18 November, 2018

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Future Of The Engineering Faculty At Oluvil

By Aboobacker Rameez

Dr. Aboobacker Rameez

Dr. Aboobacker Rameez

The Future of the Engineering Faculty of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Oluvil

I am writing in reference to a recent article appearing in Colombo Telegraph on the 27th November, 2015, entitled “Minister Kiriella: Engineering At Oluvil To Be Closed And Students Shifted”. I felt that this article was inimical not only to all those students pursing their studies at the university, but also to all those who have been working there as part of the university community. It seriously dents the image of the university.

I believe that some of the concerns of the Engineering students of SEUSL/Oluvil are valid. Nevertheless, their demands and reactions are unreasonable and disproportionate.

New faculties and new university do encounter challenges at the outset

It is common that new faculties or universities, when they are first established, encounter numerous challenges in terms of lack of physical and human resources. I know of a medical faculty in a university in the Eastern Province, when it was founded in 2005, was faced with a lot of challenges. It had only one consultant and a PhD holder. The rest of the teaching staff, all, had only undergraduate degrees. This predictably caused a lot of hue and cry from the students and parents. Nevertheless, this medical faculty continued to operate under these difficult circumstances for a few more years before the situation began to improve and completely changed for better. At present, this medical faculty is equipped with over ten consultants with either post-graduate or doctoral degrees. Its students are now fully satisfied. The same was also the case when the Engineering Faculty was first established in another University in 1997. 

The Engineering Faculty of South Eastern University has now got fifteen academic staff. Of them, five are senior lecturers. Three of them hold doctoral degrees, and another three graduate degrees. Those with undergraduate degrees are reading for their masters in various reputed universities. The quality and quantity of the teaching staff are expected to improve fast. The new incentive offered by the UGC recently, in a circular, to senior academic staff working at the Engineering Faculties of other universities but are willing to move to the SEU is a great move in the right direction. There is also the likelihood of a coordinator being appointed to oversee visits by the visiting lecturers from other universities. There are a lot of positive steps being taken. Therefore, it is important that students take note of all these positive developments before they engage in any activism.

Updated Curriculum

I learn that the curriculum of the faculty was designed by a team of prominent consultants, numbering over twenty from Moratuwa, Peradeniya, Open and Ruhuna Universities; and that it is on par with curricula in world-class Engineering universities. A delegation, which included the State Minister of Higher Education and a Senior Professor of engineering, recently visited the university to look into the issue at hand. It was fully satisfied with the curriculum of the faculty. Criticism about the quality of the curriculum seem to have no sound basis.

Lab equipment and machineries

Another concern of the students is the lack of equipment and machineries. But the faculty is equipped with modern equipment and machineries, purchased at colossal cost. Under new governmental allocation, procurement process is still underway to purchase more modern equipment.

Visiting lecturers are experts in their specific field

The visiting lecturers are experts in their fields, and are already employed at Moratuwa, Colombo and Ruhunu Universities. It is true that having visiting lecturers result in conducting of classes during the weekend, and that cancellations too occur due to unforeseen circumstances preventing them from arriving in the university on scheduled times and days. This issue, without no question, should be addressed forthwith. Nevertheless, there is no question about the professional integrity and suitability of these visiting lecturers.

Ample Opportunity for Linkages with Industries

There have been some criticism against the choice of Oluvil as a location for an engineering faculty. But Oluvil is in the coastal areas of Ampara district, which was very badly affected by both the civil war and the tsunami in 2004. Ampara district is currently home to a lot major construction and reconstruction works, which provide ample opportunity for civil engineering students to have onboard training. Ampara is also the home to Hingurana Suger Factory (Galoya Plantation), Bio Mass (Bio Energy Power Plant), Inginiyagala Power Plant, and a number of rice mills, all of them offer many and varied opportunities for engineering students to undertake their training in.

Closing down the engineering faculty, or even shifting it, is impracticable; and has no precedence in Sri Lanka. Should it happen it would establish a bad precedence making it difficult for new faculties being established elsewhere in the future. In addition, finding placements for the three hundred students would be a monumental task. Even if some of them were to find placements in other universities, the differences in the curricula would make it harder for them to pursue their studies. 

It is true that there are valid concerns, but calling for the shifting or even closing of the faculty is not the best solution. Better solutions can be found by the students engaging the authorities in dialogue and negotiations. I personally know that the University authorities are receptive to the valid concerns of the students. The intense nature of their reaction to the problems would do more harm than good. Boycotting lectures would delay the completion of their degrees; and when they pass out later than the planned year, they might be entering a saturated job market.

It is to be noted that, according to a Tamil website, the Minister of Higher Education and Highways, Hon. Laksman Kiriella, has yesterday dismissed the news about the closing down of the Faculty of Engineering, SEUSL and requested that students and parents be not misled by such fabricated stories. He also promised that the faculty, like other faculties, would be upgraded with all necessary requirements in the future.

Moreover, the Higher Education Ministry, the University Grand Commission and the university authorities need to seriously look into the concerns of the students and address them immediately. The circular issued by the UGC recently, promising incentives to those senior academic staff wanting to join the faculty of engineering at SEUSL, and the appointment of a coordinator are both welcome gestures. I am optimistic that the university authorities would do everything they can to address the concerns of the students to their fullest satisfaction.

*Dr. A.Rameez is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Department of Social Sciences, SEUSL.

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Latest comments

  • 33
    1

    Engineering faculty is not like Arts and commerce faculties. because it is more into practicals and training so it should have adequate equipment, otherwise the poor students will definitely suffer from poor faculty of SEUSL.

  • 23
    1

    I can say only my deepest sympathy for Faculty of Engineering South Eastern University of Sri Lanka & the future students..!!

  • 35
    1

    Sir, I welcome your decision of improving our faculty. But we are really sick of those solutions because we haven’t seen any significant developments carried out after all these 2.5 years.
    Only the lecturers amount kept on decreasing.
    The visiting lecturers who came first time are not willing to come for second time. They have complained us about the lecture halls and distance of travelling.
    You are promising that developments will be carried out. We warlmy welcome , and we are happy to see such develpements.
    BUT so far after 2.5 years we haven’t seen anything.
    Incapability to run an engineering faculty in SEUSL is now obvious.

    So why should we suffer?
    What was our mistake other than coming to this university..?
    Why are you making us suffer?

    Suspend our academic activities now and shift us to a most suitable ,
    CAPABLE university for engineering studies.

    Develop SouthEastern University at least up to the standard to run a engineering faculty as you promised.
    Then re intake students.
    That’s all we are asking sir.
    Hope you’ll understand

  • 25
    1

    1)Do you know that, the curriculum is being criticized by the visiting lecturers and the other professionals in the engineering field.

    2)LAB EQUIPMENTS: HA HA HA WHAT A JOKE**************
    What do you know about lab equipments aah….? There are a few equipments, even though, there are no instructors to operate it, and no electricity is provided yet.

    3)VISITING LECTURERS: HA HA HA NEXT JOKE.
    Even you cannot understand this man.
    Yeah, visiting lecturers are coming, but at the end of the semester and taking one subject the whole day about 10 hours. Can you gain knowledge from that….???
    The whole semester subject is covered in three continuous days in the continuous lectures. Can you gain knowledge aah….???

    4) INDUSTRIES: Hey man, continuously you are making some fantastic jokes

    Are you coming to say that, the rice mills are the training and industrial exposure for engineering students. HA HA HA, I appreciate your level of knowledge

    Do you know that, the Bio Energy Solution is running only less than three month per year…aaahhhhhhhh…….???

    Finally, I can say that….You have made a FANTASTIC JOKE IN THE NAME OF SOMETHING …….*********HA HA HA HA

  • 3
    1

    [Edited out] Please write, instead of posting links – CT

  • 21
    1

    Sir,
    Do u know the real condition of the eng .fac in oluvil
    Howmuch of problems are surrounded by the efac students
    Onlyif u knw the real things u will know
    The above points that u are mentioned ,which are totaly wrong .dont play with engineering students’ life

  • 24
    1

    First, I would like to ask you a question. What do you know about engineering faculty in SEUSL? What do you know about us, 300 engineering undergraduates, who are crying for a quality state education???

    1) You talked about CARRICULUM? Are you one of the students, who are studying under that CARRICULUM? Do you know that, the curriculum is being criticized by the visiting lecturers and the other professionals in the engineering field.

    2)LAB EQUIPMENTS: DAMN Joke ever….
    What do you know about lab equipments, SEUSL E-Fac have aah….? There are a few equipments, even though, there are no instructors to operate it, and no electricity is provided yet for some machines, and they don’t have EVEN technicians with LICENSE to operate those machines?

    3)VISITING LECTURERS: You look sooooo funny…
    Even you cannot understand this man.
    Yeah, visiting lecturers are coming, but at the end of the semester and taking one subject the whole day about 10 hours. Can you gain knowledge from that….???
    The whole semester subject is covered in three continuous days in the continuous lectures. Can you gain knowledge aah….??? And, visiting Lecturers are not giving interest to come back for the next batch.. YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS TOO MUCH… IF YOU CAN, JUST FIND ONE LECTURER FOR THIS FACULTY, I challenge you.

    4) INDUSTRIES: Hey man, continuously you are making some fantastic jokes
    Do you think, the rice mills are the training and industrial exposure for engineering students. HA HA HA, I appreciate your level of knowledge.

    Do you know that, the Bio Energy Solution is running only less than three month per year…aaahhhhhhhh…….???

    Finally, I can say that….You have made a FANTASTIC JOKE IN THE NAME of something Shit….

    DON’T play with 300 students’ lives.

  • 20
    0

    Sir,
    We apperciate u for ur kindness to develop the eng fac in oluvil.But u dont know the real things behind this faculty.300 students future lifes are destroied here.we couldnt have shown a development if we have passed 2.5 years .so please understand the real situation of the efac.

  • 23
    1

    Why can’t an engineering faculty staff or an engineer give responsible answer for issues raised by students?

    Dr. Rameez him self is a product of SEUSL. As a sociology lecturer, this article itself, is self explanatory for his inadequate understanding about engineering and related industry.

    By referring rice mills, sugar factory, 1 MW small power plant, and reconstruction works as a amble industry opportunities for a Engineering undergraduates, writer himself explain the lack of industry exposure and severe facilities shortages, experienced by engineering undergraduates in SEUSL.

    Further more, like writer argues, the nature of E-faculty and engineering industry is not like medical faculty. Even though Batticoloa medical faculty faces several resource shortage, the first batch students have been posted to their intern already and they have 100% assurance on job posting on government hospitals.

    But unlike medical faculty, in order to serve the society, every engineering graduate has to compete in market to find their job regardless of government or private or foreign. For this, quality of education, technical exposure, industry exposure, knowledge in engineering science is very important. To compete with other established university graduates, a new faculty has to provide at least minimum exposure to their students. But these exposures are very though ask from pre-term baby like SEUSL E-Faculty.

    Apart from available three doctoral lectures in SEUSL E-Faculty, others doesn’t have even minimum acceptable experience in academic. Most of the lecturers are just a BSc engineers with 0-3 years industry working experience and zero academic exposure. Above all some of the senior lecturers’ appointment itself is questionable. Without any academic experience, some are posted to Senior Lecturer Grade-1 position, which is normally given to Doctors with extensive academic experience in other Faculties. This lack of academic resource is a huge concern for a quality of education. While other e-faculty students gaining their advanced engineering knowledge from highly experienced and knowledge rich doctoral academics, in SEUSL E-faculty, even third year subjects are taught by just passed-out BSc engineer. How can you expect a quality education with these lectures and resources?

    While in a batch, other 1000+ students are gaining good quality education and good exposure in other faculties, only 100 students are suffering in underprivileged place is not acceptable with any reason.

    This is not simple thing to play around. This is about 300 highly qualified students’ future and 1000 more students’ future who will be admitted in coming years.

    This is not just about infrastructure or lab facilities. It’s all about quality of offered education and industry exposure. Expecting these in a resource lack place like Oluvil is unrealistic.

    Students a fighting for their rights of quality education. It is up to UGC, IESL, Minister of Higher Education, Prime Minister and President to solve this issue at least now.

    Better Late Than Never.

    (On a personal note, I’m from Kalmunai and passed out from Peradeniya Engineering Faculty)

    • 6
      1

      Thank you so much for the understanding and your support to the engineering.

  • 10
    0

    dear sir …
    A child is carried to England soon after he/she borns and let him/her to live in that environment.After sometime that child is carried to SriLanka again and asks him/her to speak in Sinhala.Will it be possible? South Eastern engineering faculty is also doing the same. It is so far from the industry for four years and when that four years over they ask us to work in the industry. What a joke?

  • 5
    0

    Just you tell what you know mister…
    If you do not know about what university education really is, don’t make such lies.
    You guys are the type a persons who make the media a worst case…

  • 7
    0

    The solutions you mentioned above has already been told to us by our dean during our inauguration ceremony. They are just words. So far no actions have been taken.

    Why are you fooling us?
    We are not ready to believe such lies anymore.

    If you are incapable, admit it.
    Even if you don’t care about developing the faculty infrastructure(as we have seen all these 2.5 years) its fine.
    At Least care for your student’s education.

    Release us from your incapable faculty so that we would get a good education which would make us a qualified engineer.

    Its our career, It’s our life.

    If you are capable , prove it rather than just talking.
    Until you prove that those are viable solutions(never gonna happen), WE WILL NOT BACK DOWN

  • 9
    0

    Dear sir.
    As you said we understood that obviously it’s going to be late to get the degree if we continue the boycotting lectures.but already we are lagging by one year than our parallel batches in other universities but The think is we didn’t boycott the lectures before so why we are lagging by one year????? who is responsible for that.??
    Even a school can put a regular Time table but the poor faculty of engineering in seusl couldn’t. Do you know how many days our lectures had been cancelled?? why that time you didn’t come and make a statement? ?.you said another reason for the problem is ,this area badly effected by the civil war but I would like to remember the engineering faculty at kilinichchi . Doesn’t it have been effected? ??but it is being improved the speed that you cannot imagine.
    More importantly you are fighting to survive a faculty but we are fighting for our life, our future ,our dreams that we have been dreaming for more than fifteen years, our parents dreams. If you provide us a good and quality education why we are fighting? ??.. Think about sir NOT in one time but 1000000000000000000000000000000 times most immediately not by a regionalism and racism but by a educated man.HOPE YOU CAN UNDERSTAND.

  • 9
    0

    Dear sir. I clearly understood you do not care about quality of education and student life. There are lot of poor students are still depending the free education. like your people are encouraging the private education rather than the free education. One day all maths stream students will say go to the private universities rather than the SEUSL e faculty. After that only poor students who are not able to pay for private education will come there and spoil their future. That time you will mind only your own business. Can you say what are the development or good things you expect by keeping the sub-standard engineering faculty there? you said something for your own benefits.
    The university was established before 20 years, can you say what are the development made by you and this university for the area? Please do not play with students future.

  • 8
    0

    Please try to understand the real situation sir.we only want a qualified study.
    till we entered to this university we faced huge problems which cant express from words.

    Engineering is based on practicals not exams but here i feel different from another engineering faculties

    We need to learn the subjects for whole semester but some subjects were held by visiting lectures only 3/4 days around 7-10 hours continuously.then how can u expect we will gain a good knowledge? how u people produce a standard engineers to this society??

    dont spoil our 300 students life sir.we need all your support sir

  • 3
    0

    As much as I don’t believe that a lecturer of sociology, that too of Seusl to understand about the problems faced by an e fac I didn’t except such ignorant and stupid remarks by an educated personnel.
    Dear sir, the solutions that you have suggested were already vi en to us by our lecturers and the Dean himself a good two years back but nothing has been improved.in fact it’s only getting worse.
    Please don’t show your ignorance by arguing about the industrial background of oluvil.Any man with eyes and a brain can see the state of industry in oluvil.
    I’m really ashamed to see lecturers like you who have no interest in providing students with a good education but only are lecturers for money i guess.
    Im very kindly informing you that whatever cheap ways the administration is using to stop our journey will not work.we are in this together till we get a solution to our problem.kindly inform that to the administration who I guess paid you to write this article.
    And dear sir, thank you very much for showing the whole country the poor state of lecturers in seusl.

  • 5
    0

    Dear sir, please note that the tamil website you are referring to published a false article which was published without verifying it’s truth.
    We spoke with the admin of that website and they claimed that the article was sent to them from someone in akkaraipattu. Probably it was another lecturer like you who was using cheap ways.

  • 3
    0

    sir, Your concept is wrong. Don’t you know the difference between engineering and medicine?. Engineering students must compete with other faculty students to get their job. so they want best education. Here from 1st year i didn’t feel iam an engineering student.

    sir don’t put these articles without knowing the truth. ok.

    And you noted that we have modern equipment. do you know that they have all the equipment? Where is the instructors? Where is the feasibility study?

    we also know how our faculty concern the students within two years. And Don’t try to make others as foolish. And You will be know the value of qualified education when your child in this situation. don’t play with 300 student’s life. They are not playground for u. don’t spoil their life.

  • 4
    0

    As a lecturer don’t use this cheap ways to survive.

  • 0
    10

    Dr Ramees is trying to face a well organized network of students who were selected to study engineering at only Agni. Their network extends beyond our shores to a learned professor of engineering too.

  • 4
    0

    I have had opportunities to work with some examination boards in UK.
    before they introduce some subjects into any areas of study they draw the syllabus and give at least some years to make any changes… as such to establish a faculty such as medicine, engineering and agriculture… you need to have at least five years of planning and university needs to plan it well ahead of starting teaching or opening faculty.. such having some buildings and basic space is not enough.. Human resources, facilities are essential part of any faculty…

  • 1
    0

    All Sri Lankan public Universities and its staffs especially professors are fake jokers. You need to sack all fake profs and follow international criteria to appoint them: In order to be a real international professor your PhD from world top 100 University, minimum 20 articles in ISI/SCOPUS indexed journals, 10 text books with international publishers and three countries have to appoint you as a Visiting professor. But all these Sri Lankan Professors are jokers and more than 40% University Lecturers are relatives to each others and they give degrees to each other (Husband gives PhD to wife and girlfriend/mistress getting PG degree, sons, daughter and son-in law and daughter- in-law). MY3 clean University system and sack fake professors and University mafia system. Some Dept are family trees. We well know how they recruits and promoted in University Mafia. First find a person and then advertise according to his/her requirement and send aboard for their friends’ places for PhDs. Go beyond Sri Lankan airport and see International job market. Even in Middle East job market, without PhD from accredited Western University you cannot become even Assistant Lecturer. But in Sri Lanka more than 80% professors do not have PhD. The countries they (University teachers) go to do higher studies, no person is going to studies: China, Malaysia and India. You see more than 98% Sri Lankan Eng. faculty professors are IESL two journal publications based professors and these two journals are no where indexed and not recognized internationally.

    • 1
      0

      Devasiri

      Precisely.

      This is what I hear from learned people of this island. This kind of academic behavior is endemic from North to South and from East to West.

      And most of these academics and students genuinely believe Sri Lankan academic standards are way above Universities in developed world. Sadly they also argue about quality of education in their respective institutions. Battle of shrimps.

      What they don’t understand is they they need to compare theirs with best of the best universities around the world.

      Thanks.

  • 0
    0

    Sir
    You thought engineering faculty is just a building. Lots of students life and country development are behind of faculty of Engineering board.

    If seusl want engineering faculty established in trinco near chaina bay like sammanthurai science faculty.

    Pls leave the think of Faculty of Engineering is a number plate

  • 4
    0

    Dr.Rameez,

    if you want to become a “public figure” write somethings related to social and political issue here and get the benefit of so called “intellectual”.

    please don’t compare it with other faculty and justify incapable of SEUSL.

    You are from zero background in Engineering field.So it is better for you to shut the f__k up and help the affected students.

    Regards,
    On behalf of affected students.
    Sathath Mohamed Siyath.
    Doha-Qatar.

  • 2
    0

    Mr. Rameez,
    Why are you trying to demolish and destroy our endeavor to gain quality education? We are not asking for high quality education like western countries but we ask only at least equal education offered by other Sri Lankan universities.
    Mr.Rameez, what you are trying to show that you have knowledge on Engineering education. We have known about you now. What is your educational background? We can’t call you Dr. because it did a fake study for world famous university. You are from Arts faculty. You went to do phd in singapore university with scholarship. How long did you study? How long you stayed in the country and telling your supervisor that you were doing data collection. Your staff said you didn’t do interview or any data collection work but published all bogus results and created knowledge which doesn’t exists. You have done corruption in your faculty and doing gold smuggling to india.
    If you want to support and lick your dean and vc do it there but don’t try to do it with us. Otherwise we will get all your personal documents and meet UGC very soon.
    Affected Student
    Thank you guys.

  • 2
    1

    Mr.Rameez
    What does the word “Engineer” mean to you ?

  • 0
    0

    Devasiri.

    Jennings will be spinning in his grave if he finds out the present Academic set-up in our Universities!

  • 1
    0

    Dear Sir,
    Please try to understand that the students are trying to save and uphold the quality of the renowned Sri Lankan Engineering Degree.
    The Higher Education Ministry and UGC should have taken measures to ensure the good quality of education in our state universities specially the new born faculties .
    where is the QUALITY ASSURANCE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION ?????
    It is sad how some politicians have used and are still using fake developments to survive in the country.
    We have achieved to be internationally recognized to the practice of engineering by becoming a new signatory in The Washington Accord in 2014. It is the duty of every Engineering Student in this country to safeguard this and live up to the expectations.
    It is very sad to see articles like this criticizing the activities of the students of the faculty sir You Have To Be With Them at such times. We can see that you are trying to defend your university but please understand that this is not about SEUSL.

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