27 May, 2019

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Jaffna’s Rejection Of The Meritorious Candidate And Implications For The University System

Colombo Telegraph has since 2014 highlighted with cases the contempt for merit displayed by the University of Jaffna in the selection of academics. This has not changed. We had earlier highlighted the case of Mithila Gowthaman, the unquestionably outstanding candidate for the post of Probationary Lecturer in Financial Management who is an Associate Vice President (AVP) at Moody’s Analytics Knowledge Services Ltd which is a USA based leading provider of high value research, analytics and business intelligence to the financial service sector. If not for the Head of Financial Management, and Prof. Tharmaratnam and Prof Sitrampalam who were council nominees, Mithila’s application would have been buried without a hum, as has happened to many talented applicants.

Ratnam Vigneswaran – Vice Chancellor

The person, the Vice Chancellor, the Dean and the Senate Representative have been trying to push into that post comes nowhere near and is low down on the internal (Jaffna) merit list. It is a system in which the mafia of deans, the vice chancellor and the UGC Chairman stand by one another. There are no discussions on how to improve quality or even to avoid some of the more scandalous abuses. If one thinks that there are rules and the University Services Appeals Board (USAB) would uphold them, one is mistaken.

Mithila’s case is an example of where the corruption has set in very deep and has stiffened. As an applicant for probationary lecturer, a university concerned about quality should have grabbed her. Let us see what probationary lecturer signifies. It is an investment in a young, talented person who might otherwise be lost. Otherwise there is no justification for probationary lecturers, and the wise thing to do, as most universities in the world do, is to have those with PhDs apply to come in at senior lecturer level. That will also stop the calamitous inbreeding we see today in our universities.

When there is a departmental consensus that a student in the final year, or a particular applicant, has such scholarly qualities as would be a positive asset to the department, such is the kind of person to be taken in as a probationary lecturer. In 2013 there was such a consensus about Nilani Kanesharatnam in the Zoology Dept. Vice Chancellor Arasaratnam overruled her and put in a favourite low down the merit list. Since about then, the University goes by schemes of recruitment, tailor-made for taking in favourites.

Marks are awarded by selectors for items having nothing to do with scholarship and these marks are easily manipulated by two or three persons on the selection committee. Even marks are awarded for a master’s degree that most of the time defeats the rationale behind investing in a budding scholar, based on performance in the first degree. In Mithila’s case, her exceptional merit rests not on the first degree but on what she achieved in the short time after graduation. A selection committee looking for a scholar will be sensitive to that. But the Dean and Vice Chancellor tried to put her down claiming that she had no research, ignoring the fact that she was constantly doing research of a confidential nature for a leading company in her field.

If fact most lecturers at present come in at Probationary level and have been preselected by their teachers as a guarantee for their security, hide their mediocrity and to aid their power games. For the humanities it has been suicidal. One gets in as a probationary lecturer, writes a thesis in Tamil or Sinhalese under one’s own teacher, the standard of which is not tested in the wider world, and one routinely becomes a senior lecturer and then professor. Hardly anyone is under pressure to become functional in English or even to read in English. An inspection of the Jaffna University Library will show this. In the context of Sri Lanka, one who is not functional in English is illiterate. To deny that is to be patronisingly charitable.

Once such people take over a university they do everything to protect themselves. When an obviously good person with broad exposure in the world and competent in English applies to a department, petitions are written to the heads, deans and vice chancellors not to take that person on some silly technicality. Interviews get postponed indefinitely. Those already inside don’t see that taking such a person is an opportunity for themselves and is good for the students to learn to face the wider world confidently, rather than be frogs in the well. 

In a university, no department or faculty could survive on its own. The Humanities should be the life of the University, Senate and Council and should set the tone and standard of discussion for the whole institution. They should be a major voice against corruption in recruitment. This could be seen in the wider world and even in Sri Lanka, where the few articulate voices for reform are from the Humanities. Once the Humanities die, a university is dead. This could be seen in the vanishing of internal checks in Jaffna. Often strong personalities also arouse strong feelings of approbation or disapprobation, but that should not be a problem in a university. 

Jaffna University’s refusal to accommodate Prof. Jeevan Hoole with his wide exposure and contacts in the Engineering Faculty was internally engineered and the loss to the students and the University is considerable. Many rules were broken in keeping him out. His appeal to the USAB dragged on for many years. Technical objections were filed, and then time asked for re-filing. Finally nothing new was filed. Even the USAB stalled on addressing substantive issues through being unavailable, one member rarely present, not informing cancellation of hearing and calling a meeting to clarify an issue and then addressing everything but that issue. A verdict would have been very damaging to the system. The case was deliberately dragged on with the University paying lawyers to insult and harass the appellant. Finally the USAB decided that there is no need for a verdict, as the appellant is past the age of retirement! 

More than a wrong done to an individual, it is an insult to the public, from whose purse princely salaries are paid to academics for such poor returns in scholarship and national well-being. 

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Latest comments

  • 4
    9

    Everybody knows Jaffna is the best university in Sri Lanka. It could be made the best in the world if we let it to be rub by our maha Ven Gananasara

  • 13
    5

    The problem is that U of Jaffna, ranked well below 1000 in the world, has academics who hardly would have got a job in another university. During the war they stayed on. That is their badge of merit. So, they do not want any one else iin their turf to show up their incompetence. They keep the diaspora academics away even if they want to teach free for a period of time. The pattern is repeated in other Sri Lankan universities except that Jaffna has this argument that the present academics had stuck it too thick and thin. So, reform is difficult. It had a VC who would have found it difficult to hold an academic position and she has been succeeded possibly by one whose credentials are only marginally better. Better shut down and start anew.

    • 12
      2

      Kabaragoya,

      “Better shut down and start anew.”
      .
      Is there a factory reset for universities?

      • 5
        4

        Not a bad idea that the reset should be set off when standards dip . How many papers have Jaffna “dons” published in international journals?

    • 5
      1

      Dear Kabaragoya,.

      //They keep the diaspora academics away even if they want to teach free for a period of time//

      What evidence have you for this claim? Name one or two diaspora academics who wanted to teach for free and were turned away.

      • 2
        3

        Dear Chithral, it would be embarrassing to name names. But the main story has the name of Mithila Gowthaman. Why is she excluded, though she works at a top firm that people in her field would give their eye-teeth to get into.

        • 4
          0

          Dear Kabaragoya,
          The cases are very different. MG is applying for a job. You were claiming there are diaspora academics who wanted to teach for free and were turned away. Why is it embarrassing to name someone who, presumably from the goodness of their heart, wanted to offer their services for free (wow, for free), and the University did not have the decency to accept?
          By making a wild claim you cannot support with evidence, you are undermining the main point in the article.
          So, (OK, without names), how many diaspora academics do you know who wanted to come and teach for free? From which parts of the world? In which subject areas?

      • 4
        2

        Prof. Charles Sarvan (English) is one.

    • 1
      0

      Kabaragoya ~ “………U of Jaffna, ranked well below 1000 in the world,………..”.
      May be. But which Lankan university/ies is/are in the top 1000? Any below UoJ?

  • 22
    3

    Jaffna Tamils should get off their moral high horse and do an honest introspection of how they treat their own. Instead of harping on discrimination by the Sinhalese as the cause of all their ills, they should gradually turn their gaze inward. Many outsiders have noted, compared to the south civic consciousness among the people in the north is rather low. Instead, one-upmanship dominates social relationships. No wonder the struggle to win their political rights took a destructive fascist turn. Now it’s time for sober self-reflection and real change in the manner in which they conduct their social life. Goings-on at the Jaffna University as described in the article reveals a society that is broken and fundamentally flawed, without any sense of collective responsibility or civic duty. It’s a free-for-all where the most ruthless one wins the day.

    • 12
      2

      Universities in the South are no better. Most appointments were corrupt. The husband and wife team in Colombo is an example. So, let us not take this to be a parochial problem but one which afflicts the whole country. The rot started with the race course university begun to accommodate the entry of Goppallawa. It has snowballed as a result of the creation of new universities to satisfy political needs not academic concerns.

  • 9
    4

    Jaffna University has been plan-fully spoiled by the Higher level decision makers in Colombo by appointing inefficient slaves as Vice Chancellors and shoe licking people as council members. These acrobats are dancing to the Colombo Music. God can only save the Jaffna University and the Future of tamils.

  • 12
    5

    Keeping Hoole out was an error. Having him in would have been a greater error as with his caste and religious biases and cantankerous personality, he would have destroyed the university. That having been said, the malaise that afflicts the university is real. The “research” that is produced is hardly of international standard but then, none of the other SL universities do quality research either. It is best to go back to the days of the University of Ceylon. Better have one good university which the academic quality of people in Sri Lanka can sustain rather than have 40 bad universities cheating its students.

    • 2
      1

      Kabara: What sort of research did the University of Ceylon produce and publish in international journals? Did it rank within top 1000?

      • 1
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        There were no rankings when the university of ceylon was in existence. I suggest we look at the products of this university and what they generated. I state five names all of whom have wikipedia entries: Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, Sunitha Wickeremasinghe, Chandra Wickremasinghe, VK Samaranayake, Christy Weeramantry. All could be found on wikipaedia. The list could go on. The alumni of the University of Ceylon are a distinguished lot. You cannot say that of the later Sri Lankan universities.

    • 2
      1

      Kabaragoya,

      Do you think there are facilities to do “international standard” research in Sri Lankan universities?
      Maybe humanities and social science subjects could produce something of importance.
      Do you have any idea about the research budgets allocated for “international standard” natural science or technological research programs?
      I hope you are willing to write a sizable endowment to the Jaffna University.

      The much-celebrated glory days of the University of Ceylon was more of a result of the dominion status we had; during the time university academics had an easier route to famous English universities.
      Do you know of anyone who obtained the fellowship of Royal Society for his original work at the University of Ceylon?
      So what measure did you use to substantiate that during the time of the University of Ceylon we had better “academic quality”?
      So are you suggesting to go for a dominion status or fully surrender to the British?

      Although there is a strong argument in favor of preserving “quality” over quantity, currently our university systems most important role is to act as a buffer layer to absorb the young instead of throwing them to an economy that produces no products of value nor any significant service.

      Some people have old gripes with Sri Lanka in whole, so they castigate its education system, health system, political system, one by one when they see a chance to do so.
      But all around the world, small countries with small economies go through similar problems.

      Wish you would find a time machine for yourself.

    • 6
      7

      Dear Kaboragoya,
      I think you did not know much about professor Hoole. That is why you have commented badly. As I know, he is decent, intelligent, open and visionary. He has better personality traits than the other academics. He is a genius. We can not simply say that a person is bad when he points out the mistakes openly. We need to see what he speaks of. I know Tamils do not like Tamils who see their own deficiencies, but we badly need such voices from within for reform. In my opinion, he should have been taken in to the university. His abilities and skills should have been used for the development of the university. Mr. Hoole is not a relative to me to make this point, but I know him.

      Dr. Jazeel

    • 5
      4

      Prof. Hoole was the most helpful teacher at Peradeniya engineering faculty to the Tamil students in our batch. He always encouraged us and helped with serous personal problems also. Even the Open University staff say he helped all of them.

      Catankerous does not apply to him. It is name-calling by losers like the clique of dons who wanted to make computer engineering degree not happen at Peradeniya.

      We salute him for being firm in that matter. There was no reason to try to destroy our new department.

      Nobody can help Jaffna university. They are suicidal. The lecturers must be given free trips to universities abroad to get some exposure. They have no clue at all what higher education means. How can they be put in charge of teaching our best children.

      Ketta kudiye kedum. Is a prophecy.

  • 5
    2

    Dear Kabaragoya,
    .
    That’s an interesting observation; I mean the antithesis in it.
    .
    Well, I’m sure that Prof. Hoole must be doing his best to monitor this violent election in Paksitan:
    .
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/07/pakistan-elections-2018-latest-updates-180724055555410.html
    .
    On September 23rd, there is another difficult vote, albeit in a country less prone to violence:
    .
    https://maldivesindependent.com/feature-comment/anger-u-turns-and-losing-the-right-to-vote-in-the-maldives-a-qa-139525
    .
    I wonder if his next assignment will be make sure that there isn’t cheating there? Kabaragoya, I think that you have to hand it to him; he does his honest best wherever he is sent. When a person is inspired by great passion, you have to expect that it is we, the recipients of the information, who have to exercise objectivity and judgement.
    .
    There are some articles which are models of objectivity:
    .
    I should like to illustrate this point by drawing your attention to wonderfully well written article, that has just come on, which you may miss:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-war-on-drugs-in-sri-lanka-science-or-fiction/
    .
    Yes, the future of Sri Lanka must be our main concern – and that includes Jaffna University.

  • 5
    4

    When you are insulting Hoole behind the cover of anonymity, you should cite publicly accessible facts about his caste and religious biases. You may strongly disagree with his views on historic personalities and religion, but these are matters for civilised debate, not for throwing shit. He has dealt with many students in his time and his reputation is one for being uniformly courteous and considerate to them. Has one of them described him as cantankerous?
    Jaffna seems to be a place where you destroy an achiever by slander. When it is done from anonymity by insult rather than established fact, it becomes vicious.

  • 1
    0

    Many university academic and registrars are not aware of UGC circulars for the recruitment lecturers. They only the circular 721. They are not aware of Establishment Circulars Letters. They can not differentiate lecturer (probationary) and senior lecturers. Only for probationary lecturers the order of qualification are needed. For senior lecturer there is no need of the order and the person with phd (irrespective other qualifications) is directly appointed if he/she has 06 years experience. If one person with doctoral degree applies for senior lecturer, lecturer probationary applications should not be considered till the doctoral degree holders are considered unsuitable.

    Some registrars are asking about the order of qualifications, special degree with classes etc without proper knowledge. What a shame to these university academics who are not aware of their own recruitment circulars. I give them below which was given by UGC under RTI

    For senior lecturers, these are the circulars. Please get them and study well

    Commission Circular 721
    Establishment Circular Letter 8/2005
    Establishment Circular Letter 16/2005
    Establishment Circular Letter 17/2005
    Commission Circular 996
    Commission Circular 08/2006

    Fazmina

  • 7
    0

    It’s unfortunate that all these comments from people remotely interested in the welfare of the J University. The demise of the academic standard started with poking of Duglas Devananda’s nose into the affairs of the university. His whims were unquestionably delivered by his fraudulent president who was more interested in his family and friends than the lives of people. Wherever EPDP extended its influence disaster struck with murders of important people in positions of serving the community. The legacy of implanting corrupted leaders into the university disables the faculties and no politician local or national leader comes forward to remedy the situation.

    Slow bleeding death of the N province is seen everywhere from the lowest local government to the ministers of both provincial and national government and associated establishments. University students and inexperienced Diaspora are hell bent on ousting the experienced leaders of the political party elected by the N-E people after going through untold sufferings and loses of immense proportions..

    • 1
      1

      Saro: you seem to have a limited knowledge of history. True, Dougass was interfering a lot, but he was not the first. Just a few years prior to him there was, have you forgotten, a murderer who had a monkey for a pet (and another one for boss!), who was loitering around campus ordering people what to think, say and do? He even decided who lived and who died! That is how bad our history is. Selective memory, Saro, is not good for our future.

      • 0
        0

        Chandra,
        That dictator had gone for good. The legacy of what EPDP did lives on and des the university. No outsider is even considered for top jobs for fear of detection of skeletons in the cupboard. The well frogs prevent progress of the university and thereby lay foundation for the ruination of the future of the society, the province and the country.

  • 10
    3

    Hoole is suited to be professor, academically,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratnajeevan_Hoole

    but not temperamentally.
    He is a Christian ‘maniac’ who always criticized and denigrated Hindu /Tamil scholars of Jaffna.
    This is why he is/was shunned.

    • 0
      0

      This is not me, Kabaragoya.

    • 4
      0

      Look at this fellow calling himself Justice.

      Hoole is a maniac for criticizing Hindu Tamil scholars.

      But he can criticize a Christian scholar.

      It is the kind of logic that Hoole correctly criticizes.

      It is Tamil Justice, LTTE style.

      • 6
        0

        Thank you Sitta. It is mob justice by Justice a la LTTE style indeed.

        Very unjust things are done. The majority supports that. Those who see through the injustice fear to speak up. The majority carries the day. Those wronged are assumed to be wrong. The majority says so and must be right.

        This is what happened when the TELO and EPRLF were massacred. The majority cheered. Those who saw through our heartless hearts kept silent. The majority view carried the day. Similar things happened to the Muslims. To this day, the majority Tamil view is that the Muslims deserved what they got, and no wrong was done to them. How could it be? We are all for Justice! How I hate that word which is a fig leaf for the nudity to cover those like justice.

        Even as I admire Hoole for his determination like Robert Bruce to keep trying, I must confess that he is banging his head against a wall — the wall of Tamil injustice which cannot be broken through because people like Justice put themselves on a pedestal imagining themselves to be just spokespersons for all Tamils.

        But not for me Justice. No thanks!

  • 2
    1

    Tamils wanted Jaffna university to be aHindu UNiversity. This time new VC Bhikku Ghanasara to make it a Protestant university. Then people will be happy.

    • 2
      0

      That was all politics of ponnambalam and
      Chelvanayakam two known Q. C. Who did not learn that Hindu and Tamil are only two subjects among thousands of knowledge disciplines of the world

      Contribute to do or bring harmony and peace equanimity amongst the population of anguish who are directionless and targetless.

      Do not dwell in the obsolete dead past.

      Old yarlppanathan

  • 3
    0

    I don’t want to write for one candidate (Like Hoole). UoJ is struggling with underqualified & weak staffs. It is reported that many North East graduates have not have got any jobs even after age of 45. North East (including UoJ) may have to have flexible age policy. They should invite retirement from people willing to start their own business or something so the undergraduates will get chance to get employed. On the other side, when a person is need for services, they should not strictly enforce the retirement age. We saw Admiral Chinnaiah was fire within one month. But Austin Fernando came back after leaving first time. It is visible in south they are able to use flexible age policy for retirement. North should start to consider that.

  • 5
    3

    In the case of Mithila Gowthaman, reliable sources said that the VC has received Rs200,000/=.

    VC has some brokers within the council like Mr.Aruthirumurugan, who bring or introduce candidates to the VC at his residence to give “something”. Dr.Sivayohan, Consultant Psychiatrist has gone with Mr.Aruthirumurugan, to shape up Sivayohan’s brother’s appointment. There in contrary to the Court ruling, the said appointment was given.

    Sad part of it is when Mr.Guruparan(Head of the Department, Law) was asked to give an opinion, he being an Law academic has given a wrong opinion “Out of Pressure – He has said”. This is a disaster. how come Guruparan can be a Legal Adviser to the Jaffna University? . He is after all paid Rs 30000/= per month. Earlier Hoole’s article he come up with some wrong statement that he has not accepted this post. But surprisingly reliable sources pointed out that he has printed a new Visiting card mentioning that he is a Legal Adviser, University of Jaffna.

    If he is a genuine academic let him come up to an open debate on his expressed opinion by publishing the same in this forum to discuss. We are ready to challenge his opinion with relevant case laws. I am sure even the Hon. Minister of Higher Education, Hon Wijayadasa Rajapaksha, being a reputed Lawyer can also help us to meet this challenge !.

    Mr.Nambiyar Nambi

  • 4
    4

    “Jaffna’s Rejection Of The Meritorious Candidate And Implications For The University System”
    Et Tu CT?
    The only question this CT article evokes in the mind of the reader is “Have I not read this before? Perhaps more than once”. Of course there is a case for Jaffna University to answer.
    Sighting particular cases will not help the cause – particularly if the named victims do not front up. There are contradictions: For example, CT quite rightly points out “…..That will also stop the calamitous inbreeding we see today in our universities.”
    Yes, “Inbreeding destroys a species” is a Darwin lemma.
    But the very next sentence is “…….When there is a departmental consensus that a student in the final year, or a particular applicant, has such scholarly qualities as would be a positive asset to the department, such is the kind of person to be taken in as a probationary lecturer”.
    CT implies that a particular applicant had “high value research, analytics and business intelligence to the financial service sector”. Yes, ploys like commercial sensitivity, patent pending are used but are rejected elsewhere.
    The CT article ends with the ‘Jeevan Hoole job seeking’ song. Never thought that CT is a fat lady!
    .
    On 28 March 2015 CT published a strongly worded letter from the South Eastern University Teachers’ Association calling the then VC Prof Seeni MM Ismail to resign. Instead of taking action for libel, Seeni resigned although it took a while. Seeni had political backers of the Rishard Bathiutheen variety. On 8 July 2018, Higher Education Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha reported that Seeni has become a list MP although UGC investigations against him are in progress – that is another matter. Right now under-grads of SEU are on strike because the University failed to deliver the promised courses.
    .
    To cut a long story short CT must take up the malaise in all universities in general rather than a particular malaise in a particular faculty in a particular university.

    • 1
      4

      KP,
      What makes you think that CT is interested in the university system of the country?
      There are vested interests using its space to advance their private causes. Sadly for them, they failed miserably, even when they seemed to have succeeded in some matters.

      • 5
        0

        SJ,
        .
        “Sadly for them, they failed miserably, even when they seemed to have succeeded in some matters.”
        .
        Did I not already mention Blowback? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blowback_(intelligence)
        .
        I do not understand the point of repeating the story of these “cold cases” when apparently there is no news. What is new is the alleged corruption of the VC but that is in the comments.
        .
        As I wrote some time ago keeping these “cold cases” alive is very likely preparation for new “hot cases”.

        • 0
          0

          Dear LW
          I trust that you concede the point made by me.
          *
          The veracity of the comments are quite another matter.
          All manner of bogus charges are made under comments that are very difficult to refute, because of the way websites operate.

      • 5
        0

        SJ and KP,
        Is it one person talking to himself? The main issue is about Mithila Gowthaman. KP insinuates that there is something fishy about her credentials, which no other objective person would suggest (see https://www.colombotelegraph.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Mithila-Gowthaman-new.doc-1- 1.pdf). There are no ‘ploys’ about her achievements. By such deceitful means, mud could be thrown at anyone. Selection must go by objective criteria. Are not her lead in the CIMA and her qualifying as a Chartered Financial Analyst exceptional?
        SJ, you are in the Jaffna Council and the former VC placed you in the committee to look into abuses in recruitment documented by JUSTA. What have you done and what have you got to say? To speak lightly of ‘Jeevan Hoole job seeking’ song to ridicule him is the cry of mediocrity.
        SJ, you know the gentleman well, you hauled him up before the Peradeniya Council as though he had done something irregular in teaching human rights and running a popular degree course in computer engineering under the Electrical Dept. You got a bloody nose from the inquiries ordered by the Council. Now you have shamelessly sat on selection committees in Jaffna to deny local students of the benefit of Hoole’s academic experience and international contacts. You never confessed to the conflict of interest you had with him.
        The same game being played on Mithila was played against Hoole, of pretending that their credentials are bogus. SJ who knew, certainly, asked (on the pages of CT mind you) Hoole to produce his DSc London certificate. When that ploy proved untenable others were found.

        • 2
          0

          I do not always agree with KP..
          But he does raise embarrassing questions that trouble the Mafia..
          *
          “SJ who knew, certainly, asked (on the pages of CT mind you) Hoole to produce his DSc London certificate.”
          Kindly let me know when it happened?
          *
          The rest of Hoolean Algebra does not deserve a response.

  • 2
    0

    It’s politics that makes all this mess.
    I know many people are appointed with political influence in many universities in Sri Lanka ..
    Some of them do not have degrees or have forged degree and PhDs ..
    Whither Sri Lankan university?

  • 7
    0

    Functionaries in the system of university of Jaffna do not understand / purposely blind to their responsibilities / obligations for which they occupy various chairs but look after their personal interest and collude with persons of low values and degraded morals for which the Jaffna population will never compromise the manipulation techniques of manipulators.

    To make the university a reality , the experiences of destructions experienced during the period of war is no concern to these low valued persons , who wants the university to be degraded, low morals , indisciplined , students, staff, professors to create disarray and chaos to continue the secretive agenda

    My humble prayer is that all concerned persons of entire Sri Lanka must exert their influence , power of their concern , whatever they are , profession , parents, clergy , guardians of morality must work to set new norms and systems to deal with speed , outside the existing obsolete norms of governance of the present , dealing with discipline and punishments to create the original image and values of Jaffna Man . Correct the university of Jaffna, the whole community and rowdism will automatically corrected. Every citizen is paying taxes to upkeep and develop the university

    This will be the best dharma, norm setting contribution one can do to Jaffna and Sri Lanka

  • 7
    1

    It is a well-known fact that management of Jaffna University has been marred by petty politics and extremist ideas. It is very sad to note that this university is a treasure for the local community and those who are responsible to manage failed miserably to understand this fact. It is quite apparent that the gap is widening between the management and the students. As a result students unrest is frequent that hampers the smooth running of this institution. Jaffna University is marred by confusion, conflicts, and controversies among the staff and the students. Let us hope and pray for a lasting solution.

  • 9
    0

    Thanks Nambiyar for your comments.

    Now I am going to tell about a disaster that has happened at Kilinotchi Campus. There one Veerapan who is the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering has staged a smuggler competition not for Sandal wood but for Teak trees. They have to cut the tree, make planks and pillars for house building at Vavunia. He too get hold of the VC with “something” to shape up the case. One Botany future Professor worked hard for this task to cool the VC and Veerapan. his aim is to get the Professorship in Botany quickly. Botany man has told it seems that the report should be in Tamil language so that Mr.Gunathilakae and Prof. Uyangoda will not understand. But reliably came to know that Prof wanted a translation in English or in Singala. He is very active in the council. VC cant escape!

    Unfortunately the Police has moved with sniff dogs and arrested 3 employers. They got bailed out soon. Veerapan may escape by his gimmicks with the Chairman, UGC. This Veerapan is a Jack of all trade. He was very popular at Chunnagam Water crisis.

    Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthi.

    Inuvil Kanthan

  • 12
    1

    I am troubled by Kabaragoya’s comment on Ratnajeevan Hoole’s character. Both incorrect and ungracious.

    Without revealing my identity, I am a Pallan. I was uplifted by a church school. I entered. There was still no escape for me. My parents dressed as they always did. Lived in our mud hut. They put money I sent for rebuilding in an account for me. They were happy. My

    But I wanted out. I teach in the UK in a school. Married out of Jaffna. Everyone assumes I am Vellalan. I do not go to Jaffna any more to keep my cover. My parents have both passed away. I want nothing to do with Jaffna. Going back will give me away. I do not even tell my children. They must have the dignity I never had

    But few of my people can escape as I did. CT Vellala readers cannot see. Hoole is an embarrassment to them. He will not let them forget what a cynical, hypocritical people we are. He makes them feel naked. So they slander him. Call him cantankerous. Etc.

    How many conversations I have endured by friends who make caste comments in front of me taking me to be one of their fuedal, backward stock.

    I wish I had Prof. Hoole’s courage. But I have too much to lose Grease to Prof. Hoole’s elbows. Long life to him. May he not let us forget the reality of who we really are.

    • 2
      0

      I understand your point of view. I am sorry of the bitterness you nurture born of a vicious system that existed in the Jaffna community. I do not know Hoole personally. I judge him from his many pieces in CT. He has written vitriolic nonsense about Arumuga Navalar. He has spoken of Navalar’s physical looks: “tiny ears and a big forehead on a huge head, thin hands and legs, strong facial hair, and huge body without any strength” as if he has seen this long dead man ( as reported in https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/a-rejoinder-to-hoole-tamil-hinduism-and-arumuka-navalar/). You profess to be a Christian. Is that a Christian thing to do? Professor Savitri Goonesekere, being a target of Hoole’s jibes, has written a reply to him. https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/colombo-university-vc-a-reply-to-prof-hoole/ . There is a certain vileness in his writings that show unChristian contempt and hate towards others. With your upliftment, I hope you could enlighten me, still a low caste man, as to whether this is good conduct.

      • 7
        2

        Kabaragoya,
        In order to justify your attacks on Hoole, you take things widely out of context to credit Hoole as being vile, cantankerous etc. Hoole and Savitiri Goonesekere have had exchanges previously. The more serious concerned a blatant case of favouritism in the Colombo Law Faculty, where the patently superior candidate Sarawathy Paulraj was denied the position that was her due. What you have cited is a commonplace exchange between academics where the question of vileness does not arise.
        It shows that you are merely citing propaganda about Hoole. The piece by ‘Romesh Jeyaratnam’ you cite against Hoole is a fairly civilised scholarly exchange. The writer has gone slightly overboard in saying that Hoole selectively quotes Nilakanta Sastri dishonestly, perhaps arising from Jeyaratnam’s conviction that Hinduism has much deeper and more ancient roots among the Tamils than Buddhism or Jainism. All of that is part of ongoing scholarly debate.
        The debate will remain scholarly if society remains receptive to such exchanges. We seem to have lost that. Hoole, I believe made reference to Navalar’s appearance quoting a Hindu scholar, mainly in response to modern writings praising Navalar as fitting current ideas of a good looking male. The point Hoole was making is the tendency among Tamil historians to exalt the alleged looks, character, and deeds of persons who have become closely associated with often questionable and divisive causes. It begs the question whether Tamils living in this country could write the truth anymore on urgent existential issues.

      • 10
        1

        Mr. Kabaragoya:
        You say of Prof. Hoole “He has written vitriolic nonsense about Arumuga Navalar. He has spoken of Navalar’s physical looks: “tiny ears and a big forehead on a huge head, thin hands and legs, strong facial hair, and huge body without any strength” as if he has seen this long dead man.”

        I know Prof. Hoole very well and that he does not write nonsense.

        On what basis do you say this is nonsense when you admit to not knowing Prof. Hoole? Did you meet/see Navalar?

      • 12
        1

        People hate Hoole because he crusades for justice. Bad press on Hoole by bad people is a good certificate.

        Plse don’t give certificates to Savitri Goonesekere. We know all about her. As VC she denied a probationary law lecturer position to Saraswathie Poulraj with second upper and gave it to a Sinhalese boy with lower. Hoole got his friend Elmore Perera to file action giving UGC circulars. This is why the courts ruled that first class and second upper must be interviewed first. This same Savitri also had a Dean or Head writing the thesis of his student and raping her. Savitri punished the girl and withdrew her degree. The professor? Nothing happened to the professor. The whole story came out in the Sunday Leader. Professor Arjuna Parakarama resigned as Dean refusing to be under such a VC. Hoole highlighted all this in his newspaper columns.

        Anything Savitri writes about Hoole is worthless.

        You do not know Sri Lanka. People like Hoole everyone attacks are good people.
        People with “Good people” reputation are the bad people — like feminist Savitri who attacked Saraswathi and took degree from a girl raped by her friend

      • 12
        1

        Part one of two:
        I am elderly and have seen the world. At the end of my life, I join the Jaffna Citizen in giving kabaragoya and other like him some advice on scholarship. If the next generation fails, Jaffna fails.

        I am not surprised that an article on university standards has gotten sidetracked into a debate on Hoole. Your response is connected to university standards (as in the main article) only in that it shows that we Tamils are academically poorly trained.

        You should never have entered this debate on such poor intellectual grounds. Were you sure that Prof. Hoole’s description of Navalar was wrong before you started writing and attacking him? It is the first rule of scholarly writing which you broke. Do not guess when you addressing scholarly stuff.

        We older people who were brought up reading know that Prof. Hoole did not invent Navalar’s looks and need not have known or seen Navalar to know what he looked like. Do we not know what long dead people looked like from photos and descriptions by others?

        Using Hoole’s translating and after I have double checked the original in Tamil, Navalar’s nephew Kailasapillai writing in 1918 says about Navalar that:
        His head was very huge. The other parts of his body were thin and drooping [choombi]. Therefore people of his household and neighbours called him box-head [Paanaa thalaiyar] and tadpole. (T. Kailasapillai, Arumukanavalar’s History, Madras, 1918, page 2).

        Kailasapillai also says in chapter 14 that Navalar had tiny ears and a big forehead on a huge head, thin hands and legs, “strong” facial hair, and huge body without any strength for not doing any bodily work.

        Professor P. Poolohasingam (Eelam Thantha Naavalar, Kaanthalaham, 1993) also gives a similar description.

      • 11
        2

        Part two of two
        Why do you, Kabaragoya, fault Hoole for repeating what is well known and cited by a nephew of Navalar’s and Hindu scholars? It is the second rule of scholarly engagement. Do not personalize arguments. If a scholar is wrong, you simply reason why and let readers judge that scholar. When you give personal reasons without any backing, it is your reputation that will suffer. Has Hoole really written nonsense as you state? If so back it up or you will be seen as a rabble-rouser.

        If you are a Jaffna graduate, please bring kudos to your university by behaving as a graduate should. I would really like to see its graduates doing well.

        I am based in the US. I am part of a team trying to find placements for Tamil students in postgrad situations. But we are having difficulties. They have no writing experience. Jaffna must make our youth write and debate using scholarly standards. If they cannot write a paper to their managers to write reports, and propose projects and changes, they will be permanently condemned to do technical work while their boss who knows English and can make an argument will always be their boss taking credit for their work. This is our tragedy.

    • 9
      2

      Here, hear! Prof Hoole understands the problems of what we anthropologists call “the other.” Most of us are unable to put ourselves in the shoes of others. It is a rare aspect of intelligence missing in both Tamils and Sinhalese. So we never understand each other’s pain.

  • 7
    2

    Rejecting an offer by Prof: Charles Sarvan to teach at the UOJ gratis is itself an indication of the state of affairs and the mindset of those who make decisions at the UOJ.

    One-time V.C. of the University of Ceylon Prof; Nicholas Attygalle was an outspoken and rather blunt personality. He would call a Spade a Spade.
    Prof: Ratnajeevan Hoole, notwithstanding his academic achievements, was kept out simply because he too was outspoken and blunt!

    • 1
      0

      ” Rejecting an offer by Prof: Charles Sarvan to teach at the UOJ gratis is itself an indication of the state of affairs and the mindset of those who make decisions at the UOJ. ”
      Plato, Please tell it aloud to everybody to hear.

      1. They wanted a Hindu University,
      2. Hooley is a mad man, anti-Hindu,
      3. Somebody over or under aged.
      4. Thiyagarajah is studied outside and worked.
      5. Candidates have to be locally born

      These don’t sound like sound selection criteria for a University which has no grading number in the world universities list.
      CT is a free media. It can pick on any one any time. Anybody who tries to turn it back on CT is eloquently and loudly shouting that they part of this corruption. What the heck is these damn fool educated guys, instead of replying for the mistakes, trying to pick on free media? How sure these guys are that all other universities’ cases are systematically getting reported to CT and it is willfully hiding it all?
      Let say everyone in the world is wrong and we are almost a perfect university. But still if somebody pointing out a mistake on us. Then, correcting is wrong? Is it that because others have not corrected their mistakes, so we have no obligation to correct our mistake?
      I guess these guys are protesting behind the scene that CT is publishing Holley’s essays. I like to know if any one of these guys tried to send a reasonably quality essay and CT did not publish it? In that case CT is not maintaining its balance and being biased. Otherwise what these imbecile guys protesting? Are they telling their leaf is going to be stolen by another cat?
      Until Yahapalanaya impunity policies are strong and well in Colombo, these guys jobs are well guaranteed in Jaffna too.

    • 2
      0

      Plato

      “Rejecting an offer by Prof: Charles Sarvan to teach at the UOJ gratis is itself an indication of the state of affairs and the mindset of those who make decisions at the UOJ.”

      SJ should be spending more time and energy helping to recruit educationists, scholars, professors, ….etc from diaspora if possible change the close shop attitude and objection by the university Mafia through out the island rather than defending the corrupt, racist, war criminals in SLFP particularly the matriarch weeping widow.

      Do you know why SJ takes it upon himself to praise/defend the weeping widow all the time? Was he as a young man infatuated with her?

  • 9
    0

    I am surprised by Inuvil Kanthan’s story. The VC Vigneswaran is always at his Inuvil temple, almost daily I hear. Therefore I find it hard to believe that he would take money in exchange for appointments. Can somebody verify Kanthan’s claims?

    The Dean of Engineering is another story. Inuvil Kanthan’s story fits all I know of this man. His father chops firewood in Chiththangkerny and now the son chops down teak trees. on government plantation by Tigers to enrich himself. There the parallel between father and son ends. The father was honest. He never stole.

    Dean Graduate Studies has abilities and the VC gets his help because the VC seems sick and unable to cope with his work. Dean Graduate Studies is therefore always made Acting VC when the VC goes away. Dean Graduate Studies has become very powerful like when Kumaravadivel became powerful by helping weak VC Mohanadas to do his work.

    Is that how the crooked people who ran the university before bought the VC to their side? Using Kumaravadivel on the UGC thy have even got rid of troublesome council members it seems.

    The VC, a religious man who is in the temple all the time is made corrupt? I believe Dean Graduate Studies’ wife who is Dean Agriculture is also in on the teak forest cutting deal. I have seen the Council report. The VC has taken no action even though the report makes clear what happened. That makes me suspicious. May be even religious people have their price?

    The university needs somebody to save it. The Minister of Higher Education is new. I hope he will study the problem. If Vigneswaran cannot handle his work he must step down. He was appointed to clean up. Is he doing it? Or has he joined them because he cannot beat them? He must answer.

    • 2
      0

      Mr.V.S.Supramanium is not at all correct in judging the actions of the present VC. Nowadays, most people who involved in the religious activities are the culprits involving in corruption, bribe and misusing of power in their public life. Vigneswaran is not an exception. Basically he has gone to that low level to have under table dealings with all the notorious deans. If you have got the information correctly, how come you failed to note that the order to cut the trees was given by Mrs.Mikunthan by her official letter. Mr.Mikunthan published articles in “Uthayan” tamil news papers and became Professor by his under table dealings. He did not even enter any of the SriLankan Universities because he could not even get pass in the A/L. He is greedy to be the acting VC even though he was the last & got least votes in the VC election. Why the lorries from Kilinochchi had to come to his house in the nights carrying the cut trees? Engineering dean was smuggled by the former VC and promoted to Professor for his obedience to her during her tenure. Dean Management has been named as an academic thug and he never stop his illegal actions in money making and awarding degrees for money. Now he has moved through VC to bring his PhD student as head/ Financial Management which is a 3rd grade action. Former VC approved Prof Velnamby, Professor of Commerce to supervise a candidate doing PhD in Financial management. If everyone in the management Faculty are getting supervised by one and only Commerce professor, regardless of their study area, then how can the Jaffna University maintain the academic excellence. Deans of this quality are backing the VC and the VC needs the corporation of such deans to do all what he wants. Is this a University or garbage?

  • 2
    0

    What happened to the balance 1700000.00 that the VC received to appoint a candidate who was ranked no 8 in the merit list for the Lecturer position in financial management. Everyone knows that Mr.Aruthirumurugan, shadow of Kampan Jeyaraj, got his Honourary doctorate for his undertable dealings from the former VC Vasanthy Arasaratnam, has taken another version as a mediator between the clients and the present VC now. The deal between the Dean Velnamby’s clerk and the present VC was Rs 19 Lakhs to appoint his substandard son as Lecturer ignoring all the other fully qualified candidates. As a part of staging the drama, VC Vigneswaran and Dean Velnamby have planned to remove the present Head who is fighting for justice and have one of their slaves as future head / Financial Management. Hope the smart members of the present council will not allow this to happen. Hope at least Prof.Uyangoda and Director Dr.Sathiamoorthy will make the VC and Velnamby to repay the 19 Lakhs back to the Clerk. It is not secret that the present Vice Chancellor keeps on getting money for appointments, promotions, illegal timber business, give positions in the University and even to recommend a probationary Lecturer getting his/her entitled study leave. His brokers including TNA fed Lecturer from Moolai, Kampan Kazhaham Aruthirumurugan, Inuvil Theva and Colombo based Dr are taken care well by the VC time to time in one of the hotels in the heart of Jaffna town.

  • 2
    0

    Dear Nambiyar Nambi,
    What happened to the balance 1700000.00 that the VC received to appoint a candidate who was ranked no 8 in the merit list for the Lecturer position in financial management. Everyone knows that Mr.Aruthirumurugan, shadow of Kampan Jeyaraj, got his Honourary doctorate for his under table dealings from the former VC Vasanthy Arasaratnam, has taken another version as a mediator between the clients and the present VC now. Even former Minister Doglus knows that Aruthirumurugan is not fit to be a grade Principal. The deal between the Dean Velnamby’s clerk and the present VC was Rs 19 Lakhs to appoint his substandard son as Lecturer ignoring all the other fully qualified candidates.
    As a part of staging the drama, VC Vigneswaran and Dean Velnamby have planned and removed the present Head who is fighting for justice and have one of their slaves as future head / Financial Management. New Head is doing PhD under Prof. Velnambi. Definitely he will do what Velnambi is requesting.
    Hope at least Prof.Uyangoda and Director Dr.Sathiamoorthy will make the VC and Velnamby to repay the 19 Lakhs back to the Clerk. It is not secret that the present Vice Chancellor keeps on getting money for appointments, promotions, illegal timber business, give positions in the University and even to recommend a probationary Lecturer getting his/her entitled study leave. His brokers including TNA fed Lecturer from Moolai, Kampan Kazhaham Aruthirumurugan, Inuvil Theva and Colombo based Dr.Sivanantharajah are taken care well by the VC time to time in one of the hotels in the heart of Jaffna town.
    There is no secret in his demand of money for doing anything in the University.

  • 1
    0

    This has moved from speculations and has reached name-calling and gutter foul-mouthing stage.
    Should the matter be taken to UGC? Do not say that UGC is lethargic. Constant prodding has to work!
    Remember South Eastern University Teachers’ Association succeeded.

    • 5
      0

      Hi Sivasekaraa (K.Pillai),

      You are correct but you should speak in the council. You are always sitting on the fence to look after yourself to get all Butta ! You never go against admin openly. Pl. Come out with correct name. Can you expose the following Four things in the next council.

      1. Corruptions – VC getting money for appointments.

      2. Not considering merits on selection board.

      3. Tree cutting and involvement of academics.

      4. VC and administration are trying to safe guard the Elankumaran, Professor in sexology (Arts)

      Sampanthan

      • 0
        4

        Sampanthan
        You refer to “Hi Sivasekaraa (K.Pillai),” Who is this Sivasekaraa and why is my name in brackets?
        .
        The matters you have raised are of very serious nature. You must raise these with the UGC. Of course you no doubt have evidences to back up all your assertions. Send these to UGC straight away without waiting for them to ask.
        We are proud to have such caring citizens who never mince their words..
        May the ‘Force of Righteousness’ continue to be with you.
        .
        PS: What does a Professor in sexology (Arts) teach? What does a Technician in sexology do?

        • 0
          0

          Hi Sivaseekara (K.Pilai)….

          That Sampanthan has prudently mentioned within brackets (Arts). This not Engineering or Technology to have Technicians. One professor or Senior Lecturer or Lecturer in Arts do all by themselves. No need of technicians for them to assist.

          You being a ?Senior Professor in Engineering in Pera could not read between lines. Before open your mouth or write pl. read thoroughly. You are a trouble even in our department when you visit to teach.

          Bye Now.

          Junior Technician, Faculty of Engineering, University of Jaffna.

  • 3
    6

    What a hypocrats are you all, trying to cookup biggest bullshitt, we got enough cows in Jaffna . In Western socity do you think so called proffesorswill have got a chance to perform as free lectures. No other country in the world is so good as Sri Lanka when we talk about educators. We are not bad and the local lectures deserve in merit and years of service. How about Oxford, Cambridge or Harward a tamil proffesor Can be a Dean. They wish to have ethenic white local person with political connection. They would not say but they expect the skills for communication and working relationship skills with the University staff and political establishment to drink champagne and eat caviar.

    I support the VC, Dean he is a figure representative who have worked all these years need a proper encorangment, support, instead writing this articale.

  • 0
    0

    Hi Friends,

    It is very obvious that Mr.Guruparan and Ms.Shantha are going to play same side game in Prof.Elankumaran’s case. The reasons that I can list out for you are…

    1. The admin wanted to give Rs. 50,000/= to Mr.Guruparan intially and later it was fixed as Rs.30,000/=

    2. Me.Guruparan is travelling up and down to India as if Jaffna is one of the province of India. One has to check on the overseas leave approval for him.

    3. Mr.Guruparan has given wrong Legal opinion to Mr..Sivaruban’s case to satisfy Dr.Sivayogan

    4. Ms.Shantha has committed in the last council, that this Tribunal judgement on Elankumaran case to to be corrected stating whether each issue is guilt or not Guruparan being her Junior will act on the same side. Why didn’t they include the other lawyer in the council???

    I am sure at this juncture the University students should upraise to safeguard their colleges. Even if by chance this Elankumaran is coming back to University by this well set plot, students should ensure mass protest, otherwise he will ruin the female students again.

    Judge

    • 0
      0

      Judge,
      #
      “1. The admin wanted to give Rs. 50,000/= to Mr.Guruparan intially and later it was fixed as Rs.30,000/=”
      #
      Never mind the money but is there not an obvious conflict of interest? 30k is peanuts for a lawyer.
      #
      “2. Me.Guruparan is travelling up and down to India as if Jaffna is one of the province of India. One has to check on the overseas leave approval for him.”
      #
      Please obtain the details of his foreign leave and what he has paid for the university for work he does as a lawyer during UoJ working hours in courts.
      #
      Hopefully his frequent visits to India bear fruit.

  • 3
    0

    Another abuse of power in the University of Jaffna, today. Registrar has sent some labourers who were appointed through the back door (VC and registrar have got money) to start working in the Library, when the librarian has gone to Colombo. VC and registrar are abusing the power to keep these new employees employed in the Library through the back door . Why are they doing this? The money that they have got for the appointments of these employees make the VC and Registrar to do nasty things.

  • 3
    0

    I do not like to enter this debate because I consider the VC my long-standing friend.

    But I do so after hearing from a credible party that the Librarian had heard that someone in the administration was making money for giving appointments and had asked him to look into the matter.

    That in itself would not have upset my steadfast confidence in the VC. What upset my confidence is that, as I heard, the VC ordered an inquiry against the Librarian.

    What is the charge? Is it a ploy to discourage complaints on corruption?

    The VC must answer if he wants to retain us loyal supported of his.

  • 0
    1

    Some of the accusations appeared compelling and the obvious step is we go to the UGC. Instead two commenters tried to identify me. This is wastage of time.
    Facts are sacred. Speculations cannot be turned into facts. Foul mouthing?
    .
    Again I implore: TAKE THIS TO UGC.

  • 4
    0

    Are funds for Tamil Studies being fiddled by some council members?

    It has been known since 2011 that a donor from Singapore willed a large sum of money to set up a Tamil Studies section in the University of Jaffna Library. The sum was transferred to the University of Jaffna by Vijendran Alfreds, a former manager of Singapore Airlines. Vice Chancellor Vasanthy Arasaratnam was intent on promoting her favourite to the position of Librarian and for this reason was all out to discredit the present Librarian, and made sure that she was not allowed to do anything with the bequest.

    The money remained unspent and Arasaratnam went. Under the new VC, on the initiative of council member Aru Thirumurugan, the money has been placed under the Tamil Department which is now looking to purchase land for a new departmental library, completely out of the control of the main Library.

    Aru Thirumurugan’s fame to scholarship is an honourary doctorate from Jaffna University.

    According to university sources, the money is being spent to print some undistinguished productions by the University’s Tamil department, which will no doubt provide points for undistinguished scholars for their promotions.

    If one looks at IATR conferences in the 1960s, when Tamil scholarship hit a high mark, the contributions were from diverse professionals: Linguists, historians, geographers, archaeologists, irrigation experts etc. It is only the Library that is equipped to bring together the diversity needed for broad-based research into Tamil studies. There is no one in the Tamil department at present like Kailasapathy or Sivathamby who had international contacts and could bring together a broad outlook.

    Presently some hard questions have to be asked so that the bequest is not misspent.

    • 0
      1

      ~ “Are funds for Tamil Studies being fiddled by some council members?”
      The answer is implied.
      There are a few really really concerned about JoC. They say “Again I implore: TAKE THIS TO UGC.”
      .
      PS: Taking on the name ‘Pillai’ shows not only limited imagination but total absence of vision.

      • 2
        0

        Given that we have many Pillais, and given your reference to imagining up names, K. Pillai is clearly imagined.
        Is Sivasegaram then your real name?

    • 0
      0

      Pillai

      Why should any self respecting Sinhala/Tamil academic allow foreigners to fill the gap that you imagine exists. There is no such thing.
      We the little islanders, know everything, we know what is good for the students, we know what is good for the Uni, we know what is good for the country, …. We don’t want outsiders to tell us what is good for our universities.

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