20 October, 2020

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In The Country Of The Entitled: Education Vs. Jogging Paths

By Lakmali Hemachandra

Lakmali Hemachandra

Lakmali Hemachandra

Free education was introduced to the country in 1947, after the second world war ended, when European and American bourgeoisie were recovering from political and economic chaos, that included  war, fascism, many attempted proletarian revolutions that failed and one that succeeded. It was not without a struggle that the Free Education Act was passed into law, even if it was the most favourable time for the welfare state, with Keynesian economic reforms revitalizing the British and American economies with the New Deal and the Soviet Russia threatening the liberty of capitalism. Education was a privilege of the few before free education; it was the privilege of the rich and the privilege of men.  What free education did for the country sets Sri Lanka apart from India in the social progress it reached post-independence. In Indi a the literacy rates never reached more than a mere 50%, education was not made accessible for discriminated sections of the society such as women and low castes and therefore education as a social mobilizing force and a force of modernization was never actualized in India. Contrarily, Sri Lanka has a very high rate of literacy and whatever the discriminations women might suffer in this country, education opportunities has never been one of them since the introduction of the Free Education Act in 1947.

Unfortunately, some, especially the sons and daughters of those who rose to such heights with the help of free education now call it a part of the mentality of entitlement that the people of this country suffer from, and claim that it will only be cured when they are made to pay for their education. Minister S.B.Dissanayake might be the loudest among them but in a country where privilege wins over the rights of the people, he is certainly not alone.

The fundamental question with regards to privatizing education is whether it is a right or a privilege? If it is a right then any discrimination against accessing education should be abolished by the state and it should be ensured that every child and every citizen of this country is entitled to an equal right to education that is not based on their race, religion, sex or their parents’ wealth and that mentality of entitlement that is chided by most will come in handy in the protection of the right to education.  If it is a privilege then the state is relieved of this responsibility and education is thrown into our private spheres, to be handled according to our capabilities, which would inevitably mean that education will be the privilege of the rich. How does this happen?  A large number of the Sri Lankan population are underpaid and low income earners. Paying tuition for schools and universities will leave them with no other option than not sending their children to a school or not getting a higher education for their children even if they want to. Privatization of education would mean that opportunities in education are sold at a price to only those who can pay, because money, rather profit, is the only concern of private institutions. If restricting education opportunities based on sex is wrong, if restricting education opportunities based on race and religion is wrong, then why is it acceptable that education opportunities will be restricted based on wealth? What is so good about money that it can encroach the rights of millions of people? Why does money always feel entitled when we the people are made to doubt our rights and beaten up when we demand better living conditions?

In the evening if one goes to the Independence Square, there are people running and walking up and down the newly built jogging paths that must have cost a fortune. If you take a slow walk down one of these paths, you are bound to get pushed by a walker or a runner because for them, that path is not made for the pedestrians who are walking about the city, trying to get to wherever they want to go, not for the students who are dressed in long kurthas and t-shirts, not for those who want to take a slow walk like we all used to around the independence square. The new Independence Square, the one that has new paths and new tiles, is reserved for the joggers and power walkers and they use it with such an air of entitlement.  There was a time when the square welcomed both joggers and wanderers but these days, after the renovations the wanderers have disappeared from the scene.

A better metaphor cannot be used to speak of the consequences of privatizing education. In spite of the deluded promises of the Higher Education Minister and opportunistic arguments of a privileged few, nowhere on earth has privatization resulted in better opportunities for the people, the story always ends with a win for the rich, the free market and capital. The existing free education system itself is plagued with privilege, with the tuition industry taking its toll on school education. It has become necessary to pay thousands in tuition fees to pass the A/L exam with good enough results to make it to a university and as the competition tightens, more and more students with good grades are finding themselves on the wrong side of the cut off marks. The government without  taking measure to upgrade the quality of school education in order to protect equal rights in education is busy selling what is left of the free education system and the more we pay for education at the school level, more we start believing that money should be able to buy us a higher education as well. The more privilege we attach to education, the more people lose out on the benefits of education. It is not true that privatization opens up opportunities for everyone; it only opens up opportunities for those who can pay, for the ones who already enjoy many forms of privilege in the society.

Social welfare like education and health are already paid for by the people, that is why the government charges tax on everything we eat and drink, to educate people, to treat them when they’re sick, to help the poor, to improve our living conditions. However, the government while engaged in a process of creating and furthering privilege for a few using the same money that is charged from the working class throws the accusation of entitlement back at the people when they demand that the taxes charged from them will be spent on what benefits them. Instead, the whole of Colombo is renovated for the Commonwealth Summit; the Independence Square is renovated for the joggers, highways are built for those who can afford the speed, restaurants are built for those with a taste for fine dining. Not only are the people cheated off the benefits they pay for, their rights to dissent is usurped. The same roads that are closed down for night races, so that the President’s sons can live their fantasies of formula 1 racing, are denied to the students who want to hold protest marches against privatization of education.

Those who shamelessly defend privilege in a country of despots must remember that every cent not spent on the people is being spent on widening the power of a tyrannical regime, every cent not spent on education is funding the enormous defense budget, that tightens the noose around democracy in this country, every cent not spent on protecting the rights of the people is spent on creating privileges that will necessarily violate the rights of the people.  It is important that we feel entitled, not just to education, but to so much more, to healthcare, employment, housing, environment, food, water, public space, justice, love and dignity. It is only through feeling entitled that we will find the strength to claim these rights and to make the government work for the people, instead of the people shouldering the weight of the government as it happens now. It is important that we fight for our rights and against privilege, or else, much like the wanderers and young students who have disappeared from the Independence Square, the poor the underprivileged and the vulnerable will simply disappear from the scene.

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Latest comments

  • 14
    0

    Lakmali, this indeed is very good piece. Nowadays, its very rarely that one comes across well-crafted articles of this nature. You indeed will make a good socially-conscious journalist. More power to your elbow!

    • 3
      0

      Lakmali,

      I admire you, you are a socially concerned citizen of Sri Lanka, and you have intelligent views on education. Free education in Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the world has helped develop the human capital, especially in Western societies.

      Take Singapore, for example, it reached the 1st world status form being a 3rd world one in the fifties. Today it has one of the highest per capita wealth in the world. It is considered a capitalist society with a safety net for the poor. How did they achieve it, while we were better off than them in the fifties and still in the dungeons?

      Singapore was lucky to have Lee Kuan Yew, a leader with vision since independence, though he was high handed at times, he was always focused on uplifting the nation, while we had chauvinistic leaders who divided the society along ethnic lines and ruined it.

      Singapore is not a welfare society, but education in schools is virtually free up to Advanced Level. Gifted students are identified early and given scholarships to support and as incentive to study all the way to the University. At the university or polytechnic level students are given loans by banks backed by the government to be paid back when they start working. So the university education is not a burden on the taxpayer, but all the deserving children can go to the university. They find near full employment for their graduates.

      Singapore government even sends abroad the top graduates on scholarships for further specialized education. Singapore from its inception wanted to expand the economy to be bring prosperity to its citizens: Chinese, Malay and Indian, mostly Tamils. So everybody gets a piece of the cake and the system runs on meritocracy and the economy keeps on expanding.

      Singapore also employs large number of graduates from neighboring countries: Thousands of Tamils from Sri Lanka who were discriminated back home got employed here. It’s a pity the citizens who got free education in Sri Lanka are not wanted there but received with open arms in Singapore.

      Sri Lanka lacked honest leaders with vision to build a united nation. In Singapore the armed forces take substantial number of Tamils, while Sri Lanka did otherwise.

      In conclusion, Singapore model for education is good, it doesn’t leave any deserving student rich or poor: In fact their only source is human capital, and they are proud of it!

      Even their economic model, though capitalistic, provides a safety net for the poor for health, housing and old age welfare. Even the poorest gets affordable housing.

      Singapore also attracts top talents, capital, industries, techology, medical industries, etc, so that the country can go on prospering and keep pace with the advanced countries. They have become a mini magnet for entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world, just like the US does in a big way.

      Today Sri Lanka is full of corrupt immoral leaders, not only that it attracts the unscrupulous from the opposition also. This mafia style regime cannot last too long, the end may be sooner than later. The so-called development is to get commissions for the fat boys in the ruling clan. Law is not enforced well.

      So, first and foremost Sri Lanka must find a leader who has vision to uplift the society, rich and poor, without discrimination based based on race religion, sex or any other factor. But, will it be able to find an honest courageous leader with vision to do it? The society has been corrupted over the last 65 years without redemption.

      Let’s wait and see. It will be a miracle if one such leader is found.

      • 0
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        Correction: In paragraph 8, instead of ‘source’ it should read resource.

      • 0
        1

        Thru

        dont suck the singapore balls . what is done in Singapore cant happen in any other country . it is very small place ruled by an iron fist .

        and dont say just tamils work in singapore . a lot of Sinhalese work there too . I did for 8 years . it is not the heaven you make it out to be .

        The funny thing about the foolish tamils is this .

        The complain about militarization of Sri lanka and forget to mention that the armed forces of Singapore runs almost every industry . and infact most of these high ranking officers are Chinese .

        Just check out how the opposition in singapore is treated . If you live in an opposition ward they dont even clean the elevators and get treated like pigs .

        as for the Education systems . it is decent but I would not say it is any better than Sri Lanka . Most of the grads from universities in singapore want to be managers and dont want to do technical jobs .

        Infact I have worked with many grads from different countries and I will say without reservation sri lankan grads are some of the best that I know . I will never have a problem hiring one .

        • 2
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          Abhaya

          You can learn a thing or two from the lyrics of Another Brick In the Wall

          by Pink Floyd

          Another Brick in the Wall Lyrics – Part 1 (Waters) 3:41

          Daddy’s flown across the ocean
          Leaving just a memory
          Snapshot in the family album
          Daddy what else did you leave for me?
          Daddy, what’d’ja leave behind for me?!?
          All in all it was just a brick in the wall.
          All in all it was all just bricks in the wall.

          “You! Yes, you! Stand still laddy!

          Another Brick in the Wall Lyrics – Part 2
          (Waters) 3:56

          We don’t need no educationÂ
          We dont need no thought control
          No dark sarcasm in the classroom
          Teachers leave them kids alone
          Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
          All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
          All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.

          We don’t need no education
          We dont need no thought control
          No dark sarcasm in the classroom
          Teachers leave them kids alone
          Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
          All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
          All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.

          “Wrong, Do it again!”
          “If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you
          have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?”
          “You! Yes, you behind the bikesheds, stand still laddy!”

          Another Brick in the Wall Lyrics – Part 3 (Waters) 1:17

          [Sound of many TV’s coming on, all on different channels]
          “The Bulls are already out there”
          Pink: “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrgh!”
          “This Roman Meal bakery thought you’d like to know.”

          I don’t need no arms around me
          And I dont need no drugs to calm me.
          I have seen the writing on the wall.
          Don’t think I need anything at all.
          No! Don’t think I’ll need anything at all.
          All in all it was all just bricks in the wall.
          All in all you were all just bricks in the wall.

        • 0
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          Abhaya:
          Did the “Sri lankan grads” you refer to in the piece that includes “In fact I have worked with many grads from different countries and I will say without reservation sri lankan grads are some of the best that I know . I will never have a problem hiring one” teach you or work with you?
          Sri Lanka, at best, is turning out parrots who are trained in “tuition classes” and learn by rote but they will be ideal for you and your masters because they can be led by the nose (as they are!)and have had their faculties to THINK AND QUESTION destroyed. A nation of Mee-Harak” is what we are creating!
          Don’t try to draw the red herring of Singapore’s dictatorship across the trail down which you and your masters are taking a whole generation to their total destruction as HUMAN BEINGS.

      • 1
        0

        “Take Singapore, for example, it reached the 1st world status form being a 3rd world one in the fifties. Today it has one of the highest per capita wealth in the world. It is considered a capitalist society with a safety net for the poor. How did they achieve it, while we were better off than them in the fifties and still in the dungeons?”

        Singapore redeveloped the Army camp sites, Navy Docks and Air Force runways and hangars abandoned by the British to make idustrial parks, a harbour and an air port and invited top businesses in the world to set up their Asian operations in Singapore. Expenditure on Infrastructure was paid off in no time and the country became wealthy very fast.In Sri Lanka the surplus we had was distributed free. When we wanted to be capitalists in 1977 we had to borrow. Now we are boasting that Sri Lanka is among the ten countries which offer education free.

        If Thiru wants a change then it has to start with an amendment to constitution by dropping “socialist” from the title and Executive Presidency from the system. Just plain Republic of Sri Lanka with a parliament with elected representatives and a Cabinet comprising top managers as Ministers would do because within the system two main parties can have clear policies; one becoming a center left and the other centre right. Others can be democratic, socialist, centrist, liberal, conservative, independent, racist, fundemantalist, or any damn thing under the sun. Then the debates in the parliament will be more interesting and “educative” with even the terrorists, jokers and the mafiosi having to speak on issues and policies rather than almighty leaders. Like free education there will be free for all confrontations, both verbal and physical, under the protection of parliament privileges and nobody will be charge sheeted as long as priciples of democracy are not violated. Bad words will be expunged from Hansard and bad boys will be sent out while the issues in question remaining unanswered.

  • 10
    5

    1. Does entitlement to free education include the entitlement of university students to misbehave with the public, to engage in sadistic activities and human right violations in the name of ragging, and to get involved in partisan politics and cause the breakdown of law and order?

    2. Doesn’t entitlement to free education on the basis of taxes paid by the people entail genuine commitment on the part of the university students to their studies and completion of their academic programs in a diligent and timely fashion, rather than wasting their time and tax payers’ money as is happening now?

    • 1
      1

      Point man

      Does entitlement to free education makes students to misbehave?

      Students will be students metaphorically comparing with boys. I noticed students who were in the faculties which teach medicine, law, computer sciences, engineering etc rarely striked or misbehaved.
      On the other hand, students from arts faculty were more prone to this behaviour. Mr Dissanayake, current education minister was involved in political activites during his university days. I have great respect for his talent and intelligence.

      Policies such as private medical colleges, abolishing scholarship could be progressive steps provided the government allocates atleast 10% of GDP of national budget to make sure there is a level playing field. I sincerely wish Mr Dissanayake rest of the company good luck in playing casino games with poor children.

      • 6
        0

        ken robert

        I’m not saying boys can’t be boys(or girls can’t be girls for that matter)once they enter the university. In fact they should have all the fun while they are young and attending university. Nor am I saying free education is making them misbehave as you seem to have misunderstood my question.

        My point is, at present free education in our country is being abused because of the CULTURE OF ENTITLEMENT that goes with it. Under the present system, university students (maybe mostly from the arts faculty as you suggest or maybe not) seem to display a sense of entitlement to feel superior to the general public, and feel entitled to bully and intimidate whoever they come into contact to have their way. It’s like the rest of the society owes it to them because they have entered the university …. that they have sort of “arrived.”

        But I think it should be the other way around especially because they are getting free education. They must feel they owe it to the society to value the opportunity given to them, cherish the education they are getting and respect the rights of others living in that society. Don’t get me wrong. I am against privatizing education. If anything I’d like to see the current system of free education in the country strengthened. What I’m saying is the whole CULTURE OF ENTITLEMENT around free education should be changed towards one that is truly conducive to learning and beneficial to the society at large. We should have a learning environment where an open mind and critical inquiry are encouraged rather than suppressed. Tolerance, understanding and pluralism should be encouraged rather than prejudice, discrimination and fundamentalism of any sort. I don’t think any learning can take place where there is fear, intimidation, and the denial of human rights.

        I know an unfortunate incident that took place at the University of Peradeniya just last month that illustrates what I’m trying to say. A Sri Lankan woman now living in the US was visiting our country with her 23 year old son. He is an undergraduate student in the US and this was his first visit to Sri Lanka. They were touring the Peradeniya campus. A relative of her, a young man from Colombo who is also in his twenties was taking them around the campus. The woman was wearing pants and a shirt and the two young men were wearing dress shorts UP TO THEIR KNEES as it was quite hot that day. It was a regular working day and people were going about their normal business. When they were walking near the arts faculty buildings they were accosted by two young men who had been following them. The two men looked like university students from the way they were dressed. Probably they had overheard the three visitors speak in English. Other than that nothing else would have made them stand out among those moving around. Because all three of them look like typical Sri Lankans. The two young men told them in Sinhala to leave immediately or else there would be trouble. Obviously shocked the young man from Colombo who knows Sinhala asked them why, and they were told shorts were not allowed on campus. They again warned them to leave or else there would be trouble. Immediately the three left as they got really scared. The visit to Sri Lanka which had been mostly pleasant, especially to the young man, up to that point, turned sour immediately. The young man who was looking forward to visit more often, now has second thoughts. He cannot just believe such a thing could happen especially on a university campus.

        I don’t know if the unfortunate incident is indicative of a general trend or just an isolated occurrence. But we have to ensure that the taxpayers’ money is not being used to promote any form of fundamentalism or xenophobia in the name of free education.

    • 2
      1

      Depends on what we consider education and how it is to be provided. If it is like weevil infested , half-baked bun, given free, then it can do more harm, as our present system of so-called education does . Everything paid for need not be good and as are things given free. The quality and objectives are that matter. Garbage is garbage whether paid for or offered free.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 0
      0

      Tax payers’ money is spent on free education, free health, susidized public transport and social security for low income. salaries of personnel employed by the state to run theses services are also paid by tax payers. When they “misbehave” point men cricize the government for mis-management. Why only pick university students for misbehaviour? Who sow the seeds of misbihaviour? Parents spend upto millions to get their children admitted to popoular and national schools which offer free education. (This has now spread to rural schools and I have come to know of a head of a primary school in Akmeemana charging Rs. 5,000/= from parents of each student admitted to year one in 2013.) Is it not misbehaviour of parents and school administrators? What can be expected from the children of misbehaving parents attending state funded schools headed by misbehaving principals?

      As for timely completion of university education, there are many other points to consider.
      a)When the dons and non-dons go on strike it is not misbehaviour. It is a struggle for demands.
      b)When a university is closed due to agitation by students it is misbevaiour on the part of students.
      c) Universities are considered as centres for producing intellectuals and if so the graduate intellectuals who voice their concerns of social injustice but misbehaved during their uni days are misbehaving.

      The list is long.

      Point Man, If you were a uni student please go back to your uni days and be happy that you have developed the ability to express your independent opinion because of your uni education and uni life.

    • 0
      1

      Only very few uni students misbehave. Don’t use that to blame the entire population of students.

  • 0
    1

    3. And does the Free education account for the monies spent on individuals who go abroad raping the country of its resources and serve other countries? Footnote: At the time free education was introduced no one moved abroad, the money spent stayed in the country, is it the case now?

    • 1
      0

      This is a somewhat strange sentiment I’ve seen expressed only by people of third-world countries such as ours. Does studying in a state-subsidized education mean that one is to abandon all personal dreams and aspirations and stay enslaved in their own country? Is there some unwritten contract somewhere that says you must stay in Sri Lanka and work if you studied in the state system? Why? Yes, the person in question studied at the taxpayers’ expense, but why must he stay in a country that is constantly plagued by a society that insists on sending the most uneducated thugs into the upper rungs of power? Do you have any idea how hard it is to work/live in a system like this where it’s whose behind you kiss instead of how good you are at your job? Or are you yet another armchair critic safely working in the private sector, venting your ill-informed and ‘patriotic’ statements to look like you care about your country?

      If you really want to stop people leaving the country, act in such a way to overturn the way things are run in Lanka. If you’re not prepared to do that, then i can recommend a few place where your opinion can go.

    • 0
      0

      Sssshhhh!!!

      Housemaids who received free education and employed in the middle east are compensating with remittances. The government is very happy to spend that money to provide employment to local unemployables.

      • 0
        0

        ‘The Professional’:-

        “The government is very happy to spend that money to provide employment to local unemployables.”

        You hit the nail on the head.

        We are paying our ‘local unemployables’ to Run our Country as Politicians!

  • 0
    4

    Hello Lakmali, development in one sector need not to be at the expense of another.Recently I read somewhere ” If you sit for more than 11 hours a day, there’s a 50% chance you’ll die within the next 3 years”. Over the years, we are seeing more and more people doing desk-bound jobs spending more time on the job. Hence IMHO, walking paths, particularly around larger cities in any country is equally – or even more – important than education…

    • 0
      0

      let them all walk to school

  • 0
    0

    Timely article Ms. Lakmali. The education system has not seen much improvements keeping with needs of the evolving demand. However there has been certain changes in the recent past which are commendable.

  • 1
    0

    Free education has it positives and negatives…people dont discuss the negative effects of ”free” education…If a person can afford education then that individual has the right to ”freely have his/her education.

  • 1
    0

    Education in this country is NOT and never was free. Where does the government get its money? Taxes. Who pay the taxes? And when a new term starts, does the school provide all of the necessary books (a plethora of them)? No, the parents are given a book list and off to the book stores they go, spending several thousand rupees on a year’s worth of books. The government provides maybe one school uniform–where do the other uniforms come from and the shoes (which are not cheap)? And the children do grow a lot over the course of a year. And why do families who can afford it send their children to private (non-government)schools? Very simple: the government schools are crappy. These crappy schools then force parents to pay for private tuition, often with the same teachers that teach in the government schools. And these private tuition centers? Their classes are often as large as the classes in the regular school. And what do you expect in the way of good learning when many children are at bus halts at 5:30 a.m and do not get home till 3 p.m. and then they get shuttled off to “real” classes at 5 p.m.? And then they have more classes on Saturdays and then off to religious classes for half of a Sunday. The poor children of this country suffer because the various ministers are too busy playing politics to see the basic facts I have just outlined and do nothing about solving the problems. There is nothing free here, but the government might use the monies it does get to better advantage to reduce the burden on a large segment of this country’s populace.

    • 0
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      Education is not free here, because what the state offers as education is supported by a massive and parallel private tuition industry. Private tuition has become a cultural necessity the island over, without which both parents and students will feel deprived and disadvantaged,

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

      • 0
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        RN

        private tution is an option . its not a requirement even though some seem to view it as if it were .

        • 0
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          It has become a national industry! It has become a compulsive option in society. It has also started to creep into the university system!

          Dr.RN

  • 0
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    Quote :1. Does entitlement to free education include the entitlement of university students to misbehave with the public, to engage in sadistic activities and human right violations ……….

    Does entitlement to free education entitle the students to take up arms against the state when they had been denied and oppressed by the high caste for a long time ?????????????????????????

    Any way Lakmali, this article has been compiuled well by the Aimless Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on your behalf.

    You, Lakmali, KPJ and BF hound in packs ……….

  • 1
    1

    I am a beneficiary of the free education systems and indeed it is one of the Gems that we need to protect and one that makes up better than most countries of the world . but I am afraid /lakmali is misrepresenting facts . There is no attempt to privatize the whole system . I think what they are trying to do is add more universities that are fee paying . The free education systems cannot produce in sufficient numbers the qualifications needed for a new growing country . Would lakmali be happier of she and others had to pay more taxes to increase the University intake ? I think not .

    And what any of this has to do with the beautification of the city , and personal health I completely fail;l to see . Anybody should have a freedom to be a couch potato and die of heart disease but they should not begrudge the others who try to live healthy .

    • 2
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      Though I am not much educational, I am thinking … I understand why the writer Lakmali talking about jogging (you know ‘running’)and jogging paths when she wants to talk about education. It is not connect to the idea of education of coarse. My Naana say Lakmali is using ‘jogging’ as a metafor …. you know like in poetry. The writer is saying if private education comes, it will be difficul for poor peepul to get education, just like today poor peepul can’t walk near Independen Isquire becos all the space is taken by rich joggers. You know it is comparison.

      Looking like ‘Free Education’ didn’t work well for poor Paul and Rajash. But one day they will get there. See, I study only to GCE ordinary. But don’t you think I am slowly …. slowly …. getting better.

      (Gaminiya, please give me a little more time.)

  • 0
    0

    Amazing article… i cant deny the truth of some strong points u make. But on a note of slight disagreement. The present system of education is characterized with high level of competition. A child from age 5 onwards is running a race and our pressured by parents and society to do so. all this competition is for proper education and as state education is limited and all compete for it. The higher education feild is even more competitive as only 17 percent gain access to universities run by the state. Yes i agree that the state is bound to increase this number… But then again Qualitative Private education is also a viable solution in this regard. What i mean by qualitative private education :

    * Private educational institutes regulated by the state and ensured that they maintain proper standards of teaching.

    * Ensure that these institutes maintain affordable charging rates ( an example of this model would be NIBM)

    * Provide scholarship programs for at least 10 percent of students from the total student intake into these institutions.

    By this way the congestion on state education would be reduced and students would be relieved of the high amounts of stress they undergo during a/l examinations at present. Also the current 17 percent number of students who receive higher education would significantly rise as well. As your example of jogging tracks those who use the jogging tracks and the normal pavement would all be able to reach the same destination at the same time and enjoy the fruits of social mobilization and education.

    However despite how wonderful this idea is we cannot be optimistic as we do know that this government is incapable of both what u propose or what i think is best. So therefore despite how much we care for the future of Sri Lanka s education all our thoughts and hopes are useless as our beloved leaders do not share the same concern .

  • 1
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    Free education produce just unthinkable jokers. It is a mafia in Universities and family business. Take Colombo University Arts faculty family dept. emeritus and his kingdom with kins and kiths. In Paid education you do not see this mafia and family business. You do not have any right to say that you got low quality free education therefore others have no rights to get high quality paid education.

  • 0
    0

    Lakmali,

    It is universally accepted that education opens pathways to knowledge, helps one to think for oneself, teaches one to act responsibly, helps to experience diversity, helps see different points of views and the need for tolerance, allows one to learn from the mistakes of those before, helps discipline the mind, to reason and to act rationally, develop social skills and interaction with others and ultimately liberate the mind.

    Of course there a hundred other benefits attributed to education as well.

    Hmmm, makes me laugh though, when you really apply above to the Sri Lankan situation. Sad to say education has not had the desired effect on the Sri Lankans. Instead of becoming liberated we have become myopic, instead of learning tolerance we are more intolerant, without learning from mistakes of others we commit even graver mistakes. Therefore Lakmali, whether education in Sri Lanka is free or otherwise is irrelevant. The end result is still going backwards.

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    As exemplfied in this article there is a widening gap between our senile pot bellied politicians and the youth who are the future of our nation. Whilst our politicians would prefer to wine and dine in upmarket boutiques and whiz around in Lamborghinis and get rid of the exess consumption by jogging, our youth are crying out for a better future, decent education and job opportunities.

    To the youth the hypocrisy and injustice of the system is plain to see. Privilege begets privilege and those who hold the ladle serve themselves and their kith and kin. Ther is no doubt that the income gap in this country is widening with political power, family ties, tribalism and religous bigotry playing a leading role. If the needs of the youth are not met another ’71 may be in the making.

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    Be careful honey and don’t incur too much wrath lest you become another Lasanthaor a statistic!

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    Lakamli,

    Congratulations on a brilliantly written article.

    How free is our ‘free education’, when it’s of such poor quality, that parents are forced to pocket out thousands every moth, on private tuition?

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    Jogging paths must win to make the fat guys thin.

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    If you were born poor in the USA , after high school ,one would start working for minimum wage ,
    buy a car – a necessity- on a loan, go to a College on a loan work day and night to pay for housing food and loans.
    If you get a Degree and no job ,still you have to pay the loans.
    Education is a business. Rich goes to Ivy league, their life is all set .

    Srilankans reality is based on Srilankan culture, good and bad .

    Don’t burrow white mans systems , thinking they are superior.

    Even Singapore is really a small place ruled by an iron fist , well disguised as a democracy , no lng standing culture .
    They are a out post of the West .
    Initial investments came from brothels that serviced the US army .

    Be proud of what you have.

    Take what is good from China to India to the West .

    Don’t believe in white or British or anybody’s supremacy .

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