3 December, 2020

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Indian Institutes Of Technology & Sri Lanka

By S. Sivathasan

S. Sivathasan

S. Sivathasan

Our minds build cathedrals before the workmen have moved a stone” Prof. Whitehead

Pursuant to a few ideas expressed in item 6 of my article ‘100 Day Plan for Ethnic Reconciliation’ dated Feb. 19, 2015, this article is written to elaborate on the subject of ‘US-Sri Lanka Friendship Institute of Technology’. It can be built and developed on the lines of the famous and prestigious IITs of India, which again were moulded in the fifties, along the lines of MIT of US.

Model and Strategy

The model employed by USA for IIT Kanpur of India is the best for the current context of Sri Lanka. A consortium of 9 leading Research Universities of the US joined together in gifting it to India. In addition, Professors from US put the IIT through the paces for a decade from 1959.

The result? In 2014, IIT Kanpur ranked 1st among India’s Engineering Colleges. As conspicuously, 3 of these 9 US Universities were ranked as bracketed 1st in the world.

For US to make the gift, the Victoria Irrigation cum Power Project shows the strategy. The high cost head works built at 130 million sterling, were financed, built and donated by UK to Sri Lanka in 1985 as a gesture of friendship.

Other gestures of goodwill and friendship are seen in Sino-Sri Lanka relations. The gift of BMICH in 1973 and subsequent additions like the Exhibition Halls by China reciprocated the benefits to China from the Rubber-Rice Pact of 1953. For foreign aid to Sri Lanka, China became the foremost donor. As an export destination for Sri Lanka, China together with Hong Kong stands 1st at $ 2,491 billion. US comes next with $ 1,546 billion. Sri Lanka imported $ 2,335 billion worth from US. She was 1st while China took 2nd place with $ 2,321 billion. (The figures are for 2012).

With a new regime in Sri Lanka, there is already a shift in foreign relations with major powers. Sustained fall out in trade, foreign aid and grants may be foreseen from the freshly forged alliances. When Sri Lanka solicits grants from the more affluent, may the first choice be for education.

Nehru’s Intellectual Leadership

Gandhi called Nehru a dreamer. Yes; he dreamt and dreamt and made many a dream a reality after India’s independence. One among the greatest is Indian Institute of Technology and he lived to see five of them fructify in his lifetime. It is these five that I seek to describe. They can be a lodestar to Sri Lanka and to her bright sparks.

The need for primacy in science and technology was foreseen by visionaries and scholars of India even before independence. In that line the intellectual who backed up ideas with finances and political authority was Nehru. He was never alone. Men of learning were in the forefront to initiate and to carry forward the programme of delivering Institutes of Technology. Not surprisingly, in Nehru’s tenure 5 IITs were established in 10 years from 1951 to 1961. They were; Khargapur, Bombay, Madras, Kanpur and Delhi. The sixth was established in 1993, after 32 years. In the 22years that followed till 2015, another 9 were established.

Academicians’ Contribution

Even as India’s movement for independence surged, men of distinction came to the fore. To them all, Nehru gave the lead with his remarkable intellect, passion for a scientific temper and his devotion to modernism. They developed a messianic faith in education as the vehicle for India’s transformation economically and socially. A consensus grew as to where focus should be directed. Providing scope for the full flowering of one’s faculties and of potential were among the objectives.

Among the earliest who had the standing to initiate the process was Sir Ardeshir Dabal. He was in the ICS who was later appointed to the Viceroy’s Executive Council. He saw prosperity in the future world coming through technology. He therefore proposed setting up the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. The Council urged the US government to offer to India hundreds of Doctoral Fellowships. However such an arrangement had its limitations. So what was conceptualized for the long term was an Institute. This thinking crystallized into the setting up of IITs.

IIT Kanpur

In time sequence the fourth that was established but the first to stand selection in this writing is IIT Kanpur. It was established in 1959 in Uttara Pradesh in the North of India. It has made a name for itself. It is ranked 1st among Engineering Colleges of India for 4 years in the last 5. It had the unique feature for having been developed by a consortium of 9 leading Research Universities in the US; including MIT, Berkeley and Carnegie Institute of Technology, (now Carnegie Mellon). The three of them are ranked bracketed 1st in the world. Other 6 are; Princeton, California Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, Ohio State University, Case Institute of Technology and Purdue University.

All nine universities helped in setting up the research laboratories and academic programmes. In addition, JK Galbraith Ambassador to India 1961- 63 helped establish one of the first computer science departments at IIT Kanpur. He also advised India on the need for computer science.

IIT Kharagpur

In point of time the first to be founded was IIT Kharagpur in 1951 in the state of West Bengal. As in every lasting achievement, the distinction the state enjoyed at that time in the world of letters together with the intellectuality of the leader and the initiative he took account for this record. The Chief Minister was Dr. BC Roy, 1948 – 1962, highly respected and close to Nehru, besides being a stalwart in the Congress. Under his leadership, a Committee was formed with educationists like Humayun Kabir who in later years became a Minister of Education. A subsequent 22 member committee formed in 1946 recommended establishment of higher technical institutions along the lines of MIT. Training world class engineers and scientists was the purpose of the IITs.

Kharagpur IIT established on 2100 acres in August 1951 had 42 teachers and 224 students. Now the academic staff is 470, undergraduates are 4,500 and postgraduates 2,500. The library which at the beginning had 2,500 books now has 350,000 books and documents. There are besides 1,600 journals and conference proceedings.

In the first convocation address in 1956 – the first for any IIT – Nehru said “Here stands the fine monument of India, representing India’s urges, India’s future in the making”. In the last two years of his premiership he ensured that steps were taken to launch India into the era of electronics and of space. A galaxy of scientists was at hand to accomplish it.

IIT Bombay

The second to be established in 1958 was this IIT in Bombay as a Public Engineering Institute. It was established with assistance from UNESCO, with funds from the Soviet Union. The campus is on 550 acres. The first batch comprised 100 students. It now has 14 academic departments with provision for physical sciences, social sciences and management studies. In the last 53 years it has produced 39,000 engineers and scientists.

IIT Madras

The third in line IIT Madras was established as a residential institute in 1959. In the heart of the metropolis of Madras 618 acres are devoted to it. It was an autonomous Public Engineering and Research Institution. It was started with technical, academic and financial assistance from West Germany.

The Institute has 15 disciplines, 16 departments and operates with nearly 100 laboratories. The academic staff is 550. Undergraduates number 2,900 and Post graduates 2,500. Industrial consultancy and Sponsored Research are undertaken by this IIT. The Research Park is modelled on the lines of Research Parks at Stanford and MIT. In recent years IIT Madras ranked 2nd, 4th and 5th among Engineering Colleges.

IIT Delhi

The 5th and the last to be established in Nehru’s time was IIT Delhi, in 1961. It was built on a campus of 325 acres as a Public Research University. Done in collaboration with the British government, it accommodates 3,590 Undergraduates and 4,240 Post graduates. Nehru ever passionate about science and its advancement was grateful for their contribution. He called “The gift of science a splendid gift of the British”.

IITs and Their Contribution

To students of extraordinary talent, IITs provided the space for the flowering of their intellects. The Faculties which can stand comparison with the best in the world of knowledge, helped deliver products in their lakhs in the last six decades. The products are now at the commanding heights of management and of academic leadership.

India was helped greatly in this process by the developed countries of the West, whose contribution was with motives that were altruistic. Emigration of IITians to scientifically and industrially advanced countries was inevitable. Now with India turning out to be a land of opportunity, reverse migration is steadily in motion. IITians and other high end employees are now returning richer by their experience and with broadened horizons.

IITs established in India between 1951 and 2012 total 15. The 16th is under development at Varanasi. A 17th at Bangalore was announced in the Union Budget two days back. They are all committed to lifting India educationally, economically and socially. Above all they have defined India’s niche in the world of intellect. A similar endeavor and an all Island Institute of Technology in Sri Lanka can take the country to similar heights.

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    S. Sivathasan –

    RE: Indian Institutes Of Technology & Sri Lanka

    Yes. get a Institute Established with 505 for indians and 50&% for Sri lankans, bust using the same same entry and qualification standards.

    Then compare others to this institute establish as a benchmark.

    Sri Lankan higher education should be benchmarked. Just spending 6% without checks and balances will not produced the required results.

  • 6
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    The Indian Institutes of Technology flourished because India retained English as medium of instruction in all universities and research institutions.
    A few sri Lankan children joined and did well – entrance is tough – much more than London A Level is needed and top scorers only are selected.

    SWRD who never had/valued science education, ruined the future of millions of children by his “Sinhala Only” policy only for his political success.
    His widow and daughter completed the ruination.
    But the daughter and her children went abroad to study.

    The plethora of “Arts” faculties completed the ruination with subjects unnecessary for modern evolving states for betterment of citizens’ lives.
    It is not too late to commence education in English from the village school level. All parents yearn for English education for their children. All it takes is political will. But politicians do not like educated citizens who see through their antics.

    • 6
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      justice.

      1.. “SWRD who never had/valued science education, ruined the future of millions of children by his “Sinhala Only” policy only for his political “

      2. “The plethora of “Arts” faculties completed the ruination with subjects unnecessary for modern evolving states for betterment of citizens’ lives. It is not too late to commence education in English from the village school level. All parents yearn for English education for their children. All it takes is political will. But politicians do not like educated citizens who see through their antics.”

      Very true. SWRD wanted Sinhala Only for the Masses, so that he will be the leader of the Sinhala, and will always be elected by the Sinhala Masses, Modayas and Sinhala with Common sense as well. Very similar to the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinism and racism practiced by Mahinda Rajapaksa et al., to keep power.

      At Peradeniya, many years ago, a study was dome on the IQ of the Various Faculties. The Relative results were:

      Science- Physical Sciences on Top
      Engineering
      Medical, Dental, Agricultural, Biological
      Arts Faculty- On Bottom.

      Now, assuming only 5% of those students who took the University Entrance Exams in the Sciences entered the University,there must be at least 10 times that of Science educated students at the advanced Level, whose IQ were much higher than those students who entered the arts faculties.

      So it was rather foolish for a country to expend its resources in training in subjects that contribute little to the national economy and global competitiveness, those students who have a lower IQ than those left behind. That is more or less what Sri Lanka had done, in addition to getting rid of English. So, the arts Graduates who did ats subjects in the Sinhala and Tamil media were doubly handicapped.

      What a tragedy, but the Modayas and Mootals do not see it that way. All they care about are the lies and imaginations of Monk mahanama in the Mahawansa.

      India Avoided that. They had multiple IIT’s and Engineering Colleges across the country and expanded other Institutes that had an impact on the Economy.

  • 6
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    Thanks Mr. Sivathasan. But many graduates as well as professors of Sri Lankan universities even now remain unaware–or in denial– of the high standards of science and engineering in India, and how highly the IIT’s, IISc, ISI, IIM, etc., are regarded by American Universities.

  • 8
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    Good suggestions indeed. My observations.

    The system should be radically different to current SL system.

    1. No recruitment of Bachelor holders no matter how good they are as lecturers. Even PhDs must have good credentials, in the ability to teach graduate courses, conduct research, and ability to foster industry collaborations – cannot be Ivory tower business. So no bonds, no fresh PhDs without proper publications or teaching record.

    2. Research program must have course work built in. Not this (UK type) system where people teach from their Bachelor notes once they come back. Without postgraduate level teaching experience or at least full commitment with postgraduate coursework no one should be recruited.

    3. Ability to work in teams must be checked. Collaborative research must be encouraged. Access to databases must be there.

    4. Better not make them all government institutes which engender interference and low quality. Best would be to operate on endowments with initial grants from govt. Salary level must be industry competitive and with tenure track. Must be let go if initial work is not up to mark. Allow foreign recruitment – same standards not just go by skin color.

    5. Should be able to form alliances with global industry and lead local industries into more research and development.

    6. The ridiculous approval procedure or going outside for meetings – conference from all the way up to VC to Minister to PM must be abolished. Instead decisions at department level by competitive persons. Right now no wonder country is like a potential well. To get out one needs a Head of govt.

    7. Work must be international level, relevant to industry in medium term with a long term vision for implementation.

    9. No this ridiculous non academic strikes non sense locking labs, gates etc or even academic strikes for that matter. Must work as a private enterprise. Should be open 24hrs a day as such, except really major holidays like new year plus one or two major religious days.

    10. Engage in public forums for further development of all aspects in Education from Schools to Technical institutes to Universities. Must set an example.

  • 4
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    Thank you.
    Very useful and thought-provoking.

  • 8
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    Nanda

    Excellent. No better observations could have been made. Hope you have noted the Kanpur model. If US enters with 10 distinguished Professors, they develop the Faculties, set standards and groom their successors, there is a chance for departure. They have to remain for 10 years as they did at Kanpur. Your observations will then be realized.

    The country has to swallow its pride, abandon the ridiculous and go in for the modern.

  • 6
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    Mr Sivathasan,
    Thank you Sir sharing your thoughts. Although IIT for India is a good concept, this will not work for Sri Lanka. I say this NOT because we are bereft of “extraordinary talent”. The fact is that we have not learned to manage that talent for our advantage and nation building. Unless we make radical changes to overhaul a “CORRUPT” system by replacing with a merit based system, I seriously doubt whether this brilliance whether produced at ITT, MIT, Cal Tech or Carnegie Mellon is going to be beneficial in our policy making mechanisms in science or technology. For this to happen, innovations efficiency, discipline, political stability and rule-of-law should be the primary drivers such as in Japan. I have said many times in these columns that our political sponsorship for scientific research, manufacturing, R&D, private entrepreneurship and venture capitalism is weak. Our economy is not even a service based economy. It is agrarian. Our political leadership lacks vision because they are not the best and the brightest to lead our nation. This is why we have faltered and far from producing the next Dr. Angela Markel of Germany or the next Dr. Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia to lead us into the future. I see little hope because we deprive a majority of our youth of a University education. Among those who qualify, 78% are not passionate with their first career choice. They admit that their career is only a passport to a better life. This is because our entire academic system is antiquated. Here is another example where the late Prof. Cyril Ponnamperuma and I used to have endless debates over the brain-drain during the setting up of IFS. This was a time when we as a nation had failed miserably to offer incentives for our exiled intellectuals to return and establish themselves. Even the baby boomers refused to retire here due to the ongoing civil war at the time. The biggest draw back to them was the political uncertainly. I admit that this is SHAMEFUL! So, where do we go from here?

    • 0
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      WalaGemba Raja

      “The biggest draw back to them was the political uncertainly. I admit that this is SHAMEFUL! So, where do we go from here? “

      First Things, First. Clean up the Crooks, Robbers and Criminals, CRCs. This is what Mr. Tilvin Silva said, below.

      SLFP brought issue of ‘national government’ to protect fraudsters

      http://www.lankatruth.com/home/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8498:slfp-brought-issue-of-national-government-to-protect-fraudsters-&catid=87:other-stories

      There are many factors that influence the ‘national government’ proposal by the SLFP. If an election is held now the SLFP would lose its majority in Parliament. They want to maintain their majority. Also, the ‘national government’ is a good device to protect fraudsters and the corrupt of the previous government. The fraudsters and the corrupt have been terrified. We are confident that this government, unlike the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, would not act outside the law. We are confident the government is carrying out investigations regarding fraudsters and the corrupt according to legal provisions. As such, the attempt of the SLFP is to get thieves into the government, share cabinet portfolios among them and avoid punishment for thieves,” said the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva.

      Mr. Tilvin Silva said this speaking at a media conference held at the head office of the JVP at Pelawatta yesterday (1st) morning. The Member of the Central Committee of the JVP and Member of Western PC Luxman Nipunarachchi too participated.

      Speaking further the General Secretary of the JVP said, “Many issues have surfaced before the present government. Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa was defeated at the election held on 8th January. People defeated the dictatorial family rule and elected a new leader with a lot of expectations. The main aspirations of the masses were democracy, good governance and relief for the people. The foremost of these were democracy and good governance. During the election campaign the amendments to win democracy was widely discussed and the 100 day programme took a leading item discussed in the election campaign of the common candidate Maithripala Sirisena. The constitutional amendments and dissolving the parliament on the 23rd April and calling for a general election were highlights in the campaign.

      The government expected to adopt the right for information bill, a bill to annul Parliamentary seat if a member crosses over after being elected and a bill not to allow people with dual citizenship to contest elections in addition to making amendments to the constitution to win good governance.

      However, several obstructions have been placed in adopting these amendments. In addition to the delay in the process adopted by the government certain groups are mucking up the 100 day programme. There is also the attempt to get Mahinda Rajapaksa into the political arena again. On 8th January the people in our country rejected Mahinda Rajapaksa. As such, it’s not ethical for him to come back to politics. The people would not allow it. It is really not a need of the SLFP. Certain leaders of the SLFP intentionally attempt to muck up the 100 day programme. The people defeated the former government. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena was elected. The majority of the people have voted for the 100 day programme. As such, it is this programme that should be implemented. Now, a concept about a national government has been brought up. The 100 day programme was to fulfill certain matters, dissolve the parliament on 23rd April, hold the general election under a caretaker government and to form a national government by the people’s representatives elected. If a national government is formed now what could be won during the 100 day programme would not be a reality. As such, we are against postponing the election. The Parliament should be definitely dissolved on 23rd April. A new Parliament should be elected by the people. With the opposition in the society to the national government proposals the SLFP has brought up another matter. Now they say a change in the electoral system is essential if powers of the executive presidency are reduced. They are trying to avoid the opportunity gained to abolish executive presidency. As such, they are trying to place obstacles for the move. We would like to ask the SLFP as to what happened to the committee established under Dinesh Gunawardene to change the electoral system. There was an attempt to change the electoral system even when they were in power. However, they didn’t remember about abolishing executive presidency. They are bringing in such a proposal now without taking measures to do it when they were in power is definitely to avoid abolishing executive presidential system. We, as the JVP, say the existing electoral system need not be continued. It should be changed. What the SLFP does is to create a myth regarding deficiencies of the electoral system.

      Their argument is that there is no representative for the electorate and candidates have to spend a lot of money due to the preferential system. Even at present there are members representing electorates. Susil Premajayanth to Kaduwela, Jeevan Kumaratunga to Moratuwa. Like that they have allocated electorates. These were not issues for the JVP. Others can take an example from the JVP and engage in politics. A candidate also can spend the money he spent for the whole district to an electorate. This would allow racketeers with black money to win electorates by spending the money he or she had to spend for the whole district to an electorate. For, politics today are dominated by racketeers and those with big money. Hence, politics that has been vagabondized and dominated by the rich should be changed. They have entered politics to earn more money. The electoral system cannot be changed without abolishing the political culture that goes with black money. As such, if a new electoral system is to be adopted it should be more democratic and should be just and fair to all. It should reflect the wishes of the people justly. A political party that gets the votes of the Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim people should get representatives in Parliament according to the ratio similar to the ratio of the total number of votes polled. A political party that gets 75 seats in Parliament with 50% of the votes polled is not fair. Also, a party that gets 10% of the votes not getting any seats in Parliament too is unfair. As such, the electoral system should be changed to a system that takes all these principles into account. This attempt to use change of electoral system to avoid abolishing certain powers of executive presidency and the move to establish independent commissions should be defeated.

      The main slogan during the presidential election campaign was abolishing executive presidential system. There was no talk about a change in electoral system during the campaign. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena resigned from the SLFP and came forward as the common candidate to abolish executive presidency. He said the presidential election held was his final presidential election. If so, how could change of electoral system becomes the first priority and abolishing executive presidency comes next?

      SLFP has put forward a series of proposals for constitutional amendments. Under President’s powers they state the President functions as the head of the government as well as the head of the cabinet. He could have any portfolio if he wishes. However, in the amendments stated in the 100 day programme it is stated that the leader of the state is the President but the head of the government is the Prime Minister. This shows that the SLFP wants to maintain executive powers.

      The other fact is regarding presidential immunity. The SLFP states presidential immunity stated in 35.1 should be removed but legal action could be taken against the president only if fundamental rights are violated. As such, presidential immunity would not be abolished as SLFP wants to retain it.

      People used their vote not to do what the SLFP wants but to implement the 100 day programme. Hence what is necessary is to take forward the 100 day programme according to the mandate given by the people. There is a good opportunity for it now. Constitutional amendments are to be brought in March. Those amendments cannot be adopted without the support of the SLFP as such amendments need 2/3rd majority in Parliament. The SLFP is attempting to use this situation to bargain. Meanwhile, some say to hold elections after adopting amendments. No one can say how long it would take and when it gets delayed the move to abolish executive presidency would not be a reality. For, Chandrika Kumaratunga who asked a mandate to abolish executive presidency didn’t do it. Also, Mahinda Rajapaksa did not do it despite promising to do it twice. Leaders do not like to abolish executive presidency when the executive powers and government powers are with one party. At present the executive powers and government powers are not with one person. This is why a good opportunity has been created to get the executive powers diminished. We should not linger as “He that rises late must trot all day.” Promises should be fulfilled without delay.

      Also, it has not stated in the 100 day programme that the next election would be held according to a new electoral system. There is plenty of time to formulate a new electoral system. We see any attempt to make it an obstacle for the election to be held after the 23rd April as a reactionary and a vile attempt. It would abolish mandate of the people and bring up the need of the defeated. Hence, we totally reject SLFP proposals. We also reject the proposal for a national government.

      There are many factors that influenced the ‘national government’. If an election is held now SLFP would lose the majority it has. They want to maintain their majority. Also, the ‘national government’ is a good device to protect fraudsters and the corrupt of the previous government. The fraudsters and the corrupt have been terrified. We are confident that this government, unlike the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, would not act outside the law. We are confident the government is carrying out investigations regarding fraudsters and the corrupt according to legal provisions. As such, the attempt of the SLFP is to get thieves into the government, share cabinet portfolios among them and avoid punishment. Hence, we tell the masses this government should dissolve Parliament on 23rd April. If the constitutional amendments cannot be adopted before that a government that could adopt them should be elected to parliament at the general election as these amendments are beneficial to the people and the country. We hope to apprise people regarding this new situation. We have organized to hold a rally on the theme ‘No to ‘national government fraud’ that protects fraudsters’ at Maharagama on the 4th. We also promise masses that the JVP would take every action that could be taken to defeat the vile acts of a section of the SLFP.

      Also, there are various views regarding frauds and corruption. We mediate regarding this in the National Executive Council. We have also complained to the Bribery Commission and the CID regarding fraudsters and the corrupt. We carry out agitations against the government. However, this government’s moves are very slow. Also, certain individuals in this government help fraudsters as they are their friends earlier. These fraudsters using billions they have earned through frauds, thieving and corruption attempt to buy state officials, ministers and government MPs. There are such challenges. We, as the JVP, say such attempts should be defeated. These fraudsters, the corrupt and the thieves have got terrorized when the JVP pressurizes the government to reveal frauds and corruption of the previous government. This government, whatever lapses it has, carries out investigations according to the law. When JVP mediates in exposing fraudsters the fraudsters and their lackeys get alarmed and agitate opposite JVP office with hired individuals. Such an incident occurred today. A group of people saying they are from Avant Garde Security Services came to the party head office. We are a political party that carries out agitations. Anybody has the right to agitate. However, this is another issue. Recently a floating armoury belonging to Avant Garde Security Services was taken into custody from Galle Harbour. This company belonging to Gotabhaya Rajapaksa took over the ship security service that had brought a large income to SL Navy earlier. The Navy was denied a very good income. Avant Garde company exploit the employees. We have represented the issues of genuine employees of Avant Garde. The passport of Nissanka Senadhipathy, the owner of Avant Garde was impounded with the taking into custody of weapons from the company. However, Nissanka Senadipathy’s passport was restored without any investigation.

      The Prime Minister and several others had a special discussion regarding this at Temple Trees. The official who had come from the Attorney General’s Department had said he held the view that the passport should not have been returned without an investigation but due the mediation of Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa and Tilak Marapana the passport was returned to him. This was exposed to the country by Comrade Anura Dissanayaka. Wijedasa Rajapaksa as well as Nissanka Senadhipathy had said they would challenge Comrade Anura Dissanayaka for a public debate. We have no need to debate regarding this. What we say is to implement the law. Why should Mr. Senadhipathy get terrorized if he has not broken the law? There is an issue when he gets terrorized and tries to create a hullabaloo. For, it is not a simple matter. They are people with weapons. First, they requested to meet leaders of our party. We didn’t give them the opportunity. Later, they tried to pressurize us through other individuals. Today, they have hired some people to agitate opposite our office. They would also attempt to physically harm our leaders. We say we are prepared to overcome those challenges. We would not stop our politics when agitations are carried out with hired people. We would continue what we have started. Wijedasa Rajapaksa should question Ranil Wickremesinghe instead of talking about debates. For, when this exposure was made Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe too was present.”

      A question by a journalist:

      Wijedasa Rajapaksa had said the task of the JVP is to vituperate individuals.

      Wijedasa Rajapaksa had said the JVP criticized the previous government and now he too is being insulted. We would like to tell Wijedasa we are proud that we criticized the previous government. For, we were the party that criticized the previous government without any fear when Wijedasa and the likes were scared to criticize that government and were hiding. It is because of such criticism that a force was created to send Mahinda Rajapaksa home. As such, we wonder from which part of his anatomy Wijedasa is making these views. It should be told that we do not vituperate anybody. When we criticize we do it with evidence.

      Kumar Gunaratnam’s issue is not relevant to us. It is a legal matter. Mahinda Rajapaksa family rule was never a challenge to the JVP. If so, how could a party that is not on the ground and no one knows about be a challenge to the JVP?

      I would like to tell Wijedasa Rajapaksa to be more responsible in his acts words and deeds.”

  • 2
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    Nehru in addition to IITs also created the best institutions in Medicine – AIIMS (Delhi), PGI(Chandigarh), JIPMER (Pondicherry) etc. These schools directly come under the the Central Government and their MDs/DMs and PhDs are leading practitioners and scientists in many parts of the world including USA.
    This is a timely discussion initiated by Mr Sivathasan and I agree 100% with the comments by Nanda on the need for better recruitment of academics after their post graduate training, and the need for Post – doctoral training after MD or PhD to get into academic stream.
    Now we have a Government which has agreed to provide 6% of the budget to education and currently with better diplomatic environment we should be able to make incremental advances towards knowledge generation activities.
    Hopefully our leadership will follow Nehru ji with appropriate and competent people in our university system.

  • 2
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    Good article. Nehru had a vision that one day India would develop into a world power in Science and technology. That is why he started these colleges. Not only Bandaranaike who ruined our country with his sinhala only policy, none of our past leaders had a vision that science and technology will bring rich dividends. The abolition of the sinhala stream by Sirima was a classic blunder done by our politicians for their own political objectives. After independence, Nehru was asked whether he plans to change the medium of instruction to Hindi in the Universities. He thought for a while and said”I will think about it 60 years from now!” This is the visionary leader India had and what we lacked.
    Another project which started with Nehru was the establishment of National Research Institutes. Initially there was private sector contributions such as the setting of the Tata Institute for Fundamental research. These have immensely uplifted the dtatus of science. By contrast the only research Institute started by the JR government was the Institute of Fundamental studies where the Board was headed by the president and others included the prime minister and the leader of the opposition. During the previous regime of Mahinda Rajapakse, he found that he does not have time to attend the meetings and ammended the IFS act so that it came as an institute under the science ministry. Such is the treatment our leaders had towards science. South Korea has flourished because they have tow deputy presidents, one for education and the other for scientific research. No wonder they have excelled in research and productivity.
    When JRJ was asked what he wanted for his birthday by Japan he opted for a hospital instead of something like IIT. When Nehuru was asked the same question he opted for an IIT and that is the difference

  • 1
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    Good article. Nehru had a vision that one day India would develop into a world power in Science and technology. That is why he started these colleges. Not only Bandaranaike who ruined our country with his sinhala only policy, none of our past leaders had a vision that science and technology will bring rich dividends. The abolition of the sinhala stream by Sirima was a classic blunder done by our politicians for their own political objectives. After independence, Nehru was asked whether he plans to change the medium of instruction to Hindi in the Universities. He thought for a while and said”I will think about it 60 years from now!” This is the visionary leader India had and what we lacked.
    Another project which started with Nehru was the establishment of National Research Institutes. Initially there was private sector contributions such as the setting of the Tata Institute for Fundamental research. These have immensely uplifted the dtatus of science. By contrast the only research Institute started by the JR government was the Institute of Fundamental studies where the Board was headed by the president and others included the prime minister and the leader of the opposition. During the previous regime of Mahinda Rajapakse, he found that he does not have time to attend the meetings and ammended the IFS act so that it came as an institute under the science ministry. Such is the treatment our leaders had towards science. South Korea has flourished because they have tow deputy presidents, one for education and the other for scientific research. No wonder they have excelled in research and productivity.
    When JRJ was asked what he wanted for his birthday by Japan he opted for a hospital instead of something like IIT. When Nehuru was asked the same question he opted for an IIT and that is the difference.

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