18 October, 2019

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Solution To The University Crisis: A View From An Academic

By Amal S. Kumarage

Prof. Amal S. Kumarage

Mr CA Chandraprema in his article published in the SundayIslandof 19th August has dedicated two paragraphs to my detailed response to his previous criticism of the current trade union action of academics. Even though he states that his faith in academia has been restored after reading my article, I find that his faith is still wavering as it has not stopped his dismissal of the key issues and usual endorsement of Government view. I was however encouraged enough to write a further article to address the concern he has raised why ‘senior academics’ were not involved in negotiations and in drafting the FUTA demands.

Missing the Issue by asking ‘Who’ instead of ‘What”

Sri Lankan society has steadily been conditioned to filter any information based on who says it rather than what is said. From branding all dissent as ‘unpatriotic’, all criticism as ‘politically intent’ and even opinion as ‘unnecessary’, society has been conditioned to listen to and believe in a single source as opposed to appreciating different views. This sadly, in spite of our long legacy of education, reflects the lack of a truly educated populace. In the context of the current trade union action, the attempts at dismissing FUTA as extreme and painting all universities and academics as clowns in a circus are attempts at yet again distancing the populace from one of the last bastions of resistance to popular political ideology that seems bent on making people accept explanation without inquiry and leadership without accountability. Many responses to my earlier article called it ‘realistic’ and ‘moderate’. Thus I stand on that confirmation to propose the following as a direction towards solving the university crisis.

Slipping and Sliding: Irresponsible Stewardship

The Table 1 shows funding for full time undergraduate courses for the last 3 years where detailed figures are available.

Accordingly, the Faculty cost which is the academic input costs plus cost of libraries etc, are highest in Medicine at Rs 170,657 per student per year, while Commerce and Management records the lowest at Rs 44,470 per student per year. The university overhead per student which comprises mostly of other (administrative and non-academic) staff costs amounts to Rs 59,057 per student. Sadly this means that in some of our faculties the cost of non-academic staff inputs is higher than academic staff inputs! Adding all other cost components, the total average (weighted) cost across all the faculties’ amounts to around Rs 200,000 per undergraduate per year. This table shows how the average total cost per student has reduced by over 20% in the last three years, mostly due to reducing capital allocation. Even recurrent spending can be considered to have reduced when adjusted for inflation. This is the alarm that academics are raising for society to be mindful of the irresponsible handling of higher education.

It is seen from the table, that fund allocation per student has gone down over the last few years. Budgets for each university are not computed according to student numbers. Each year the budget is increased by a nominal margin and thereafter the Government usually requests for more students to be taken. These are not joint decisions. That is why Ministers prefer Vice chancellors and Deans who will readily oblige. This process lacks basic management safeguards of ensuring quality is maintained. A good example of this is the current request made by the UGC from the universities to admit some 6,300 extra students (an increase of around 30% on usual intake) due to the Z-score blunder without any additional resources. The mistake and responsibility of one institution is now conveniently passed on to all the universities. A few years ago, a similar problem with the Chemistry paper saw pressure put on theUniversityofMoratuwato increase the number admitted to a new program from 50 to 106, which led to over 40 students being unable to find employment on graduation. The Rajarata Medical Faculty came to being for the same reason. In many new programs, promised facilities are provided many years after such programs start leading to student protests and constraints on the proper development of such programs. These examples show how little understanding the Government displays on essentials of university education. It cannot be likened to a production line that can be increased or reduced by working overtime or operating an extra shift depending on a sudden ‘order’.

Make Financial Allocation Student based

The above costs for a degree by any standard are very low. Given the quality of some of the programs that produce graduates holding internationally accredited degrees this is indeed very cost-effective higher education. There is no comparison I am aware of in the world, where medical or engineering graduates who have an international recognition are produced at such cost. But could this cost be squeezed further? In fact this is the crux of the protest! Academics say that it can’t be done- not without a drop in quality. Having studied amount of fees charged by private institutions and costs of public universities from across several countries, it is apparent that further reduction in cost is not possible when it is currently only around 1/10th of that of leading universities. As such my proposal is for Government to start providing universities a per student financial allocation from 2013 onwards. I suggest that average spending should be raised by around 50%, to say Rs 300,000/- per student per year. The different programs may be provided adjusted amounts to compensate for current under spending and to match international norms. As such I believe that the Engineering Faculty should receive around Rs 360,000/- per student in 2012. This should be adjusted for inflation every subsequent year. Further adjustment to reflect the increasing GDP to reach targeted level may fine tune these allocations this further. The increased allocation can be only for new students starting from 2012/13 intake. It will then take around four years till the total funding increase is completed. This will give universities more time to adjust and use the increased funds more efficiently.

The analysis indicates that the capital required to start new programs or to increase of student numbers to existing programs should be calculated separately. At the University of Moratuwa, it costs around Rs 2 to 3 million per new student to provide additional classrooms, labs, staff rooms, other student facilities and equipment. This cost will be different for students in other programs. Thus if the UGC wishes to increase student numbers they should provide the additional capital expenditure in the said format. In this context if the UGC wishes to increase the admissions due to the Z score blunder, it will be easier to calculate the actual cost of its mistake. If as reported in some media, an additional 6,300 students are to be admitted, then this additional financial commitment would be around Rs 18 billion over four years, computed at Rs 300,000 recurrent cost per year per student and capital costs at say, Rs 1.5 million (being adjusted to account for less resource intense programs) per student for creating new capacity. As it may not be possible for a university to increase building space etc in just one year, capital funds may in consultation with the respective university and faculty, be also spread over 4 years or so making the cost burden Rs 4.5 billion per year. This for anyone who wishes to complain is currently what is spent to build just one km of elevated expressway!

The positive aspect of this funding approach is that the Z-score blunder can be transformed to a constructive feature by initiating a permanent capacity expansion. I believe this may be the solution that HE the President was expecting by saying that solutions must be ‘win-win’ for both sides. Temporary ‘fixes’ such as a one-off additional intake as has been suggested should be rejected outright, as they deteriorate standards for such an intake, which once lowered stay there permanently. According to the above formula and as shown in Table 2, the government will need to only marginally increase its total expenditure on universities in 2013 and will by 2015 achieve 0.48% of GDP, an increase from 0.21% in 2010. It should be noted that the calculations in the tables are approximate and based on assumed student figures and a growth of GDP of 6%.

Is Funding the Only Issue?

Additional funding is essential to improve and maintain quality. But that alone will not be adequate to bring about all the desired changes in university education. There are three major areas needing urgent reform that I will elaborate on in this article:

Financial autonomy: At present only the Vice-chancellor, Deputy VC, Deans, Registrar and the Bursar at the University of Moratuwa can approve any voucher or invoice of over Rs 5,000/-. Not even a Head of Department or Senior Professor can approve anything above this paltry amount. Much time of academics is spent on filling forms, following up payment vouchers, collecting cash from the Bursar, getting 3, now increased to 5 quotations for getting simple supplies needed for doing anything out of the mundane. The Finance Ministry can intervene to ensure that financial autonomy is fully vested with the University and that the respective university council encouraged delegating authority so that the core competency in the university which is its academia and their energy and time can be released to pursue academic and research work. Councils must also be given greater flexibility to device incentives schemes as well as means of generating income to universities by providing research and marketable educational products. They must also be given greater discretion in utilizing earned incomes. It is grossly unfair to criticize universities when it is the Government AR and FR that are used to deflate the energy of the presently limited number of academics from doing anything innovative or entrepreneurial.

Recruitment autonomy: It is common knowledge that except for academic posts, applicants to all other posts in universities have to be selected from a list sent by the Ministry. The basis of inclusion in this list is a letter from a ruling party politician. Sadly most government institutions and now universities are being treated as the dumping ground of political supporters and their kith and kin. We know what happened to the CTB and the Railways which were in the 1960s, institutions of national pride. Our State universities are being dragged (currently kicking and screaming) along the same route to ridicule and destruction. Parliament, the Auditor General and all other watch dogs of public interest have failed to stop such violations of autonomy, transparency and abuse of power. Unless universities are provided the functional autonomy to do their own recruitment to suit the requirements of running an educational institute, public should be made aware that universities cannot be held responsible for delivery or more precisely the lack of it. Thus the most pressing closure we require from the Hon Minister is the closure to political interference. The University Act must be amended accordingly and until then a circular issued to this effect.

Procedural Autonomy: Many readers of my previous article published in the Colombo Telegraph criticized the lack of research publications by Sri Lankan academics. As one of the species who has supervised several PhD candidates, scores of Masters Students and Research Assistants over 20 years, it should be said that State universities have in general no allocation earmarked for research (except the dubious ‘Research Allowance’ that was given in lieu of a salary increase last year). Currently the National Science Foundation (NSF) provides research funding for which it has a 26 page application form. The monthly allowance payable to a full time Research Scientist (one with post graduate qualifications) is only Rs 40,000/- and less for full time MSc and PhD students. I simply cannot find qualified, capable and experienced researchers at such allowances! In the universities abroad that we are often compared with, the research output of professors is almost entirely dependent on the availability of quality post graduate students and assistants they are able to hire. Moreover, even if one finds funding for a research project in Sri Lanka, funds to travel and present research papers at an international forum or for publication is often more challenging that the research itself. Furthermore, if and when you actually get the funds, it is possible that you could have missed the deadline for applying for overseas leave from the university which must be done 24-days before travel! Such are the unsupportive and archaic regulations within which research is expected to be carried out in Sri Lankan universities. If you add the constant chaos due to power cuts, flux in university calendars, and unavailability of suitable support staff, getting even the smallest research output is an effort. A Research Fund to provide regular funds for competitive proposals with simplified disbursement formats, higher remuneration of researchers together with stringent output requirements could be set up in each university to solve this problem.

The Issue of Retaining Academics

Much has been written on the inability of the current university salaries and work conditions to attract or retain quality academic staff in State universities. I wish to say no more. The higher student fees I propose could be used by the universities to overcome some of these problems. For example, I propose the creation of a Research Fund in each university equal to 1/10th of the total salary bill of academic staff to spend entirely on research activities of such academics supervising post graduate students, research fellows and for publications and travel for presentations of papers at conferences. A comprehensive family medical cover and insurance is another requirement as currently there is none and a source of stress for many. It can also provide a fund for assisting young recruits to lecturer grade to pursue higher qualifications, as scholarships are increasingly difficult to obtain. It would also be adequate to provide a ‘re-settlement’ package for those returning from PhD studies overseas to assist them to purchase a house and vehicle if they so desire of course, plus some entitlement for school admissions as these are some of the major concerns for someone returning from abroad with young children.

As per my calculation, if the Faculty of Engineering at University of Moratuwa is provided per student funding of Rs 350,000/-, the recurrent income to the university would increase by around Rs 100 million per year. This will be adequate to provide all the above proposals for the faculty plus leave enough for the 20% salary increase that is demanded at this stage plus hiring staff required for the additional students. The proposed tie to inflation and GDP will also enable universities to pay market rates to their staff without creating salary gaps and ensuing strikes!

Conclusion: More Money for Universities should ensure more Students will access Quality Education

Currently State universities admit just 15 percent of those qualifying to enter university while Private Higher Educational Institutes admit around 8 percent with an equal number seeking admission to foreign universities. The relative costs for providing such education are in the approximate ratio of 1 (State): 2-3 (Private): 5-10 (Foreign). There should be a plan to increase the overall access to universities for at least 50 percent of those qualified. Since State universities offer the lowest cost of higher education they should be nurtured and capacity further developed to become the primary provider. However quality should not be compromised by attempts to reduce cost further.

This article gives clear and practical steps the Government could take to resolve the crisis in the universities. It calls for a committed plan of increasing expenditure on State universities from 0.21 to 0.48 percent of GDP over 4 years. This cannot be a herculean task for a government embarking on many ambitious and expensive development projects. It is the investment in higher education that will ensure that such projects are properly planned and implemented. Thus higher education is basic condition of sustainability in development efforts. A similar per student funding scheme may be developed for school education with an enhanced remuneration package and in-service training for teachers, for providing resources for student-based learning facilities. These too could be introduced in a stage-wise manner to make it practical and affordable. It is even possible that such strategic interventions can in fact enable quality of university and school education to be restored even without spending all of the 6% of GDP that is being demanded.

The author gratefully acknowledges the support of the University of Moratuwa Teachers’ Association (UMTA) for the data mining and analytical work for this article and in particular the contributions from Dr Himan Punchihewa, Dr T. Sivakumar, Mr Ranil Sugathadasa and Ms Baudhi Abeysekera.

*Amal S. KumarageSenior Professor, Faculty of Engineering, University of Moratuwa.

To read FUTA stories click here

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Latest comments

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    1 The idea that there is no money to education is a TOTAL MYTH. The fact is that there is no POLITICAL WILL to improve education because the uneducated Rajapakse family fears educated people who think critically and ask questions about the current regime excesses and wasting on funds on white elephant infrastructure projects instead of prioritizing education.
    2. FUTA should ask for a 40 percent increase in Salaries since the Sri Lanka rupee has depreciated more than twenty percent this year and they still would not be able to correct the BRAIN DRAIN with a mere twenty percent pay rise. The Lankan rupee has depreciated as we all know due to the massive borrowing and bankrupting of the country and looting of public wealth due to mis-managment and corruption by the regime that fears educated people and their RIGHT TO INFORMATION. FUTA needs to point this out in their negotiations.
    3 FUTA must demand closure of the Rakna Lanka paramilitary which is Gota the white van goon’s private militia which is eating into Education sector funds through militarization of universities. This private militia company very similar to the notorious US Black water outfit is a bunch of killers and a danger to democracy and social development.
    4. The older generation of academics has been a large part of the problem and contributed to ruin and politicized education (e.g. VCs awarding free doctorates to the uneducated Rajapakse Bros in 2009) so it is good that the new FUTA which is run by a younger generation of bright internationally trained academics who want to clean up the mess and are not interested in running behind politicians, but are self confident are facing multiple challenges.. All credit to FUTA leaders who will BE THE CHANGE that the country desperately needs, and for putting the important issues on the table and working in a systematic way to enlighten the public.
    5. Lets hope that this generation of FUTA led uni academics make principled and ethical arguments, keep up the good work and steps out and become public intellectuals and rise to the challenge of leading social development in Lanka through brain power rather than brute power which is what the regime is into..

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      Good piece and response..
      FUTA must demand that in future the Ministers of Education must be educated women or men with at least a Masters Degree. The Minister of Higher Education must be required to have a doctorate with a research degree who knows what it takes to do research and invest in research to improve output. Appointment to the education ministry requires people with a high level of ethics, principles, technical competence as well as abilities in logical thinking.. Likewise the appointment of Govt stooges to UGC and university boards which has compounded the mess must be stopped and appointment merit based and with the approval of VCs.
      The two clowns who are ministers of education must be asked to resign as a prerequisite for sorting out issues in the education sector and developing a comprehensive white paper on educational reform that includes better facilities of Dons and STUDENTS. SB Dissanaiyake and Bandulla the clown must be held accountable for a horrible mess that has transpired with Z score and the strikes and for lying and inventing conspiracy theories to cover up their gross stupidity and incompetence that is evident to everyone.

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        How about university lectures? According to MOHE statistics, Only 42% of teachers in established universities have PhDs. It is 22% in North and East and 18% in other regional universities such as Rajarata, Sabaragamuwa, Wayamba, Uva. I suggest recruit all lecturers with PhD and assistant lecturers with master degree. All kind of lecturers should have minimum number of publication in reputed journal rankings such as SCI, SSCI and SCOPUS. This should be applied first. Then, we think about qualification of Minister of Higher Education.

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          It is ideal if you can hire senior lectures with the minimum qualification of a PhD and a lecturer with a masters degree. But a person with a PhD should be willing to join a University as a senior lecturer. This is exactly why the academic grades should have an attractive salary scale. It is a good idea to have a minimum number of publications per academic staff member. Again the research facilities of our Universities have to be improved a lot.

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    1 The idea that there is no money for education is a TOTAL MYTH. The fact is that there is no POLITICAL WILL to improve education because the uneducated Rajapakse family fears educated people who think critically and ask questions about the current regime excesses and wasting of funds on white elephant infrastructure projects – instead of prioritizing education.
    2. FUTA should ask for a 40 percent increase in Salaries since the Sri Lanka rupee has depreciated more than twenty percent this year and they still would not be able to correct the BRAIN DRAIN with a mere twenty percent pay rise. The Lankan rupee has depreciated as we all know due to the massive borrowing and bankrupting of the country and looting of public wealth due to mis-managment and corruption by the regime that fears educated people and their RIGHT TO INFORMATION. FUTA needs to point this out in their negotiations.
    3 FUTA must demand closure of the Rakna Lanka paramilitary which is Gota the white van goon’s private militia which is eating into Education sector funds through militarization of universities. This private militia company very similar to the notorious US Black water outfit is a bunch of killers and a danger to democracy and social development.
    4. The older generation of academics has been a large part of the problem and contributed to ruin and politicized education (e.g. VCs awarding free doctorates to the uneducated Rajapakse Bros in 2009) so it is good that the new FUTA which is run by a younger generation of bright internationally trained academics who want to clean up the mess and are not interested in running behind politicians, but are self confident are facing multiple challenges.. All credit to FUTA leaders who will BE THE CHANGE that the country desperately needs, and for putting the important issues on the table and working in a systematic way to enlighten the public.
    5. Lets hope that this generation of FUTA led uni academics make principled and ethical arguments, keep up the good work and steps out and become public intellectuals and rise to the challenge of leading social development in Lanka through brain power rather than brute power which is what the regime is into..

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    On the issue of the waste of funds that should go to the education sector by the regime and its cronies on the proliferation of useless ministries for rent-seekers in the UPFA: The disaster Management Ministry has bought 8 nuclear disaster early warning systems for tiny Lanka, but did nothing about the sinking ship and oil spill off Panadura and is NOT DOING ANYTHING about the massive environmental disaster even though it was known for months before that the ship with oil was sinking of the coast of Panadura and would cause an ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER and affect fisheries livelihoods.
    Wonder who in that useless ministry of Disaster Managment which is itself a disaster which has a massive new building and zero brain power and technical expertise to deal with a real disaster but spends billions on imaginary nuclear disasters got the cut backs for so may nuclear disaster warning devices! That ministry should be closed down and the building and funds transferred for education.
    The regime also gets cronies into institutions like the NARA to lie about lots of dead fish found off the coast. The Head of NARA said that there was no relationship between the oil in the sea and the fish dying!
    Clearly regime change and sending Rajapassa Bros to Hague for a war crimes trial is the only solution to Lanka’s problems and hopefully the people will realise this soon!

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    The MR government’s strategy appears to mark time as the University Staff without salaries will not be able to continue this strike action for long and sooner than later will return. I believe Amal Kumarage and crowd should start a fund to help the FUTA of their action to sustain the striking members and see how long the MR govt. can play deaf. Now it is too far gone for MR to intervene to show his concern, thus it would not be possible for his govt. to give in. This action of FUTA will be MR’s Waterloo. Let us all get together and help FUTA in our contribution for the greater good of all of us.

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      Quite agree. Enlighten people must support FUTA at this crucial moment.

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      Agreed. All professionals should assist FUTA to continue the struggle for the betterment of the future generations. It is sure that there are many professionals/well wishers who will be ready to contribute for a similar fund.

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    How true is your statement sir, “making people accept explanation without inquiry and leadership without accountability”.

    My hope and prayer for Sri Lanka is that may this be the ‘beginning of the end’

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    Education is a fundamental right of every child. It is often the only means towards a sustainable economic future for an individual in a largely poor country.

    If the education sector is debilitated for political expediency, it will surely spell the end to qualified debate about social issues, questioning of ‘official’ policy promoted by self-interest, and competence to discern between good and bad for society in general.

    Sri Lankans must wake up to the realities that belie the various narratives woven around issues critically important to the future generations of their country.

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    excellent! We need more Amals!!

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      Sure, but difficult to find. Wish to have more…..

      Majority of the professionals or educated people in this country do not have courage to come forward and give their contribution to the country. Even at a crisis. Some simply do not aware of what is happening around them. I think this is also a weakness in our education system. Very few participated in extracurricular or personality development activites or programmes during their school or University time.

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    Academics are the breath of the people and the knowledge of one lives even after his death. Academics should realize that they are the only and true leaders of the people as their quality of living depends on the knowledge that Academics impart to the people. Sri Lanka’s Academics (the sincere and honest ones, not the politically biased who have barterred their knowledge for perks and positions)have not so far lived up to this leadership required of them. Now they are making efforts to live up-to what is expected of them. One and all should not only welcome this change but also support them in all ways possible. Having myself been on strike with my colleagues for 82 days continuously just cannot fail to realize the difficulties that these Academics would undergo. Self and my colleagues were supported and encouraged by fellow workers in other work places, our families and relations; and we emerged victorious. Those of us who live outside Sri Lanka should join together to support the FUTA and other Academics who are fighting for the benefit of the future generation of the country. Shall we organize a circle? Let us remember “AN ATOM OF AN ACTION IS WORTH MORE THAN A MILLIONS OF WORDS SPOKEN OR WRITTEN”

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    A decision has taken to initiate a fund raising to assist the needy FUTA members as they are without their renumeration for 2 months. Some members actually have to pay their loan installments to bank & other agencies. That’s a good idea. Though some says they are well paid they depend on bank loans. They have to educate their children and day today life expenses. Those who are well off can donate some funds to FUTA when the fund raising is initiated.

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      Can the Colombo Telegraph administration devise some method to raise funds from Sri Lankan expatriates to support this worthy cause?

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      Dear brothers yes we must help our univeristy intellectuals to propel this seed of correct thinking and get the other trade associations organisations to join and become a real force to outs papdam ministers such as SB who has become a curse for the eduction of Sri Lanka.

      Certainly I will contribute to save free eduction of Sri Lanka which I had received from my motherland.

      Let me know.

      Lionel Hettiarachchi

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    I aggreed with James Bond regarding the educational qualifications of Minister of education and Minister of high education. In Sri Lanka, many people including ministers who are appointed for high post are not qualified for conducting duties related to their posts or appointments. Our education ministers do not have sufficient knowledge about new international trends in education.They think that providing Lap tops and teaching english would solve all the problems of education in Sri Lanka.In addition, these two ministers do not have necessary skills and competencies such as problem solving and negotiation skills, leadership, and professional ethics. They have already proved their inability to continue on their posts

    To solve various problems in different sectors of the economy such as education, health, transport,and energy, we should avchieve considerable progress in our economic development process. To achieve, considerable progress in economic development, decission makers in responsible institutes should have clear vision and knoledge about relevant areas. For example, see our Central Bank governor is not an economist. I do not think that he should have required understanding of economic principles that need to direct economic development process towards correct directions. This is one of the worst appointments done by this government. Poor economic knowledge of Central Bank governor created serious problems in our economic growth process and international trade. The bad performace of these productive areas adversely affect the allocation of resources for education.

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    Our country needs people like Dr.Amal who are breve enough to speak up what is right.

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    Amal has put one side of the picture very well, that is the status of degrading funding towards university education and the retapes in administration.

    The problem comes to my mind is how can a government provide such a huge amount of money without a sustainable economic framework. We are demanding or trying to achieve the status of fully developed countries, which is indeed the correct way to progress.

    However I like to point out many of the developed countries have adopted a mechanism to recover the money spent on tertiary education by making the graduates to pay the course fee, either at the beginning or after graduation over a period of time.

    Considering the salary expectations of university staff and the demanding status of course standards, I believe it is time to accept that there is a cost for higher education, and that must be paid by someone. So the most suitable people to recover that investment are the graduates. It is time now to face the reality.

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    Without any single publications in international indexed journals, professor salary and title used by more than 94% of Sri Lankan Professors. It is shame, HE President sack all these fake professors and say them to prove that they have to have at least 15 articles in international indexed journals (SCI, Scopus…etc) and PhD from good ranking University. Sack these jokers from Sri Lankan academic mafia and clean Universities from family business. These are public funded Institutions and tax payers pay salary. The main problem with government low quality Universities are wrong people in Lecturer/professor positions. Now it seems like Sri Lankan People need to recheck academic qualifications (PhD from top ranking University) and High end indexed journal publications(ISI, Scopus..etc not google scholars…etc) of so called fake Professors. Today all the journals follow peer review process with ISSN nos but only high end indexed journals publications consider for professor appointment. Now right time to remove these fake professors and increase salary for right professors who satisfy international conditions to be called as a professor. Now seems like few jokers by using dirt tactics became professors and claiming profs in Sri Lankan Universities. Exposed all of them. Normally these people should remove conference papers as they are not serious anybody submit any abstract or paper to conference accept. Therefore conference papers not consider as serious things. Appoint profs for three year period and after that check their performance and re appoint. Life time joker appointments must stopped. I also did my master under one fake professor and research is a private consultancy report of my supervisor. On the one hand family business and on the other mafia in Universities. Clean universities from all these evils before salary increases. Even if you decrease salary these people stay with you. At the moment most of the purchases for University system getting from the Companies belong to University inside people. Computers and chemicals are getting from company belongs to inside academics and others all same. That is why these people want more money to education (6% GDP). Even last year 15% money allocated to Universities did not spend. Why they cannot allow private sector to enter higher education and compete with them. Professional degrees such as medicine, law, engineering etc should be given to private sector and government should give scholarships to students. Now world trend is primary and secondary education under government and higher education must be run by private sector with tight regulatory body. Please do not include fake joker professors for that. Sri Lanka has the lowest qualified Professors in terms of any international professor indicators. Therefore they deserve very less salary and salary should be link to performance and international high end journal publications, foreign exposure and PhD from right place. These people are never allow any qualified PhD holder to join university system and system run as a mafia with their kiths and kins. If these people can get 3000 US $ job they never going to stay in this country. Those who can find good foreign jobs they left. This is a struggle to topple government by Church based UNP group and JVP based foreign NGO group. HE President never allow these jokers to topple people elected government and recheck their qualifications and sack them for getting University titles wrong ways. They never recruit qualified person to University teacher posts. All recruits are family and friends, etc based. That is why family dept. you find in many Universities. More than 40% university academic staffs are females and another 10% husband and wife and another 40% are whatever means relatives to each other. If these people do not come to work three months automatically their post will be vacated.

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      Farook seems insane. With zero funds for research who can any wise academic do a research and publish.

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      Farook seems insane. With zero funds for research how can any wise academic do a research and publish.

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      Farook seems insane.
      With zero funds for research how can any wise academic do a research and publish.

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      Mr. Farook! You have good knowledge about university system in Sri Lanka. I also surprise about senior professor. Nobel prize winning professor also does not get senior professor level. I have seen some of Sri Lankan professors does not have PhD and research papers. Some professors teaches research method without single publication in SCI, SSCI and Scopus indexes journal. However, I cannot agree with you fully. It is very difficult to publish papers in SCI, SSCI and Scopus. Teaching is not much difficult compared to high ended journals. Some people are good for doing research and other are good for teaching. However, Sri Lankan universities ignored the people who have better skills in research. Further, Sri Lankan universities do not have research centers in the universities. Professors want to have research centers with all the facilities. They have to start a research center in a small scale. Attitude of university teachers also adversely affect on research and paper publication. Internal politics of the university is also decrease the quality of Sri Lankan universities. Every university has to establish one research center in their department level. Government should provide salaries for 3 employees and provide 1/20 salary of the department employees (including all staff) as research fund. I agree with Mr. Farook, professors and grade of lecturers appoint for 3 or 5 years and MOHE has to evaluate lecturers’ performance based on quality publications, number and value research funds obtained and number of his/her research/undergraduate students received international scholarships, number of keynote speaks , ratio of lecture hours per academic year. However, we do not hurt old professors. They have done good job for the universities when talented professors left the country.

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    Sri Lankan Universties are the world’s most badly governed organizations and it is family and mafia business without any research and quality focus. Recheck qualifications of Lecturers. Some claimed as Economists but not any single Economics degree. Example Colombo University Arts faculty and it is full of disrobed persons (Including Dean Arts) and Grand father to grand childern you find with whole family tree.

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    Ninety nine percent of all the blunders already happened and also happening today are due to unqualified, uneducated and short thinking of related ministers. The hedging contract, norochcholai power station, Air Lanka and Mihin Air, Hambantota harbor and Air port, and even the sunken cargo ship are a few examples. The money wasted on these loss making projects could have well used if the politicians had sufficient knowledge. Only FUTA can put the country to correct path and all should help them win the demands and to save education and country heading from disaster.

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    Sri Lanka must use this opportunity to modify whole education system. They must introduce merit based promotion and tenure process. Also evaluation must be based on teaching, research and services. I do not know why FUTA does not want to propose such an effective and rescannable system to the government rather than just salary and unwanted demand (6% GDP for education). If FUTA works for a honest reason to develop education, it must consider the above modification to the university system.

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    We need overall change of Sri Lankan’s Economy structure, Public Education and Health as top in natiloal agenda;ongoing world development stantdard,must take into account of recent innovation of Techonoly and Science are concern in world.
    We are far lagging behind in present Globe level development in every sphere Investment, Trade, Education, Health, Industries, Agriculture Enviroment,Energy innovation, Water managemant & Irrigation, modern agricultue methods of high return cultiviation and Natural Distaret Managemant and Recyle Induatries ects.Ours political-economy-social order need strategic changes of undergoing moving towards profound changes of base on DEMOCRACY STYLE HAD BEEN INHERATED SINCE 1948.
    We haveto voice of our education as priority to settle social conflict and social unrest in future Sri Lankan nation.
    Last couples yeras since 1977 UNP-JRJ model of open economy of neo-liberal poilcy of economy-political growth as a whole NOT ELIMINATE UNEQUAL DISTRUBATION,CORRUPATION AND INEQULITIES SOCIETY SPECIALLY EDUCATIOCN SPHERE.
    The crux of matter is where government are captured by interset groups who controal vast bulk of economic benfits.Due this trend serious imblance in income distribation,we have to workhard address income distribution, pubilc education and public health end of War 2009 May,by MR government.
    The widen gap between the RICH and POOR hold back the expansion of country’s domestic market economy,becoming an OBSTACCLE of nation blance and sustanible development.This will lead to soiacl uncertanities and insability will creat the unprecedented enviroment hazard as well as SHARPEN SOCIAL CLASSES AND ETHANIC CONFLICTS IN OUR SOCIETY.
    The politiacl classes lerdership and its democratic revoluatioary programe urgentaly address ongoing socail confilicts.Old Order of Neo-liberial policies are outdated,we must seek new class alliances under the PEOPLE’S LEADERSHIP AND PEOPLE’ POWER.

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    It is a mistake done by government or universities to give lifetime appointment to these lecturers. They should all given probationary appointment of 3-4 years. If they sre not doing research, not making publications in international journals ( not A.L work wook as some of these claim as publications), and not generating funds through grants discontinue their service.

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    GMOA and FUTA against to private universities owned and operate by Sri Lankan people. What is your stand for Indian University study centres. Annamalai, Baradidasan, Madras, Alagappa, Madurai are some of the Indian state Universities set up study centres in Sri Lanka. These universities are not good university rank in Asia or World. Their education are very low quality in Sri Lanka. Most of Indian degrees are not well recognize developed countries such as USA and Canada. If a student has Indian BSc or BA degree, wants to do master in US, and he has to passed first year master degree in Indian or other university. It means this Indian degree is not well recognized. Sri Lanka does not have any law to regulate these institutions. I believe that Sri Lanka needs proper law to regulate all degree offering institutions. As a policy, Sri Lanka should allow to setup campuses or study centers of well established universities. These university rank (QS or Time rankings) should be less than 200 in Asia and less than 800 in the world. UGC has to look up this matter soon and FUTA and Professors have to raise their voice. Most people in Sri Lanka believe India and Indian intelligent service behind this higher education crisis and want to destroy quality Education system in Sri Lanka.

    Look following link for more details:

    http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=60496

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    As Prof. Amal has suggested, the primary provider of University Education should be the state. A good mechanism to oversee the establishment of private tertiary education providers have to be in place. This is lacking at present. The reader ABC is pointing out just one bad university already established. If unchecked, we will see hundreds of such universities (whose motivation is to earn money and not to develop higher education in Sri Lanka) in the near future. This is why FUTA must be a party in making decisions related to higher education in Sri Lanka.

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      I am wonder why FUTA against for SAITM (Malabe Campus). There are 100s of private companies offer various degrees in Sri Lanka. They don’t have physical or human resources. But, they offer BSc, MSc, MBA and PhDs.Rajasinghe looks like a member of FUTA (away of his writting). If SAITM has satisfied quality standard, it has right to get approval. All university students should get standard final exam and papers should mark by common pannel. Then, everyone can determine which universities produce quality graduates. All state university graduates are not high quality. Some inteligence students can not enter to the state universities due to this district system. MOHE has responsibility for quality standard for heigher education whether it is state or private. There is need of proper law for private universities.

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    I guess so called writer Senior Professor ….

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    I totally agreed with Farook and Mallika’s comments because they understood the ground reality in Sri Lankan low level Universities. I personnealy knows all the Vice Chnacellors are living in the laps of Contrcators and suppliers of the Universties. Some even go to clubs, drinks and eating and conmig to houses and entertain these VC and some of the compnaies which supply many things to Universties belong to VC ut registered under their kiths and kins. Not only recuritments but also everything is a family business.

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