25 June, 2021

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Sri Lankan Universities In Dire Straits

By Darshani Wimalasuriya

The standard of education, at Sri Lankan universities, is declining rapidly.  According to World ranking, local universities standards, are now below the universities of failed states in Africa. Major universities in Uganda, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, are now in a superior position, than Sri Lankan universities. Instead of quality education, Sri Lankan universities are now focused on violence, extremist student politics, strikes, low productivity, and moral decay.

srilanka_university_students colombotelegraphMr. Navarathna Banda – a senior lecturer attached to the Sri Jayawardhanapura University, cites the reasons that have pushed our university system down, into this deplorable state. According to him, over 90 % of Sri Lankan university professors and senior lectures are under qualified, and inexperienced.

The majority of these university teachers, are working in the same universities where they graduated from, and do not possess any overseas exposure or experience. Academically, their knowledge and experience are stunted, limited and outdated. Therefore these university teachers are incapable of preparing their students, to face the educational challenges of the 21st century.

Over the last 30 years, our universities, failed to carry out any world class research, any validated scientific study, or produce a noteworthy publication, to capture the attention of the international academia. These shortcomings represent the void, in our universities. In order to cover-up these failures, Professor Naleen De Silva, recently carried out a research on Arsenic, at the Kelaniya University, violating all internationally accepted, research standards. It became the laughing stock, of the academic community.

Ragging & Violence in Sri Lankan Universities

Unfortunately, ragging and violence have become part and parcel of local university culture. Ragging involves harassment, abuse and humiliation of new students. It is a serious form of Human Rights violations. We believe that almost all Sri Lankan university students have faced such harassment, either physically or verbally, as first year students. So far, no one has disputed it, and we challenge anyone to come forward, and refute this statement.

For decades, brutal ragging has prevailed in Sri Lankan universities. And throughout, teachers could not, or did not want to put a stop to it. The   reasons are easy to understand; they too were victims of ragging during their days at university, and a majority of them, later turned into perpetrators themselves, as they became senior students. For them, it is a moral challenge, to prevent ragging in our universities. The other reason is that radical political groups are using ragging, as a political weapon, to control new students.

Sexual violence, and brutal physical ragging, is a hidden malaise amongst Sri Lankan universities. The Perdeniya University has the worst, reputation. The most infamous, and horrible case of sexual violence, was reported in 1975, from the Peradeniya University. A 22 year-old female student, Rupa Rathnaseeli, of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, leapt off the second floor of the hostel -Ramanathan Hall, when a group of seniors, tried to insert a pen, into her vagina, as part of sadistic physical ragging.

Rupa, sustained serious injuries to her spine, became paralyzed, and confined to a wheel chair for many years. Her dreams were shattered, and her young life was wasted. In 1997, Rupa Rathnaseeli committed suicide. After this incident, the Peradeniya University authorities, made-up a story, in order to cover-up and conceal evidence. After her death, they conveniently forgot Rupa Rathnaseeli. Those guilty of committing this crime against Rupa, are administrators of the university today. Some are even Professors!

In 2011, three students from the Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya, were arrested by the Police, and produced before the Kandy Additional Magistrate, Mr. Ravindra Premaratne, for sexually assaulting a fresher. In another incident, three second-year female students, of the Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya, were charged with ragging a group of female freshers in a toilet. These female freshers, were stripped naked, during the ragging, and forced to perform, indecent sexual acts. The University authorities, imposed a three-week suspension, on these three female offenders.

According to an unofficial internal report, these three senior female students, sexually molested, a newcomer from the Gampaha District. The internal report further reveals, that the victim was afraid to lodge a complaint, with the university authorities, as they adopted a very lethargic approach, to female ragging incidents. Therefore no further charges were brought against, the perpetrators. Although these senior female students, had committed a serious sexual offence, they were able to participate in lectures, soon after the three- week suspension was lifted. Up to date, the authorities of the University of Peradeniya have not taken, any action against the perpetrators, and they mostly covered up, the incidents.

Similar incidents have been reported, from Ruhuna, Sri Jayewardenepura, Kelaniya and Sabaragamuwa Universities. The authorities there too, adopted the Peradeniya policy.

In other incidents; in 1993, an innocent student, named Chaminda Punchihewa, of the Ruhuna University, died, as a result of cruel ragging. He was viciously beaten, and forced to perform vigorous exercises, by senior students. In 1997, a first year female student, of the University of Ruhuna committed suicide following, intolerable ragging. She was subjected, to appalling sexual harassment. In 2011, Professor Susirith Mendis, Head of the Ruhuna University, informed the media, that a group of students, had physically ragged, a female student– Vathsala Kumudini De Silva. As a result of physical ragging, she became semi-paralyzed, in one limb.

In her autobiography, ‘Punarukthi’– (Rebirth), the   award-winning actress, dramatist and writer, Anoma Janadari, states that inhuman and degrading ragging, were imposed on students, at the University of Colombo. She further, writes that most of her female batch mates were subjected to, sexual harassments, by senior students, at the Colombo University.  Another former student, of the University of Colombo, (now completing her post graduate degree, at a university in Michigan) confirms, that in 2011, some senior students, of the Colombo University, splashed buckets of water, containing human feces, on freshers. She, further says, that inhuman and degrading acts, are committed at major universities in Sri Lanka, and no one is held, accountable.

The award-winning, Sri Lankan film and tele-drama actress, Yashoda Wimaladharma, reveals that she had to undergo, such brutal ragging, while at the University of Kelaniya, that it was an emotional shock, for her father, R. L. Wimaladharma, a lecturer, also at the Kelaniya university. According to Yashoda Wimaladharma, her father, could not bear the merciless harassment of his daughter, and suffered a heart attack.

Student Unions  

Sri Lankan Universities have student political groups, manipulated by extremists. When a new batch of students arrives, at the University, they are intimidated and threatened with physical ragging, by the seniors. Often, the new students are not even allowed, to have a dialog with, the university lecturers, not allowed ask questions at lectures, not allowed to take part in English courses, and not allowed to use the university library, by these extremist, student unions.

The freshes, are forced to wear inexpensive clothes, and are not allowed to wear shoes. In some universities, they are not even allowed, to take a shower, nor clean themselves, after using the toilet, for several weeks. In some universities, the students are not allowed to drink beverages, like Coca Cola. This ‘prohibition’, was vigorously implemented, at the Universities of Colombo, and Kelaniya.

The senior students, of the Sri Lankan universities, use physical and sexual harassment, to control newcomers. Commonly used methods, include, sexual violence, forcibly stripping naked, forced masturbation, forced oral or anal sex, sexual simulation, urinating on victims, inserting pens and candles into the victim’s anus or vagina, smearing tooth paste or Marmite, on the victim’s genitals, prohibiting underwear, for both male and female, ‘bucketing’ or throwing water, containing animal, or human feces, insulting with profanity, interrogating  victims, with profane questions, forced to repeat, profane words or sing such songs, in the presence of a group etc.

Although rape, and sodomy are rare, recent reports indicate, that these forms of extreme violence, are gradually emerging, in Sri Lankan Universities.

Student political groups, use ragging as a weapon, to control new students, and to indoctrinate them. There are, unmentionable Human Rights violations, occurring within, the local university system, and many Professors, and other authorities, maintain silence. Most sexual, and physical harassment, are covered up, by the university establishment, and the general public, is unaware, of most of these horrible incidents, that take place, within these educational institutions.

Majority of university lecturers, do not want to get involved, in internal politics, or are fearful of making enemies, with extremist student groups. Most of the above mentioned, inhuman acts of ragging, take place, before their very eyes, and yet, they do nothing to stop it. Therefore many university teachers, turn a blind eye, to these incidents, and move away. Professors, and lecturers who openly opposed ragging, were subjected to numerous types of violence, and some, were compelled to leave the universities, for their safety.

The Poor State of Sri Lankan Medical Faculties  

At one time, Sri Lankan medical schools produced the best doctors, recognized internationally. Unfortunately, this has not been the case, over the past few decades. According to a leading Sri Lankan medical doctor, who is workings, as an associate Professor, in an American university, the standards, of Sri Lankan medical faculties, have declined.

The majority, of Sri Lankan doctors, who graduated over the past few decades, have a very poor knowledge, of English, therefore unable to communicate, effectively and professionally.  He, further says, that Sri Lankan doctors lack attitudinal training, medical ethics and accountability, towards their patients. According to international ranking, of medical schools, many medical schools, of the 3rd world countries, such as Nigeria, Nepal, India, and Tanzania, have surpassed the Sri Lankan, medical faculties.

Sri Lankan Universities are Virtually Dead

“Sri Lankan Universities are virtually dead”, says a senior lecturer, attached to, the University of Colombo. According to him, qualified professors, prefer overseas universities, in their search for, prosperous job opportunities. Only the old and inefficient academics are trapped, in the local university system.

Majority of Sri Lankan University Professors, and senior lecturers, do not have the desire, to improve, the quality of the local universities, or stop sadistic ragging. They refrain, from sending their children, to local Universities. Their children therefore, attend universities in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Australia, New Zealand etc., thus creating a huge academic and intellectual void, in local universities.

Student Heroes

When academics, and university authorities failed, in their responsibility, several student leaders, took courageous measures, to stop ragging and sexual harassment, in the local universities. One such example was, Ovitigala Vithanage Samantha- a third year Management student, of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. He was, a charismatic student leader, who launched an anti-ragging campaign, at the university, and soon, other universities too, were inspired, by his humane crusade.

A group, of student extremists, killed Ovitigala Vithanage Samantha, on 7th November 2002. He was, viciously assaulted, at the university premises, and his head was smahed, with a computer terminal. One of his killers, who masterminded the murder – Sujith Kuruwita, used his political connections, to evade charges, and today, he is at large. After Ovitigala Vithanage Samantha’s death, his humane campaign, lost its voice, and once again, violence and sadism, overcame Sri Lankan universities.

www.lankauniversity-news.com

www.lankauniversity-news.com

Sri Lankan Universities are Below African Universities

African Universities are, now internationally better recognized, than Sri Lankan Universities. According to 2012 World University Ranking, Makerere University (Uganda), occupies the 1174 place, demonstrating a superior educational quality, than Sri Lankan higher education institutes.  Ironically, Idi Amin’s Uganda, has easily defeated, the leading universities of Sri Lanka. According to the 2012 World Ranking, University of Moratuwa is at 2150, University of Colombo- 2255, University of Ruhuna -2353, and University of Peradeniya -2973. Hence these local universities, now represent, a very low level, of international ranking.

While Sri Lankan universities, struggle with their poor standards of education, Polytechnic of Namibia, has reached the 1319th place, Sudan’s University of Khartoum- 1394, University of Nairobi- 1435, Mansoura University of Egypt-  1685, University of Ghana-Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa University- 1903, Tanzania’s University of Dar Es Salaam- 1977,and Sudan‘s University of Science & Technology- 2020. Most of these African countries have low literacy rates, compared with Sri Lanka. But they have defeated, all our local universities, in the international arena.

Need Action

Regrettably, Sri Lankan Universities have been on the decline, both morally and academically, over the last four decades. There was a time, when Sri Lankan universities, were the shining examples, of higher education, and academic leadership. Unfortunately, the quality of education and research work at these universities, have declined drastically. Today, Sri Lankan universities are, lagging far behind.

Urgent measures are needed, to put an end to, physical and sexual violence, in our universities, and the standard of education, must be improved. Recently, the Minister of Higher Education, S.B Dissanayake told the media that, he intends to invite, overseas students, to Sri Lankan Universities. With the prevailing low standards of education, at our universities, violance and frequent strikes, within our university system, foreign students might think twice, about coming to further their education, in Sri Lanka.

Education is not a privilege. It is a Human Right. Higher education is the only hope and salvation for Sri Lankans, so let it not be destroyed!

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Latest comments

  • 17
    2

    Yes authorities (President appointed Committee) has to re-check all the publications and qualifications of Sri Lankan bogus professors. You will find less than 1% are real international professors. In order to be a professor your PhD must be from top ranking good University and minimum 20 publications in international high impact indexed journal such as ISI,SCOPUS, COMPENDEX..etc. Take Sri Lankan Engineering faculty professors in Sri Lanka Universities over 99% Eng. professors have only publications in IESL un-indexed non-listed two journals. Sack them and expose them for eating poor tax payers money covering to wrong title. Another faculties are worse than this. Take Colombo University Economics Dept inside. It is a family business sons, sons friends, grandfather, henchmen are the lecturers. All the recruitment for this dept are outdoor connected and sending to grandfather’s friends Universities and getting bogus PhDs. Absurd thing all of them now professors and run University. Now Sri Lankan University teachers are going to do PhDs to Malaysia, India and Thailand. No one is going to these countries for higher studies. Take Malaysia any body apply get PhD only they only look for money. Many countries are now not accepting this country PhDs. But UGC silent in Sri Lanka. With immediate effect stop and do not promote to do PHD in your own University. It is a joke.

    • 4
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      You’re right. I personally know professors who just published their students’ assignments and applied to professorship. No one took measures to diagnose who far their publications credible in the sense of academic publication. UGC’s role to control all these academic deformity is in question, they are rather interested in foreign trips and world bank’s projects. Attitude of academics and students? My Gosh!!! Appalling! Students do not seem to respect the education and privilege to enjoy it free. Academics found their ways into the institutes through political push-ins. So, who thinks this country’s education will survive? A person who got his placement as a lecturer in Eastern University has got two dozen publication, guess what, all are lower than pornography. He listed down them to show how academic he is. Pity!

    • 5
      0

      Shamila,
      What you say is correct. With respect to Eng faculties, there is another face to this problem. When you see those laboratories (Pearadeniya), there are no improvement at all in the last 35 years as I know. But student intake has increased to 1000. What sort of research Eng staff can do in those old laboratories which qualify for international publication? Only option is to do purely theoretical research, but then what about IT facilities they have. More than 80% of my batch mates are living abroad! and I am sure this is true for all engineering batches in the last 30~40 years. If you sack who left their to serve the country, who are going to replace them?
      Anura

    • 5
      0

      It is very pathetic to see Sri Lankan University Profs qualifications in overall. Recently I checked Kalaniya University Profs qualification. Shame, shame. Disciplines or faculty wise Sudan and Ethiopia much much better than Sri Lankan academics. The general truth is if you have self-respect you never want to work for less than 1000 US $. Then you can see quality of these academics. While whole country is going to disaster not any single word from so called fake professors. Recently I was in Peradaniya Eng. faculty and show how they condemned other discipline lecturers but so called Eng. professors only have publications in IESL low level journal run by them. That is why Chinese, Indian and Korean Engineers are doing all Sri Lankan eng. works.

    • 13
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      Check the H-Index of 3 Senior Professors of Sri Lankan unis (They are the Senior most in their respective fields in the country)

      Rohan Lucas (University of Moratuwa): 3
      T R Ariyaratne (University of Colombo): 3
      Anoja Wickramasinghe (University of Peradeniya): 5

      Now check the H-index of their students (who are much junior) in USA

      Krishni Wijesooriya (University of Virginia): 23
      Nilanga Liyanage (University of Virginia): 33
      Aravinda De Silva (University of North Carolina):26

      Even Chandima Gomes who migrated to Malaysia just 3-4 years ago has an H-Index 12. If Chandima read this I would like to know his H-index as he left Sri Lanka.

      Above statistics clearly shows that it is not a problem of our people. it is a problem of our system

  • 3
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    This is the result of political meddling with the education system over the decades. Starting from the abolition of the English stream by SWRD, standardisation, meddling with the curricula, leadership training, politisicing of the faculty, UGC etc etc.
    ……………………………………………………………..
    The future of our youth and our nation in the hands of the current incumbents, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. DIY Experts like MR and GR who believe that religon and leadership / military training is the panacea for all the ills of the nation etc.
    ……………………………………………………………..
    Most importantly the corruption, nepotism and wastage of public money and bloated defence spending that prohibits any substantial investment in an ailing educational system. When will these donkeys learn to get their priorities right?

    • 0
      0

      Safa: All valid points! I would add that whilst SWRD kicked the first brick out of the foundation, it was his beloved wife who executed the coup de grace to our education system, and successive governments continued down the relentless path of underfunding and political interference. Remember, that Sirima sent ALL her children overseas for their education; as did her daughter, the erudite Chandrika. If only we insist that ALL our politicians educate ALL their offspring in our much lauded ‘cradle to grave FREE education system’ then I guarantee you that we will have an education system FIT FOR PURPOSE and definitely ranking with the highest establishments anywhere. (Ditto, our health system.)

  • 3
    0

    The decline started in the late 1960s and has continued at an accelerating pace. When the universities are administered by men and women who do not understand what the ideals, values and purpose of these institutions should be, can we expect better? When the faculty consists of persons who cannot be admired, looked up to and be a model to be emulated, can we expect better? When the universities do not make its students think and question societal norms, can we expect better? When our universities are increasingly becoming cram shops, are inbred to the extreme in terms of the faculty and the air is stultified, can we expect better? The students who enter our universities after decades of single minded pursuit of a very narrow, unbalanced curriculum, meet their Waterloo in institutions that are in reality glorified high schools sans the constraints on behaviour and conduct prevalent in the schools they have just come from. They are intellectually unprepared to handle the freedom the universities yet offer. Even this freedom will be lost soon, as result of the myopic reactions of those wielding political power. There is no longer a sense of awe in being part of a great academy of learning at the feet of great persons and be able to think and act as individuals among a group of young persons with new and vibrant ideas. Many, though qualified, after years of relentless cramming are unsuitable for university education. Our universities do not desrve to be call by that name any longer. The result is what we see!

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 0
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      Dr R N you are Right. Lectures in local Universities, consist of Question and Answer readings, which are copied down by students and reproduced at exams. The students are not allowed to think creatively, or do research of their own. If this is University Education it is no wonder that concerned parents who can get employment Overseas, are leaving Sri Lanka, to give their children a better education. They see children of Politicians being sent Overseas for their further studies, while the mere pittance that they get as Salary here, does not even begin to pay for their children’s tuition fees.

  • 4
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    When Sri Lankans go abroad for higher education and attain a Masters or PHD, they will remain abroad instead of coming back to Sri Lanka to take up a teaching and research post at a SL University because why would anyone want to come back to SL. I met a senior government professional who was educated abroad and he regersts coming back to SL, due to state of the Country. — Wealthy Sri lankans will send their kids abroad so they will not lift a finger to sort out the University system, and since it is the Wealthy who has the means to really effect change, the problem just sits and festers. — The deplorable behavior of Students persecuting other students mirrors the behavior of the wealthy and connected in everyday life.

  • 11
    1

    Excellent piece of writing Darshani , you forgot/missed to include the standards and academic credentials of Engineering faculty lectures of SL universities.

  • 5
    0

    Dear Rajapakses
    Pl stop oppressing the minorities and translate this into Sinhala and Tamil and take it to every town and village and church, mosque and temple and Parent-Teacher Association and BBS.

  • 2
    3

    A 6% of GDP for education would have raised the standards with same “under qualified, and inexperienced professors and senior lectures”????
    President of FUTA, where are you?……………………………….
    Ms. Dharshanie Wimalasuriya, could you please enlighten us readers of CT on the criteria use for global ranking?……………………….
    Will setting up of universities managed by private sector help us to raise the standards?…………………………………………..
    Are the qualifications for university entry are below the global standards?……………………………………………………
    Or are the primary and secondary education in the country are below the global standards?……………………………………………..
    Are the universities in Africa are managed differently?……………
    Do we need to pay attention to global rankings?…………………..
    Do universities promote research and do professors and senior lecturers write research proposals on their own?……………………………
    Do the state and private sectors request universities to conduct research?
    Are the consulting assignments undertaken by the universities for donor funded programmes and projects conducted with research?…………….
    Are the final year projects of students better researched than papers presented by professors and senior lecturers?……………………..
    Does the media in the country have qualified people to give publicity to research, if any, conducted in universities?……………………
    What is the peer review mechanism for reviewing the performance of university academic staff?………………………………………
    Do all degree programmes in the country need a philosophical element built into their curricula?
    Is university education of a high global standard a human right?

  • 7
    0

    Well, well, UNEDUCATED AND UNCULTURED Minister of Higher Education, the corrupt clown, S.B Dissanaiyake, thinks that fee-paying foreign students are the solution to the Lankan university’s problems…
    What foolish foreign student will pay to go to any university in Sri Lanka is a mystery indeed!
    The universities should be privatized or Sri Lanka should simply declare itself a country that does not require graduates – since its royal family does not have a single bona fide graduate. All the Rajapakse brothers do NOT have a degree and do not want educated people who are capable of challenging their corruption and criminality around. They want a Sri Lankan public that is IGNORANT, PLIANT and easy to RULE. Voila the miracle of Asia.

    • 2
      0

      To be fair, the rot set in with the government of Sirima (this was a loving mother who sent her children overseas for their education, and whose daughter sent her children followed suit.) Successive governments of all hues perpetrated the UNDERFUNDING of our education system over the years. Political interference infested appointments and staffing in the universities that led to downward spiral of standards. AND now we rue the fact that we really cannot do anything about it because the barbarians rule the roost. Take a deep breath, nothing is going to change soon.

  • 3
    0

    This is a true diagnosis of the sick culture in the universities of Sri Lanka – among Student and so-called academic staff – the great majority of whom are THIRD RATE. The lack of education of the Rajapakse family and their fear of educated people is at the root of the rot in the education system of Sri Lanka. Mahinda Rajapakse and his family want to turn Sri Lanka into a HUB OF IGNORANCE so that it is easier to run their military dictatorship. There will be no resistance!

    University lecturers also are a disgrace – I know several cases of Ivy League PhD’s who wanted to help the system, who were not even invited for an interview at the Colombo University for a senior lecturer post – because of the jealousy and envy of the lecturers in the Colombo University Sociology Dept. The university today breeds sick and envious frogs in the well – students and teachers alike kill creativity and intelligence and critical thinking.. Sad indeed!

    • 2
      0

      Not sure where the writer collected the facts and figures – so I dont think it to please as a good analysis – see, not a single reference is added to the article :(

  • 11
    6

    Apart From the ability to being articulate in English,I can guarantee that Mora Engineering faculty students can challenge any university in this world. The fact that they don’t have the exposure because of the researching facilities are limited here in SL universities. University are ranked by various factors such as location and the feel of campus life; the range of academic offerings, activities and sports; and cost and the availability of financial aid and so forth. Don’t question the intelligence of students by writing a crap based on the Uni ranking.

    • 5
      0

      Parker ,

      the article is not much about the intelligence level , creativity or standard level of the students , but the overall university system as a whole , yes i agree with you on Moratuwa graduates , when they were given the opportunities out side SL , often they come among the top of the list beating all the other developed countries.

      • 1
        0

        While agreeing with you Srilal, may I also state that a presentation by Dinesh Weerakkody at the 2013 Annual Sessions of the OPA revealed that 94% of Mora Graduates find employment after graduation……………………………………………….
        Yet the question whether it is the mission of university education to produce employable graduates or intellectuals, or employable intellectuals remains unanswered. When the academia is below standards in terms of qualifications and intellect the product output is neither employable nor intellectual. In the case of Mora, the university offers degree/PG Degree courses in technical disciplines, staff is said to be highly qualified and experienced not only in teaching but also in practicing the professions allied with the courses. And most of the courses that Mora offers are said to be peer reviewed by both national and international academic and professional institutes. That may the reasons for success rate in employability and success at international level. Whatever it may be the country’s economy is not growing to create employment opportunities for all graduates passing out of the universities annually. Now I understand that draftsmen has formed an institute and a Cabinet Minister is working behind the seen to get it incorporated. It is said that in the in the draft bill the draftsmen are to be called Chartered Drafting Technologists with expertise in designing, buildings, mechanical systems and so on. If it is approved by the parliament, the standards of anything that is Sri Lankan and certified by a Chartered Drafting Technologist will be “in par with the best in the world.”

    • 0
      0

      As far as my info are concerned the most that left and are leaving for their PGs to be done in abroad are capable of doing their best. Majority of them have done so so far. So, it is not just graduate products of MU. However, the truth as I am well aware, the most of them are not at all conversant in English Lang. That has been their disadvantage not being able to exchange with their colleagues extending the inter university relationships.

      • 0
        0

        It is true, that many of our best do very well in IT jobs overseas but still far too many hit a ceiling due to their ‘inadequate’ knowledge of the English language that prevents them from realising their full potential in managerial and higher positions.

      • 0
        0

        ur English is no better….:P

  • 4
    2

    no wander university graduates are unemployable. its better to do a professional course or do vocational courses like plumbing than go to university and waste time.In Sri Lanka most companies look at university graduated with a general degree as olevel or pass due the quality.
    When the teacher is a dud what do you expect from students. Garbage in garbage out.

    • 1
      0

      It is all because of the perception among the many in SL even to this day.
      Just completing a degree (basic level) not mean that he could be match with all requirements that employers seek. So, the key problem lies that the average of those passouts would not risk to collect job related or any exp before getting a job meeting with the qualification profile. There are lot more highly qualified graduates some with years long exp stay unemployed in Europe today. It is unfortunately the reality in job market today. In Srilanka, just getting through the Alevel, they rather stay without going to do any kind of jobs – boasting that they ve got alevels. This attitude should be changed to this day. Like frogs in well, their thoughts stay stand still, not making efforts to see any progress.
      Very recently, we got to know one student got killed in the UK while working as a Pizza driver – who had already completed a degree course prior to join them. That is the nature for some graduates in the UK today. Unfortunately, that fate of that poor Peris ended up in that way, but the incident is a proof for many that current day job market is not easy for many graduates.

  • 3
    0

    The malaise in the universities is nothing but a reflection of the malaise outside, in the wider society where there is a very high level of corruption, lack of law and order,lack of respect for human rights etc,etc. Educational standards have dropped not only in the universities but even at high schools. The rot has set in and it is extremely hard to reverse the situation now.

    Sengodan. M

  • 5
    1

    Yes, our universities need to be improved. But the university ranking referred in this article is from ‘Webometrics Ranking’. It ranks taking into account the volume of the Web contents and the visibility and impact of web publications. It is not an indicator of academic quality.

  • 3
    0

    “Sri Lankan Universities In Dire Straits”. The root cause is the Minister in charge.

  • 1
    2

    Of course, Need Actions to topple this Govt to protect Sri Lankan free education. I wonder why this most Senior Lecturer of SJP is still called as Mr. This article reflects his deep rooted desire to become Dr. as there are so many Govt appointed Doctors like Mervin, Keheliya etc. Sri Lankan Universities In Dire Straits as the article mention is because of the pathetic people like you.

    • 1
      0

      Those bodies that granted those HONORARY DOCTOR titles to handpicked of candidates of their choice (for example inclu. most disgusting persons like Mervin Silva) have all rights to take away them in case the candidates behave inappropriately. Honor should be granted only those who are due. The particular institute that is said to have just sowed those titles, as leaflets for a concert are distributed, should be made accountable for any irregularities that harmed the dignity of the highest academic title. It is their responsibility to safeguard the dignity of those titles.I have no idea what lanken GOVT institution has the authority to oversee the irregularities regarding doctoral candidates. Lanken universities should be strict in accordance with international standards, as had been prior to 80ties.

  • 8
    3

    Go to hell bloody govt terrorist. African universities are better than ours because they don’t recruit 3rd class people like you.

  • 4
    0

    This Nawaratne Banda is also not qualified one. He is now 63 years old and does not have a PhD. This man is lecturing about qualifications of others. haha

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      The system that candidates just passed out with BA, BSCs, Bcoms to allow becoming junior lecturers are not common even with the system of India or some African Universities. Later though they obtain their qualifications through PGs, however, the minimum requirements for academic staff should be held strict as – PhDers. UGC or other responsible bodies of senior professors should inspect fairly on the new appointments to University academic staffs. PhDers in general collect almost most required qualifications in the process of reading for their dissertation. So the responsible authorities should first work on the reforms the prevailing system not putting it off year to year. I personally believe, professors like Rajiva Wijesinghe could do lot more in the process of Uni reforms, than any other seniors. SB Disanayake should be removed as the minsiter of Higher Education immediately appointing a powerful professor for the post. Ministers like SB D could better be appointed to oversee Malukade (Fish market) or Garbage collections and recycling….giving the devils his due –
      Assi. Lecturers and lecture assistants are mixed in lanken system.

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    Please watch these links – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnW_ROyytTo and http://www.ndtv.com/…/iit-rankings-what-s-money…/291758

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      Thanks for the link.
      Impressive. He confirmed no corruption at all in terms of student admissions to those prestigious colleges.
      I think best option for lanken students is to study in one of good reputed colleges in India rather than any where else. The culture, college fees and the living standards are affordable to average lankens.

      But not to forget there are also plenty of uni s in india that award PhDs which have no recognition in Europe or anywhere.

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    As far as I am concerned with Eastern University of Sri Lanka, all three essential parts of a tertiary educational institution have been fallen apart. Students are keen in political agenda and have forgotten that they would be there only for a few years. Many of them are heavy drinkers of alcoholic beverages. They forgot what they are supposed to do in a university. Academic, like being described in this article, are way too lower in standards so they fear one with qualifications. What those old dogs do is to chase the smart dogs out of the pen. So their survival (?) is not in jeopardy. Many of the lecturers are very poor in public speaking and lecturing in English. More pathetic situation is many senior lecturers are not involved in teaching for many years, but in their own business. Many Arts & Culture lecturers have used political back up for getting the job. How on earth can they be good at teaching? Administrative section is the utmost worst part of the university, which is comprised of 90% of Mano master’s appointments. Most of them joined the organization as laborers but now they occupy high seats in the institute. Drivers, laborers, subjects clerks and so on are not supposed to in a university. Interesting?

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    Our teaching is not based on the critical thinking element & research.
    Then, how would our Unis progress??????????????

    It is evident when the passed out graduates looked to the government for jobs instead of thinking for themselves & create something out of nothing.

    This is the short coming. After 4 years, these graduates are unable to think independently or reseach on any thing to make something out of their lives despite the government investment on them.
    \
    Unless our system get out of this dishing out notes system and get onto a research base system, the situation will deteiorate further.

    Damn the top ranking Unis, what the PhD holders need to have researched publications.
    Wonder, how many research work the current Professors engage anually.
    PhD holder Professor need to be constantly engaged in research work.

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    Recently I did survey about Sri Lankan University Economics Depts. It is shame to say none of the professors are up to the mark. Take Ruhuna University Econ Dept three profs are there none can speak english and No PhDs and not any single publications in ISI, Scopus level international journals. I guess they never heard about these journals. Colombo, J’Pura, Kalaniya, S, Gamuwa, Rajarata and others worse. Even Rajarata Uni. VC does not have any single publications in ISI level journal or PhD. Now it is right time to close Universtites and hand over to private sector. Take Moratuwa University 65% Deans (Archi. IT) do not have PhDs or any single publication at ISI journals.

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      Fedrick ……… “Take Ruhuna University Econ Dept three profs are there none can speak english” ……….. Can they speak Pali. If they did its more than enough to read Mahawamsa which qualifies them as scholars in intellectual intercourse. …… In the early 1970s I am told most Ministry of Planning research posts were filled Pali graduates. ……. Its high time the state abolished these universities as they are not fit for the purpose. …..

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      This kind of criticisms disgracing the prevailing situation further cant bring us forward.
      Those who intend lanken Unis to improve in coming years should rather stand by them. Those srilanken professors in Europe, America, Australia and Scandinavian countries should join hand with their counterparts in lanken univeristies. I have no doubt Profs GLP, RWijesinghe and the other highly educated politicians can make the bridge between them.

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        Those srilanken professors in Europe, America, Australia and Scandinavian countries should join hand with their counterparts in lanken univeristies.??????????????????@ Sun are you out of your mind , last year one Sri Lankan professor attached to a leading Canadian university offered Peradeniya and Colombo universities his free services as a guest lecturer. The professors and senior lectures of Pera and Colombo immediately opposed him due to jealousy. These local (so called) academics are like jealous frogs live in a deep well. They will never invite any srilanken professors in Europe, America, Australia and Scandinavian countries to improve sri lankan universities. Because their are intimidated

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          You may be right.

          But I agree with Sun. If some local professors reacted in that way – is not a good news. But I dont think that many in SL would not disgree with such offers. I myself know, there are enough researchers that would NOT deny invitations from lanken Universities to share their knowledge. They love to their country of origin. For them country and their folks are above their knowledge. Lankens univesities should know how to gain their knowledge.

          Open round of discussions based on these topics should be telecasted in national TV senders. There local media should also play a greater role. As i got to know the standards of lanken Universities today are not even comparable to those in Afria and some lower Unis in India.

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            Apologies:
            it should be many in SL would disagree….

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    The University of Colombo actually has the same QS ranking as at least 10 universities in the UK and 15 in the US. It also has the same ranking as universities in Australia, Japan, France and Canada. Many of these universities are those same foreign universities that Sri Lankan parents send their children to because of the “state” of Sri Lankan university education.

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    What do you expect when the spineless like GL Peris become vice chancellors ? We race past Africa. We leave them in the dust.

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      I dont think GLP is not a good scholar.
      I am not against academic accomplishments, but the manner he handles external affairs – more than questionable.
      See, it is all because of FAMILY POLITICS OF RAJA BROTHERS. Minsters in the current regime have no rights to react independently.

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    To summarize –

    1. All the SL universities were measured as a whole
    2. The universities has ragging – sometimes extreme – and assumes all the universities are the same
    3. Some African universities rank better than Sri Lankan universities based on an uncited ranking system.
    4. So, because of the step 2 and 3 Sri Lankan universities are on the decline. Writer has started with an (horrible) example from the year – 1975.

    A word from me –
    Apparently the ranking was based on webometrics [1] which ONLY measure the web presence of by universities. It’s needless to say that this ranking system is flawed if that’s considered as the de-facto standard for measuring universities. This ranking is not considered as a good measurement of universities.

    Even though the writer turns an blind eye or unaware, some universities has been producing high quality researches, and have published research papers in international conferences such as ACM, IEEE etc. Some evidence at [2], search by university names. These research papers tend to be highly theoretical, so I understand if the writer fails to comprehend, or not take these into account.

    [1] http://webometrics.info/en/Asia/Sri%20Lanka%20
    [2] https://dl.acm.org/

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      RavanaG ,
      is there any SL university which would fall under the 500 mark , under any ranking system ? you have opted to casually dismiss the ranking system , if so pl state the appropriate yard stick/parameter to rank any university in the world ?

      ____________” Even though the writer turns an blind eye or unaware”—-

      you are the one who turn a blind eye here , of course there are/were some exceptionally good university dons in SL ,get this right , author is trying to show the general picture of the system.

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      So why are all those parents who can, choosing to send their children OVERSEAS for their higher education? We look forward to day when ALL our children are educated HERE in SL.

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        there by saving SO much foreign exchange… and import of immorality

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        isn’t it also interesting that our SL students go to USA and UK for studies in the financial field, when the Financial systems in these countries CRASHED and a recession and a double dip took place.

        Waste of Foreign exchange for wanting of a scroll from a foreign university ……

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    Conclusions need to be thought through.

    .

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    This is so sad to read. I dispelled my sadness by remembering the halcyon days of the University of Ceylon at Peradeniya. It is coincidental that dropping the name Ceylon had much to do with the decline. I remember the great times I had going with trepidation from Jaffna to Sinhalese country to live among Sinhalese boys who had a reputation for ragging. My fears were ill founded. My first name, Muthulingam, was the source of much fun for the Sinhalese boys who ragged me, gently and mildly. I was renamed Huthulingam. I did not mind it at all. After all they were only putting two essential and equally sacred organs together in a most acceptable way. I was told to eat the balance off their plates which I gladly did much to their chagrin and disgust. They accepted me as one of their own thereafter. This was in the early 1960s. Communalism was rearing its ugly head. The swabasha mediums had started. The Mahajana Eksath Peramuna was very strong. I joined the LSSP, learnt to sing Sathukin pernavo, than ithing nagitiyauw and fo on marches. I remember the day I stood for the hall elections for the LSSP. There were taunting communal insults all the way. A boy from the South, Manawadu, stood by me all the way. He was thereafter called “Manavare”. All those supporting me were taunted whenever they went for our meals to the dining hall. The election night came and went. I thought I had no chance. Tired, I went to sleep at 8 o’clock. An hour later there was loud shouting and knocking on the room door. A small crowd was there to tell me that I had won by a thumping majority. I know that this could not have been achieved without the support of the Sinhalese swabasha medium boys. I was humbled. I know I will never meet Manawadu again. He and my other Sinhalese friends like Sumanadasa, who was known as Goshakaya for his booming voice, Dionysius, an odd name for a Sinhalese boy but obviously changed in the hope that his village name will not be recognized-I remember them and the good times I had with them so fondly, sitting in the canteen run by Lebbe, an avuncular Muslin. Now a confirmed Eelamist, I remember with affection what my country could have been. I remember how traitorous I am to the many kind Sinhalese teachers who poured wisdom into me.

    These were happy days. We were rebellious but equally respectful of the institutions and its teachers. When
    Sir “Knickerless” Attygalle approached, we pretended to be nice guys. We admired the greats on the Campus-Doric de Souza, Halpe, Amerasinghe, Tawney Rajaratnam Amerasinghe of classics and so many others. We treated the girls with great respect and knew how carefully protected they were by Miss Mathiaparanam at Hilda, who probably wanted them to end up studying philosophy and remaining spinsters like her the rest of their lives. So many relationships were formed. There was a tall guy and a short girl. We called them “If” for when it is written if would look like that.

    Alas, the very year i finished things began to change. Goppallawa’s son could not get into university. They created a new arts faculty at the disused race course, exclusively for students doing Pali, Sanskrit and Sinhalese so that the Gopallawa son could get into Peradeniya- no Colombo arts faculty for him. The place came to be knows as Ashwa Vidyalaya- every bus conductor would call it that when the bus stopped at the halt next to it. Ahwa Vidyalaya bainda- the bus conductor would say. That was a recognition of the contempt that was coming to be attached to the place. The students themselves had contempt for it and their lecturers, second rankers at Peradeniya, now given professorships at Colombo. The lectures on price theory, the joke ran, ended with “maage Mila Niyaya kiyawanne”, – a book of 200 pages it contained all the price theory you need to know. Students used to tell me that they came to the Colombo arts faculty to learn English at the compulsory English classes they had to attend. Around this time, universities proliferated around the country, all opened for political reasons such as accommodating the wishes of Buddhist priests and Sinhala chauvinists who wanted medicine, law and science to be taught in Sinhala.

    I went away as my home was set on fire. I watched the decline of our universities through the years. I watched plagiarists becoming Vice Chancellors. New universities were opened in the provinces without any education justification but to satisfy political quests. The prestige that attached to a university teacher diminished. In my days, you joined the CAS if you did not get a university job. Neither job carries any prestige any more.

    Sadly, somebody on this string queries the assessment methods in rankings. However contorted, SL universities simply do not feature in any of the other rankings which seldom go beyond 2000. There is a ranking of Third World universities in which SL does not even feature.

    The malaise is in politics and the cultural descent. If Sinhalese girls do this violence to their own kind, what would Sinhalese soldiers do to the Tamils. Some sickness has descended on us as a people. We have to examine what has happened to us and find the causes for this sharp descent. To show the Latin I learnt-Facile est descensus averno-Easy is the descent to hell. That easy descent has taken place. Our religions are affected. It is not only the BBS, but the catholic cardinals as well. They have descended into hell. We just got to drag them out. First, we must start by getting rid of Rajapakse. The projected war crimes trial will be a good catharsis to ensure that a new beginning is made.

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    I do believe that the issue is they way they rank the universities, the ranking system includes all the disciplines not just few faculties. University of Moratuwa is limited to Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology. Where almost all the other universities include many other research areas.
    No one can say that University of moratuwa is not up to the level, for who you think that they are not just take a look at this link
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Summer_of_Code

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      Actually Moratuwa is a technical College not a University and inside many do not understand the concept of University. Especially Eng. faculty low level IESL publications based professors are condemning other disciplines and living with Advanced Level mentality. Recently I did some survey for assignment and I found more than 50% of Moratuwa high impact journal publications are coming from non-eng.lectuers and they are the people internationally known. But that claim by Eng lecturers as their achievements. Thanks to non-eng few lecturers at Moratuwa is getting international recognition. But many occasions they are badly treated and look-down openly not giving any opportunity.

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    What education can Sri Lanka ever boast of when the royal family are uneducated louts who value only muscle? The big man appoints and keeps SB, the thug and lascivious mutt,as Minister of Higher Education. He keeps Bandula and Grero-the pole vaulters and tuition Mudalalis- in charge of schools.

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