4 February, 2023


System Change: Education Should Be Priority Number One

By Vishwamithra

“Men of lofty genius sometimes accomplish the most when they work least, for their minds are occupied with their ideas and the perfection of their conceptions, to which they afterwards give form.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

When one thinks of a system change, item number one that occupies one’s mind is the obvious one: system change in the political arena. The disgust and abhorrence one holds the current political milieu and its players in cannot be discounted. We have spent enough time and online space in critiques and analyses with regard to the status of the existing political platform and the mindless expressions by many a political player on it. Change in the constitutional amendments and even a whole new constitution, purely focused on the number of Cabinet Ministers, number of parliamentarians, dropping the inclusion of an amendment to qualify a dual citizen to be elected, lifetime of parliament itself and that of Presidency and so forth are the crucial elements of one’s mind and intellect when they talk about a system change. But we are a way too behind or way too ahead in the race towards a more perfect system than the one that is prevailing today.

One cannot produce a system change from within a vacuum; nor can one change the political status quo by introducing various constitutional amendments and expect the voters to sit back and accept such superficial changes to the wheels of societal machinery. It’s utterly absurd and preposterous even to dream about such changes. Such changes and such societal dynamics need deeper attention and more scrupulous analysis. A total system change that obviously is the prime goal of the Aragalakaruwos consists of a total change in the cultural, social and political systems. As I had enunciated in some of my previous columns, we need to break the egg before starting to make the omelet. If the egg is still intact there is no way can one make the omelet, period.

In such a confusing context of political uncertainty and sociocultural ambiguity, one is all but ready to break the egg. No single person, no single party or no single civil entity or organization can attain this almost impossible target. Society as a whole, led ably by a single charismatic leader who could galvanize the critical segments of society, the youth, students, working class, at the forefront of this movement, would respond to such a leader. A movement cannot achieve its desired goals just by sloganeering and calling the masses to two or three demonstrations every now and then. In the absence of a well-defined strategy, movement of important cogs of the wheels of management of the crusade to crucial junctures, placing them at decisive points of operation, equipping each and every member of the movement with rich thought and intellect so that the soldiers of the movement take as much as they can take without resorting to violence may well be secondary goals but they are even more significant than the primary one if the primary goal remains prime: System Change.

Such an exacting recipe is not an easy one to follow and nor could it be executed by imposters who thunder from atop political platforms in incomprehensible lingo but with very understandable ambition. One might ponder as to how to launch a system change and may come to the inescapable conclusion that superficial alterations such as shortening of the length of the sleeve and adjusting the waist could provide a well-fitting change. It is as futile as wishing for a lasting life of the morning mist when the sun rises above the distant horizon. 

Then how can we produce a system change? What are the prerequisites and what more has to be done in order to generate the conditions, both objective and subjective, for a successful outcome of such an enormous undertaking? These questions have to be answered and after obtaining workable responses can only we even think of a system change. Amateurs simply cannot give leadership to a successful movement whose ultimate objective is a system change. It’s up to the professionals who are proficient enough to lead such a movement from alpha to omega. 

Where can we start? What is the first requirement and what qualifies to be a prior condition and context? It is education and only education is the beginning point. Without executing a well-thought out system and easily understandable step by step structure of thinking, planning and execution process can one achieve the beginning steps towards a total change in the education system. When these original steps are taken and followed to the nth degree, can one begin to absorb the niceties and cruelties of a total system change.

Let’s examine our current system of education, especially the secondary and the journey thereafter of our students. Those graduates who pass out from the Universities; are they properly equipped to secure satisfactory livelihoods after obtaining a first degree?

In one of the most illuminating articles, written to the Sri Lankan Journal of Human Resource Management, under the heading of Employability of Graduates of Sri Lankan Universities R. G. Ariyawansa Department of Estate Management and Valuation, Sri Jayewardenepura University wrote thus: “Even though graduates are highly valuable human resource of a country, most of them have to wait for a long time for suitable jobs. The mismatch between the degree and the demands of the job market as the main reason of this issue seems to be a conventional belief and seems as an invalid measure. Issues in the development of macro-economy of the  country  appear as a greater drawback in case of graduates’ employability. The unemployment problem is especially critical among some areas in humanities and social science and some management graduates as a large number of students are  graduated annually. It can be noticed that there are booming job opportunities for graduates in the private sector mainly  for Science, Engineering, Management and Commerce graduates but lesser opportunities for Social Sciences and Humanities graduates. Training/experience is a highly demanded  factor in the  job market  especially, in the private sector. Proficiency of English language is a decisive factor. Further, there is a high demand for additional competencies such as IT skills, leadership qualities, analytical ability, team work and interpersonal relations along with a degree. Development of basic IT skills and English proficiency should not be the responsibility of Universities. Such skills should be developed  before entering  the university. Since universities have adopted some strategies to improve these skills within the students, the major objectives of university  education may not be fulfilled. If students are qualified 

Sri Lankan Journal of Human Resource Management Employability of Graduates…..  103 with such basic  skills when entering to the university, then it will be  possible to train students providing necessary guidelines for the expected capacity development”.

Government after government, with whatever objective in mind, never paid sufficient attention to this most elementary feature of a man’s development from child to a fully grown man: education at all levels. From the kindergarten up to University level, they have failed our children, they failed our secondary school kids, they immensely failed our graduates and they failed the country. In order to sustain a nation with realistic and achievable expectations and with no room for failure at all levels, not just failure in one or two recognizable elements, but perfect at all and every identifiable process, leadership must be personally aware and wise enough to engage in the actual operation of a process that he wishes to launch.

Singapore is one of the finest examples of countries that identified her priorities at the very birth of their nations. Lee Kuan Yew implemented a remarkable education program that made his country proud and today Singaporean Universities produce graduates who are in great demand in the global marketplace. Most of those Singaporean graduates have opted to live in their own country and contribute their mite to the native State rather than being driven by the prolific brain drain that is prevalent in other underdeveloped world.  

Because their education is almost flawless, their lawmakers, Parliamentarians, are wise and intelligent and skilled. Their leaders do not embarrass their motherland at global conferences. Ignorance, lack of intelligence, lack of education and lack of wisdom is at the core of corruption. As a result, politics, instead of becoming a path to serving the masses, is a tool in the hands of uneducated and unskilled politicians. Mindsets, psyches and attitudes do not change in vacuums; they change when objective conditions change. 

Therefore, this appeal is to those Aragalakaruwos who displayed remarkable resilience and wisdom in matters of ethnic divisions and religious discrimination. As frontlines of the future, as precursors of the nation’s character and quality, you have an enormous responsibility and an unmatched task. Elect yourselves a leader, agree on a common program, craft a workable strategy and execute it to perfection. Then we might have, not only a past that has to be discarded, but a future to be embraced by many a generation yet unborn.

*The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com    

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Latest comments

  • 5

    Education is not the same thing as Learning.
    Learning is just a part of education. But it’s a lot more than education itself.

    • 2

      Vishwa: where were you when the Covid-19 hoax was used to hack our brains, bodies, communities and education system with Lockdowns for 2 years? Also, to enable DIGITAL COLONIALISM via Face Book and the Social media?! Today following the Great Reset Playbook of NATO, the Corrupt Ranil-Rajapakse Regime’s policy of Brain Draining the island is enabling the West and its allies to steal talent nurtured and funded by the Sri Lankan State and people. This idiotic policy – a race to the bottom- must be challenge in Court.
      Other countries are seeking talent, but Sri Lanka, South Asia’s Richest Country, which is being RAPED by the IMF, Paris Club and their Bond Traders is digging its own grave due to morally and intellectually bankrupt leaders, educators like yourself and business community that lacks innovation. SL politicians are selling our talents in a Race to the Bottom to enable the West to re-Colonize the strategic island in its Cold War on China. The global reset is all about the west again looting the best brains, talent and natural resources from the Global South, while Weaponizing the Diaspora .

    • 0

      “Singapore is one of the finest examples of countries that identified her priorities at the very birth of their nations. Lee Kuan Yew implemented a remarkable education program that made his country proud …………”
      I cannot understand why authors who constantly rail against authoritarian government in this country go on to hold up Singapore as an example to follow. In Singapore, the protest of a few days ago would never have happened. The leaders would have been locked up even before the planning stage. They wouldn’t have been able to use social media, and the tightly controlled Press wouldn’t have been able to report on it.
      “Singaporean graduates have opted to live in their own country and contribute their mite to the native State rather than being driven by the prolific brain drain that is prevalent in other underdeveloped world.”
      Firstly, Singapore is a First World country, not “underdeveloped “.
      The quality of education may have a lot to do with the fact that only primary education is free, albeit with a small fee.
      Yes, Sri Lanka would indeed progress faster in education if English was the first language, students had to pay, all demonstrations were banned, and the press and media were controlled. But what would Vishwa write about then?

      • 0

        “The quality of education may have a lot to do with the fact that only primary education is free, albeit with a small fee.”
        That is a sweeping generalization.
        Is not school education still free in Europe and the Americas and Australia, but for a minority who want it differently?
        “Out of the 24 countries that provide free education, 16 are based in Europe. Only one country in North America offers the program, as well as it being rare in Asia. Three countries are within South America, with three countries also being in Africa.” (https://www.theedadvocate.org/which-countries-provide-free-education-at-a-university-level/)
        Even elsewhere there is fair access to higher education for students lacking in financial means.
        Does this not tell us something?

  • 1

    There are better and worse ways to protest! Unless protests have a clear strategy, goals and leaders and a disciplined, protests will be counter-productive and harm the Protests and society at large. Farmers Protest to save agriculture sector in India saw 700 farmers dead in 2 years, but they got the farm Law reversed. These were real protests. The Aragalaya for ” System change”, an empty, meaning-less slogan and a CHAOS STRATEGY of External Actors (CIA), which use the Social Media via Remote Servers to game the narrative and to distract and deepen the Economic crisis and enable US colonization – as with the Arab Spring and Colour Revolutions in post-Soviet states including in Ukraine which led to the current war was to distract and enable the DEFAULT for the IMF and Washington to take over the economy.
    Protests remote controlled via social media remote servers bring regimes, backed by external forces (Donald Lu recently said that President Ranil Wickramasinghe- is protected by the force), that are counter-productive to local people who are doing the protesting and benefit the external actors who control the crowd amid apparently miraculously leaderless protests..!

  • 0

    This country and nation or any other nation full of stupid people can only be guided by awareness.

    All the retired professionals should come together and treat the illiterate masses to grasp the basics. However, some who believe to be educated and professional but behave like mercy cows should stay away from that noble endeavour.

    A middle-aged teacher who was punished by forced drowning in Baira lake or as we know there are still plenty of men and women of such mind, it never changes for a common cause.

    So the problem is more serious than it seems. Their strong ideas and thoughts will never fade away easily… even with stones. So they are stupid by birth… …so just because she or he is a teacher doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is a genius. So the line between intellectuals and non- intellectuals is blurred like nowhere else in our Rajapakse punished land. Most of them look at your finger when pointing at moon.

    So, It is a huge task because the media giants have been tied to the Rajapaksa mafia network for so long. Now it is becoming the most powerful media to be social media in our country. Namal baba or
    power greedy men and women should be jailed forever for their hidden crimes committed all these years.


    • 0

      According to the common saying that the pig is kept and the meat is cut, the Sri Lankan media is paid TODAY with the Rajapaksa’s stolen money. If anyone would prove other way around, I will office 10 000 dollars.

      No matter how many stone attacks monk Samantabadda threw (I still doubt his ordination) all the powers have come to help them and achieve their goals. The place where “Sinhala Buddhism” was given to a monk of that foolish society and his personal achievements have become an exemplary story today. The website and YouTube videos they released from Umanda are their highest grossing till date.

      Many entrepreneurs and outside professionals gave him funds/money. Now the “crazy mode” model and a place that is heavily criticized by the nation itself has become an attraction for people.
      People should be trained to Be a role model for those who “work hard” to achieve their ultimate goals. I may be not like Thero as an extravaganza promoter, but I like him having motivated agro community in this battled nation.

      • 0

        if anyone would prove other way around, I will offer 10 000 dollars.

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