or groups. But, unfortunately, this is not happening in this country and the “INVESTORS”, the people have lost all what they have sacrificed. The two parties to this unforeseen calamity are the unscrupulous politicians and class of academics who have been bought over with lucrative offers of material benefits who were prepared to surrender their honesty and self respect. This is what the FUTA has to understand and take corrective measures to SERVE the country and the people. Hopefully a little bit of that understanding will prevail among all the academics.

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 1
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    FUTU represents a large segment of the intellegentsia. They have to act very clearly and show the rest of the country their independent views and set standards for the younger generation to follow
    So that the country could be driven to politics free good governance. They should not allow themselves to be bought over by anyone with free food or other giveaways.

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