8 December, 2021

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The Myth About The University Admissions Criteria

By M. Y. M. Siddeek

Dr. MYM Siddeek

Dr. MYM Siddeek

Truth alone will endure, all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time” – Mahatma Gandhi.

I believe there is a widespread myth that the Tamils were badly affected due to the university admissions criteria of the successive governments of Sri Lanka. There is no truth in it. It is true that not only the Tamils but also the Muslims who studied their A Levels in Tamil medium were affected by ethnic/language based standardisation of university admissions implemented in 1970 and 1971. However, with the introduction of the District Quota System, the Tamil students from the Northern districts of Vavunia, Mullaithivu, Mannar and Kilinochchi, from the Eastern districts of Trincomalee, Ampara and Batticaloa and from the Central province districts of Nuwara-Eliaya, Badulla, Bandarawela immensely benefitted. The District Quota System has been implemented by the successive governments since 1972 to admit students to the universities.

Before 1970, university admission was based on pure merit. The number of Tamil and Sinhalese students was almost equal in highly demanded medical and engineering faculties in the universities.  However, the Sinhalese students in the faculties were not proportionate to their population in the country. Therefore from 1970, the university admissions policies made it compulsory for the Tamil students to score higher marks than the Sinhalese students to enter the same faculties in the university. For example, Tamil students had to score 250 marks to get into Medical or Engineering faculty while Sinhalese students only had to score 229 and 227 marks respectively.  In short, students sitting for examinations in the same language, but belonging to two ethnic groups, had different requirements of minimum marks to enter the universities. It is widely claimed by some that this open discrimination of the then United Front Government of 1970 caused enormous harm to ethnic relations between Tamils and Sinhalese. This made it difficult for Tamil youths to enter university and as a result, the Tamil youths were not able to find suitable employment. Therefore, they say that this made the Tamil youths hate the Sinhalese and the university admission policy was another reason for the conflict between the Tamils and Sinhalese in Sri Lanka.

From 1971, the same government made some changes to the university admissions criteria and the students were admitted to the universities based on language they sit. The number of Tamil and Sinhalese students admitted to the universities was proportional to the number of participants who sat to the A Level examinations in Tamil and Sinhala languages. This obviously decreased the proportion of the Tamil medium students in the universities. It is noteworthy that, according to 1971 A Level examinations results, a large proportion of the Tamil allocation was enjoyed by Tamil students from Jaffna and a large proportion of the Sinhalese share was enjoyed by the Sinhalese students from Colombo. Therefore, the Education Minister of that time seriously thought about this imbalance between the districts due to lack of facilities in the other districts of the country. Therefore, the District Quota System was introduced in 1972 to take into consideration of extremely limited facilities available in the districts other than Colombo and Jaffna. It is also important to note that, the ethnic/language based standardisation was in existence only for two years. Therefore, it can also be argued that impact of those short-lived criteria to admit students to the universities is immaterial considering a long history of higher education system in Sri Lanka.

The District Quota System for university admissions introduced in 1972 abolished medium wise standardisation of marks. There is no evidence for existence of language based standardisation after 1972. One of the other reasons for the introduction of the District Quota System was to control continuing influx of students to Colombo and Jaffna schools due to lack of facilities in other districts. It was therefore thought that if admissions to universities were decided on a District Quota System, an incentive for good students to remain in their home towns would be created. Therefore, one of the objectives of the District Quota System was to ensure that the best students from rural schools gain admission to the universities from schools in their own districts. It was also thought that selections on a District Quota System would eliminate the handicaps created by the lack of sufficient satisfactory facilities in certain areas such as Nuwara-Eliya, Mannar, Vavunia, Mullaithivu, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Monaragala, Polonnaruwa etc. This fact was never appreciated by the critiques of the District Quota System and was never mentioned in the debates. According to the District Quota System of 1972, 30% of university places were allocated on the basis of island-wide merit and 55% of the places were allocated on the basis of comparative scores within districts on the basis of the population strength of each district. Therefore, if a district has a population of 18% of the total population of the country, 18% of places available for any particular group of courses were allocated to that district whereas another district with a population equivalent to 7% of the total population, it would get only 7% of places in that particular, group of studies. An additional 15% was reserved for students from underprivileged districts such as Nuwara_Eliya and Trincomalee. This 15% too was allocated on the basis of the population strength of the underprivileged districts. Once the total number of students for each district is determined on the basis of the population strength of the district, 100% merit basis was applied within the district to select the students for each course of study. I am not arguing here that this is the best system because a student’s performance can be affected by various factors such as I.Q., school and home environment, extra- curricular activities, attitude and aptitude for learning etc. Inclusion of all these factors into the admission criteria is impossible. It is very important to note that Sri Lanka has only a small number of universities and therefore , the education system in Sri Lanka is very competitive. Approximately only 9% of the students who sit for the G.C.E (Advanced Level) examinations, and only about 14% of those who qualify, are admitted to universities. Therefore, it is fair to provide opportunities to the students from all the districts, more importantly to the students from educationally underprivileged districts other than Colombo in the West and other than Jaffna in the North. The District Quota System has also brought an ethnic balance. In 1969, before the introduction of standardisation/District quota System , the Northern Province which was pre-dominantly a Tamil province with only 7% of the population of the country, was allocated 27.5% of the places for science-based courses in Sri Lankan universities. By 1974, after introduction of the District Quota System, this was reduced to 7% which is equivalent to the population proportion of the province. Similarly, from the other predominantly Tamil districts of Vavunia, Mullaithivu, Mannar, Batticaloa, Trincomalee etc. the percentage increased to closer to their population strength. Similarly, the Western Province with 26% of the population of the country was allocated 67.5% of the places of science-based courses in 1969. This reduced to 27% in 1974 which is closer to the population strength of the district. It should be stressed here that the majority of the share enjoyed by Jaffna Tamils were distributed among Tamils in other Tamil districts such as Vavunia, Mullaithivu, Mannar, Trincomalee, Ampara, Batticaloa and Hill country where the facilities in the schools were very poor. Majority of the share enjoyed by Colombo was distributed among rest of the Sinhalese. This is the major impact of the District quota System.

Therefore, the district quota system not only brought benefits to those students not having adequate access to educational facilities, but also had a significant impact on the demographic patterns of university entry. While the open ethnic/language based and short-lived university admissions criteria of 1971 and 1972 have long been dismantled, many Tamil youth still feel that they are discriminated against in access to higher education because of the false propaganda by some politicians and Tamil movements.

It is true that the Tamil students in the District of Jaffna were affected by the District Quota System for a few years. But in the mean time Tamil students from all other districts of the Northern and the Eastern provinces have benefitted immensely with the implementation of the District Quota System. For example, soon after the creation of new Kilinochchi district in 1984, one Tamil student from this district was admitted to Medical faculty with only 182 marks when the students from some other districts had to gain about double of that marks to go to a Medical faculty. Isn’t it a record in the recent higher education history of Sri Lanka to go to a Medical faculty with such a very low mark? I am sure this particular student, now a senior doctor, should be able to witness this. Similarly, a large number of Tamil students from Vavunia, Mannar, Mullaithivu, Trincomalee, Nuwara-Eliya etc. were privileged to gain admission to the universities due to the introduction of the District Quota System should also be able to witness the benefits they derived. Isn’t it a benefit that the Tamil community derived from the District Quota System? Therefore, it is a false believe that the Tamils were badly affected by the University Admissions Criteria of successive governments. What the District Quota System does is to provide equal opportunity to the students from all the district irrespective the language they speak and their ethnicity.

Now the district quota system has slightly changed. Up to 40% of the available places are filled in order of Z – Scores ranked on an all island merit basis. Under District Merit Criteria, up to 55% of the available places in each course of study is allocated to the 25 administrative districts in proportion to the total population, that is, on the ratio of the population of the district concerned to the total population of the country. A special allocation up to 5% of the available places in each course of study is for 16 educationally dis-advanced districts including Jaffna District. It should be highlighted here that Jaffna district is now considered an educationally dis-advanced district and the students from that district are also immensely benefitting from the District quota System. The island-wide merit 40% was only 30% in 1972. There were only 5 districts classified as underprivileged districts in 1972. It should also be noted here that Jaffna district is benefitting now more than Colombo, Kandy and some other districts since it is now considered an educationally dis-advanced district and gets extra number of admissions.

However, in selecting students to a given course of study, it is ensured that the quota allocated to any districts (55% and 5%) is not below the quota in the academic year 1993/4 or 2002/2003, whichever the greater. As a result, the districts in the North and the East are not disadvantaged by a large outflow of population due to the war.

The quota system to admit students to universities is nothing new. There are other countries following similar systems. A very good example is China. The quota system recently introduced in China allocates more students from poorer areas to the universities. According to the system, the universities in 11 of the richer provinces are to admit a total of 210,000 students from poorer provinces. Another example is Nigeria. The universities are guided by admission policies such as quota system, catchment area, carrying capacity, and educationally less developed states and others. Educationally less developed areas are given 20%. Only 45% of the available places are reserved for candidates with very high marks. This is just 5% above the current 40% merit based admissions in Sri Lanka. The Nigerian university admissions policies are aimed at addressing the issues of ethnic representation. Even in the UK now many academics and politicians are thinking of widening access to university. They accept that all youngsters should have an equally good chance of going to university. There are arguments in the UK academic and political circles to force the universities to discriminate in favour of under-represented groups. The argument is that they should be given admission and an opportunity to learn regardless of whether their Advanced Level results are poor. Although they do not support a quota system, it is similar to a quota system.

I remember at this point what John F. Kennedy once said; ‘all of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have equal opportunity to develop our talents’.

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Latest comments

  • 5
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    How can we have a Democracy, when Languages are the Criteria for Admission to Universities?

    Those who leave Sri Lanka because of this, are Happy to go to Schools that Teach in the National Language of their Country of Choice, mainly English.

    • 5
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      You can see even today many students are coming to many faculties through back door without A/L. Take example by using foreign passports how many do that. Country where chief examiner to A/L Economics paper publishing own book for A/L and preparing A/L Economics paper living in Southern University. But no one is taking about this wrong work.

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  • 5
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    Well it is started by Srilankan majority’s leaders !! Don Stpan !! To capture power Solaman West Ridgeway get the Sinhalese language policy in hand !! He did not only keep his promise to make Sinhalese as official language !! Also take over most of the private run schools !! Make the teaching medium in our mother tongue !! That is Sinhala or Tamil !! But he did not make all the school to the same standard of teaching !! Same level of facilities !! Affordable parents including he him self send their children to the elite city schools or school in overseas countries !! Even my school days I never attend any private tuition !! In my school teachers will advice the pupils to stay after school who are week in their subjects !! Now every pupils every where regardless of their city !! Villages !! Schools!! Attend private tuitions out side schools!! Parents are paying spending very high amount of money on it !! why we sent our children to schools !! If they are not taught well by their teachers !! The government and concern authorities must look on this !! This is an good example how our government is functioning !! The government must stop private tuition !! Not private schools !! Must check every students progress !! Advice the children’s as well as their teachers to take care !! If nessarey take action against teachers whose students are poor in progress !! Stop their yearly increase of salary !! Stop delay their promotions !! This must apply for every government managed department !! Universities !! Institute anything !! That run by / own by the government !! Recently we see that Dotors demands their children to be admitted leading schools in the citiys !! And the same people wanted to close down the private run medical college !! The Dotors are most privileged service employs in the government or private sector !! They have given many benefits !! So we the government must start this from our schools !! Their our children’s life starts after the home !!Make all the school to the same standard !! Facilitate all the school like teachers !! Buldings !! This is the only option to develop the every ones life and also the country !! So that we can live in peace and harmony !!
    For higher studies pupils must selected on their merit !! Character!! Behaviour !! Appearance !! Presentation!! Not by their language !! Ethnicity !! Religion !! City !! Village !! District !! Province !! What we sow !! We harvest !!

  • 4
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    Since 1948 the successive goverments brought in many changes to the constitution to uplift the national majority at the expense of the national
    Minorities. The governments brought, in Sinhala only with the support of pancha bala vegaya. The govt assisted colonisations were brought in the north & east under the pretext of national unity.Sinhala only and ape aanduwa were brought in. A republic consitution was brought in by Rathu Sahotharayo. It took away Solusbury’ s special provisions
    Race based and later adding regional criteria, Standardisation was brought in schools saying minorities have had means to privileges.

    Have the successive governments together with the majority of the Sangha and people developed SriLanka with out blaming the minorities.

    There won’t be any substatial change for the better, in Sri Lanka

  • 7
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    Lot of dirty water has flown under the bridge in Sri Lanka due to the nature of the political culture that exists keeping communities a logger-heads. Leave past happenings to be bygones and look forward to a good future.

  • 10
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    Non sense despite many Muslims studying in the Tamil medium they were not affected by standardisation. Badudeen Mohamed saw to this. It was only the Tamils who were affected. Despite standardisation, large number of Tamils were still entering universities, especially the prestigious science courses. In order to further curtail Tamil entry , they hatched out a regional basis allocation in addition to the standardisation, under the pretext of helping sparsely populated backward Tamil and Sinhalese areas, as they knew Tamils entering from these areas will be minimal and they will stop far more Tamils entering from Colombo Jaffna or even Batticaloa. The main aim was to reduce the Tamil entry and by giving a few crumbs to backward sparsely populated Tamil areas and pretending to be concerned about them was an eyewash and to hoodwink, everyone. You can see the result Tamil entry especially to the prestigious science courses drastically reduced and Sinhalese and Muslim enty greatly increased. Badudeen was a demon who hatched this plot to with the Sinhalese racists to damn the Tamils and the Muslims and Sinhalese to gain at their expense. DO not try to eyewash what really happened.
    If they were concerned about backward areas Sinhalese or Tamil around 10-15% of the seats could have been allocated to these areas and they can only enter if the reach a certain mark. The rest on merit. No this was nasty racist ploy to deny Tamils higher education that was hatched out my a Muslim minister and Sinhalese racist to benefit their community. Now you want to white wash this Muslim sin

  • 0
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    What is important now is to focus attention on the strongly emerging Sinhala- Buddhist extremism that is threatening the peaceful existence of the minorities. Past divisive issues that were created for political expediency should be buried and close understanding among the minorities need to be created.

    • 3
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      ‘Peaceful existence of the minorities’? What peaceful existence is that? Have you never heard of the LTTE, ENDLF, EPRLF, PLOTE, TELO, Sri Lanka Jamthi Islam, Thauhid Jamath, Thableeq Jamath, Jamathi Muslim?

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        Taraki

        “What peaceful existence is that?”

        Its called Anagarika Dharmapala’s (the homeless one) Aryan Sinhala/Buddhism.

        You must be a child sucking your thumb and still sleeping in cradle while mumma sang lullaby.

  • 10
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    Dr. MYM Siddeek your argument is flawed.

    when standardisation was first brought Tamils need to get higher mark that the Sinhala student to enter uni. You know what happened Tamils were attaining the higher marks. Then Badudeen Mohamed brought in regional allocation to altogether bar the Tamil students even further and favour the Sinhala and Muslim students.

    You must also remember the standardisation and regional allocation favoured dumb rich Sinhala students from elite schools in Colombo and Kandy not just the poor Sinhala kids.

    Dr. MYM Siddeek you are talking about UK. Tony Blair roared Education Education Education. How did he get out of it? He made all Technical Colleges in to University and gave them Uni status. The result is that the system is now creating unemployable graduates who cant string together a simple sentence in English.

    The same thing in Sri Lanka ; the students graduating out of Sri Lanka universities since theintriduction of standardisation are unemployable or drop outs.

    You say and I quote “Before 1970, university admission was based on pure merit. “

    what John F Kennedy said was give equal opportunity for all students to achieve the same but the high standard of merit to enter university.

    Hi didn’t say bring down the standard to favour the majority community

  • 8
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    “Therefore, the Education Minister of that time seriously thought about this imbalance”

    You are writing a serious article and quoting statistics but you cant remember the name of the education minister of that time? or is it a deliberate omission?

  • 10
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    You are opening your article with Mahatma Gandhi’s quote. “Truth alone will endure, all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time”

    It is funny how quotes from famous personalities are used out of context by authors/politicians only for the quote to bite them back.

  • 8
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    Education is a universal right to any human being, else,
    it’s an unpardonable crime to that individual and a terrible discrimination, let him/her be Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim for that matter any body, let it be male or female, young or old, if they have the required entry requirements, that’s it. Non has the right to deny it, let it be the state or any one. from state or private institutions, on the basis of language, religion, caste, color etc, from state or private institutions.

    In Malaysia, even a minister’s, high up in society and ordinary person’s child go to the same school. They developed all the schools to the same level and with same and equal facilities, with well qualified and trained teachers, whether it be rural or city school.

    University entrance is the student’s choice depending on the entry qualifications and financial means, be it Malay or Chinese or Tamil or any other citizen of Malaysia, they just go and register at the institution of their choice, be it be state or private. Primary and secondary education is free but not higher and tertiary education. Malaysian government provides loans to students for higher education, and local and foreign scholarships for exceptional students.

    Why don’t we develop something like that, instead of making a big issue of it.

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      Too many and unnecessary interference in the Education system of Sri Lanka, mostly done with political objectives, undermined the due progress of education in the country. Deserving children have been deprived and the less derserving had been given preference Provision of education and employment should be on merit and not on any other consideration. May be due to various historical circumstances one group of people enjoyed more oppportunities than the others. But that imbalance cannot be rectified by the withdrawal of such opportunites but by providing more facilities to the other groups so that they can be become equal.

  • 5
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    Good . should be published in Sri lankan news papers.

  • 4
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    Isn’t it also unfair to allocate the available limited resources inequitably among the districts and ask the educationally underprivileged children from the village schools of those under-resourced/under-allocated districts to compete with well resourced Colombo and Jaffna schools? Yes you can admit students to the universities on a 100% merit basis when you bring up the 100% of poorly resourced village schools to the standards of well resourced schools in Colombo and Jaffna. How can you expect a student from a village school in Kilinochchi district to compete with a student from Colombo district or Jaffna district?

    • 7
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      Nonsense this was not the aim, it was basically used to reduce the intake of Tamils to the university and increase the intake of far less qualified Sinhalese and Muslim students. Nothing to with underprivileged districts as very few underprivileged students from these districts ever entered, the few who entered using these underprivileged districts were extremely rich and privileged student from these districts who studied in rich privileged city schools and then used their home address from these districts to enter university. The government was aware of this but just wanted Sinhalese and Muslims to enter.
      The government used the underprivileged excuse to grant say to grant one Tamil student from Killnochchi whist stopping another further hundred Tamil students from Jaffna or Batticaloa entering university. This was their aim. They then say see because of our policy one Tamil student from backward Killinochchi entered university but keep quiet about the 100 other Tamil students they prevented entering if the intake was purely on merit. Further if this was the aim of only assisting poor students from underprivileged areas to enter university, then how is it that Sinhalese and Tamil students coming from the same economic/class background studying at the same school with the same facilities had to score different marks to enter the same course. The Sinhalese student had to score far less marks than the Tamil student despite the fact they were studying in the same school and were from the same privileged background. I personally know of many Tamil students with far higher grades and marks denied entry to university. Not even to a basic science graduate course, whist their Sinhalese class mated with far lower grades entered medicine dentistry Etc. Whom are you trying to fool?
      This was a racist plot hatched by a nasty Muslims minister and a Sinhalese racist government to deny Tamils higher education. Now you are trying to come here and white wash what really happened and the dirty hand of this Muslim Minister in the saga. You are disgusting. Do not try to white wash what happened by stating this helped underprivileged Tamils it may have helped one underprivileged Tamil student, who still may have entered through merit but denied entry to hundreds of other deserving Tamil students and greatly advantaged Sinhalese and Muslim student irrespective of whether came from privileged or underprivileged areas backgrounds or schools. This was the disgusting aim and you are coming here to defend it.

  • 8
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    Dr.Sideek.

    When Badiuddin Mahmud was entrusted with the Ministry of Education in 1970,the infamous Standardisation for entry to the university started in full swing.He used altruistic arguments like like disadvantaged schools,educationally underprivileged Districts etc etc to hoodwink the gullible! In the meantime the number of Muslim students entering University increased exponentially.So,ineffect,the project was to help the Muslim and deny the Tamil!
    Unfortunately,Badiuddin did not live long enough to see the the turmoil in the country when the Tamil youth took up to arms; Standardisation was a catalyst and a rallying point in the early days.
    No one can justify a system whereby Peter was robbed to pay Paul!

  • 4
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    Dear Plato,

    What about the Tamil students from Kilinochchi, Vavunia, Mannar, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee, Ampara, Nuware-eliya, Badulla, Bandarawela etc. who benefitted from the district quota system? There are more Tamils than Muslims in those districts except in Ampara !

    • 8
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      yes only a few from these areas, who if they were good would have still entered the university however denied hundreds of deserving Tamil students entry and many of them were poor and underprivileged too. Trying to use this as excuse to basically deny Tamils higher education will not work. People saw through this. Give one Tamil from one of these backward district higher education as a price to deny hundreds of deserving Tamil students who would have entered university on the basis of merit higher education and then crow how wonderful I am, even when I am racist and denying Tamils education I gave one Tamil from a backward area a chance to study, as a sop to my conscience and will crow about it.
      Why were all these backward areas even after 30 years of independence? If you were so concerned why are they still backward? If you really wanted to give a chance to Tamils and Sinhalese from backward areas you reserve a certain percentage of seats for them and a minimum entry standard. Lastly why weren’t Sinhalese and Muslims not affected by this only Tamils?

  • 9
    3

    This guy is justifying the Tamils claim that Muslims were with Sinhalese to destroy them, it is not just Badaruddin Mohamed, who was forced by Sirimavo.

    What happened to best school in the Jaffna district? How they were deprived of facilities and destroyed?

    Why now the Muslims are not demanding for a system like that for the war affected students, but they arguing only in favour of what damage did by Badaruddin Mohamed?

    What happened to Tamils to the law college when Hakeem was the Minister there? Why didn’t he use that percentage? While Kaheem was justice minister, 72 Muslims students entered to Law College and Sinhala students claimed to the Law College roofs? Where did the percentage went that time?

    Then why the employment is not done in that way? Why the 16% of the Tamils have only 2% of the goverment jobs?

    Then why muslims turned out to be richest in the nation not employing the percentage of sharing that same wealth with Tamils and Sinhalese?

  • 6
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    Dr.Sideek.

    I am not being personal but only highlighting the fact that Merit was white-vanned through this dubious device of Standardisation! Academics of repute of the 70s have published articles on the subject.Perhaps,you may do well to refer to them.
    Interestingly,when A.C.S.Hameed[A fine man though] was Minister of Foreign Affairs there was a huge intake of Muslims into that Ministry.Was that also governed by the principle of Standardisation?

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      A fine man? Are we talking about A.C.S. (All Counties Seen) Hameed?

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      • 2
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        More than the community,he looked after the interests of the FAMILY and that too very well.
        Members of the family got scholarships to study abroad. Then brothers were appointed Ambassadors.
        There is a saying,: ” When you have the spoon you must serve yourself”
        It is not Hameed alone who did it but , all Sri Lankan politicos.
        Even now it goes on. !!!

  • 2
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    Mallaiyuran,

    This is what my good Tamil friend from Jaffna (who is an excellent Tamil poet/writer/South Indian Tamil film actor) who also studied with me in the University calls ‘Jaffna mentality’. He hates this Jaffna mentality although he is from Jaffna. What happened was that when the district quota system (DQS) was introduced and the excessive number of university admissions enjoyed by Jaffna district was shared with other Tamils in Mannar, Mullaitivu, Vavunia and the other districts they said the Tamils were affected by DQS. They did not appreciate the benefits enjoyed by the Tamils in the other predominantly Tamil districts. When Jaffna is affected by something they cry and say the entire Tamils are affected. When the Tamils from other predominantly Tamil districts benefit from something like DQS they (Jaffna Tamils) do not think that it is a benefit for Tamils because the Jaffna Tamils do not benefit from it. I can quote a number of examples to substantiate my argument. Just one now. After creation of Kilinochchi district in 1984, a tamil student from this district was admitted to Medical Faculty with only 182 marks when the students from some other districts had to score more than double of this mark. This is a record in the recent history of Sri Lanka to go to a medical faculty with such a very low mark. Why don’t you appreciate this? Because this student is not from Jaffna!. How can you expect a student from Kilinochi poor village school to compete with highly resourced Jaffna schools? 1000s of doctors and engineers from the predominantly Tamil districts but educationally disadvantaged in the North and the East will also witness the benefits they enjoyed.They are doctors and engineers today because of the DQS. Otherwise those places would have gone to Jaffna. The Tamil politicians did not explain the benefits of DQS but they used it for their political gains and misinformed and mislead the Tamil youths (they called them ‘podiyankal’) like you. This lead to loss of thousands of valuable young lives !.

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      You are pathetic. ” My good friend from Jaffna” and we are expected to believe that you have a good friend in Jaffna. If you really had a good friend in Jaffna you will not be defending this racist flawed system, that was deliberately hatched out by Muslim Badudeen and Sinhalesse Srimavo government to keep out Tamils students from prestigious science and other courses on the basis of language wise standardisation and regional basis that was hatched out later, when language wise standardisation, still did not keep enough Tamils students out.
      On pretext of helping poor underprivileged students from backward areas( sic),they reserved a few token places for so called Tamils from underprivileged backward areas and kept out thousands of Tamil students who rightfully should have entered university on the basis of merit. The biggest beneficiaries of this standardisation and regional basis were the Sinhalese and Muslims. Their numbers swelled whilst the Tamil numbers fell drastically . Using this selection criteria they stole all the places that should have gone rightly to the Tamil students if merit was the basis of selection.
      The beneficiaries of all this were not even Sinhalese or Muslims from backward or underprivileged areas but rich privileged Sinhalese and Muslim students. These largely rich and privileged Sinhalese and Muslim students could not compete with the Tamil students in an open competition for higher education and needed the help of the then government to hatch out this diabolical scheme to keep Tamils out and allow them to steal their places and enter university.
      We all know that no underprivileged from any of these so called backward area. hardly entered but over privileged and rich students, who had access to good education, used this loophole to enter university with far lower marks. On the pretext of underprivileged and backward areas.
      They gave a few token over privileged rich Tamil students with poor or minimum grades to enter university using this loophole and denied the vast bulk of the Tamil students any form of higher education, that they would have obtained if standardisation and regional basis was not there and the selection criteria was solely on merit.
      Strangely enough no Sinhalese or Muslim were affected. Just Tamils. This pathetic human, who most probably was a beneficiary of this racist standardisation and regional basis, that was hatched out by a fellow Muslim, that denied thousands of Tamil students their rightful places in the universities, instead gave their places to far less able and qualified Sinhalese and Muslim students, is now coming to defend this.
      No right minded educated person with a sense of justice will ever come to defend this evil racist system that was designed only to benefit only the Sinhalese and Muslims and keep Tamil entry to higher education to the bare minimum. Only someone pathetic woeful creature and someone laden with a guilty conscience will come to defend this. It would have been better if he kept quiet. Most of these Muslim commentators have only achieved one thing here. Stirred up the anger and suspicion of both the Sinhalese and Tamils.
      Despite being attacked by Sinhalese extremists. most of them still want to fawn to the Sinhalese and justify what happened to the Tamils as they were co partners of this genocide and discrimination and still try to obtain privileges for their community, at the expense of the Tamils

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        Rohan
        I was told that there were instances where unscrupulous elements marked attendance for ghost students in backward areas in order to get them university admissions using district quota.

        I am sure Mr Siddique is aware of this practice in his long career in education. Districts of Mannar, Puttalam, and eastern province have been said to be tainted because this practice.

    • 7
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      Mr Siddeek – what about the Muslim mentality?

      You are refusing to accept, the fact eloquently argued here by Real Siva Sankaran Sarma ,Mallaiyuran etc. The standardisation though helped one or two Tamil students from rural area to enter higher education, but that is an eye wash, the real objective of the standardisation is to shut out the Tamil Students in favour of the Sinhala students. That is the fact.

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      Mr. Siddeek,

      You are explaining back your flawed theory to me, which I did not question, in first hand, with your flaw arguments. I only questioned the motive of Disenfranchisement of Tamils, Sinhala Only, Standardization, DSQ, and Change of 1972 constitution to make Buddhism as the religion of the country…. …. so forth.
      If you did not get my questions, I repeat, just answer to one of my above questions that deal with current problem of war ravaged area where Old King bought bombs for $200 billion and flattened land. If you honestly believe DSQ was bought to benefit rural Tamils, Can you draft an essay asking Yahapalanaya Government to implement DQS like preferential system to help war affected children and widows to get education and employments and post it here on CT too? You appears to be purposely stayed out of taking about that question. Please get back to that now.

      Will you ask Yahapalanaya government to offer employment for war affected youths on a system like DSQ. Here aren’t you openly show jealous that Tamils were Doctors? 1000s of doctors and engineers from the predominantly Tamil districts but educationally disadvantaged in the North and the East will also witness the benefits they enjoyed. This statement is showing your jealous of the developed metropolitan Jaffna area. If this is not one your jealous statement, then just calls for the same to the war ravaged Vanni?

      Don’t fool Tamils that DSQ was brought to benefits to the rural Tamils. Provided if true what you said, Just to get one Kilinochchi student 100s of Peninsula’s hardworking of were undermined and nullified. Your system never brought any good to up country Tamils. If have studied even for a lowest grade-level in education, you wouldn’t revenge the kids who stayed until 2 O’clock in the night and studied, by saying to them that in their area there 1000s of doctors so they fail. That is not a system at all.

      Did Tamils asked for the competitive exam for Universities? Did Tamils ask for the Kanangra system? Tamils built their education system for themselves. All Jaffna region schools’ lands Building were donated by their philanthropist. If you wanted to improve the rural area education, why your government didn’t went and built schools in the rural areas. Why did the governments demolish the well-established Jaffna education system? The Sinhala governments have bought bombs to $200 billion to destroy Tamils civilizations, but were not prepared to build school in rural area to improve their education. Tell me please how many schools you would build with that kind money? It is not just that they did not build any schools in rural Tamil areas, now Rapist Army is occupying those schools. Did you talk about it?
      The Sinhala governments are not allowing UK, USA, Canada, Australia private universities build their branches in Tamils areas but they are allowing Saudi Funded Muslim Universities in East.

      You might have read in Izeth easy that he is explicitly telling that if Muslims move to East it is going to benefit Tamils. You all Muslims writers are worried of opening up for merit. You Muslim writer and leaders think Sinhala people are Modayas and if you hide behind them you can benefit more instead of competing with Tamils on merit. That is why Hakeem refused to form a unity government in East with TNA but he formed one with Old King.

      You are such an ignorant person to write that Tamil leaders did not tell Tamil youths the biased DSQ that is why they took arms and many lives lost. Tamils asked for Federal Government. Two pacts with Tamils were torn. 1958 riots, 1961 Satyagraha had devastated Tamils wealth. It was Tamil polices saved Sirimavo in 1971 uprising. Still she brought the Sinhala Only constitution in 1972 shutting out FP. SJV resigned his seat for a challenge shadow referendum. Sirimavo pumped a fortune of wealth to VP to dive Tamil along the caste line. She delayed the election until 1975 looking for good opportunity for her and still lost election. SJV was sent back to parliament like Knight by Tamils. Sirimavo suppressed more. That is why SJV brought the Vattukkottai Convention. That is where arming was determined as Tamils methods. Don’t make yourself such an idiot by saying that Tamils took arms just because they did not understand the DSQ system.

      Muslims leaders and writers are playing opportunistic politics. When DS disenfranchised Tamils, they offered support to DS and obtained MMDA. Though that is self-inflicted wound tough you guys like it.

      How is it has become the Muslims as the richest community? Why are you not proposing a system to like that the 90,000 widows? Why are not finding them employment? You are not doing that because you are such a cheap person who can be employed by any racist for penny.

      Let me explain to you, that are not any traits in Muslims made them the richest in the land; it is the leaders opportunistic behavior! All Muslims leadership always takes minster positions in the Sinhala Governments, whether it they are SLFP or UNP. So they have been benefiting 100% continuously from Sinhala rulerships. Sinhalese SLFPyers takes minster positions only in SLFP governments and UNPyers in UNP governments. So their benefits only 50% always out of the Sinhala rulership. Tamils are forced to fight for their rights from 1948. They benefited from Sinhala rulership 0%.

      They tell a story in Tamil about few goats. Nine of them went of path. First all eight fell into pit on the path without looking of it. The ninth walked on them, turned back at them and told to the demising ones “fools didn’t you see the pit on the path” and let them to perish there and went on its way. “Muslims writers like you, after 35 years of introduction of Badiudin’s standardization and after benefiting enormously out of it, now preaching to Tamils that Tamils did not understand the benefits of DSQ and destroyed themselves. Remember, it is not the DSQ even the in the original Standardization Badiudin had built preferential treatment for the Muslims who sit in Tamil medium. It tells that it was not about the rural area, but it was something about Tamils.

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    Dr. Siddeek,

    I wish to disagree with your justification of the University admission criteria particularly in the 1970s. The change to the merit system, that was in place prior to 1970s, was implemented in a hurry without sufficient consideration for the consequences by the newly elected government to pacify the nationalist elements. Initially the justification for the “Standardisation” was based on the unsubstantiated allegation that the Tamil markers were being lenient and giving more marks to the Tamil students compared to the Sinhala markers. I believe they did appoint a commission headed by Professor B.A. Abeyawickrama to investigate this matter and found no truth in the allegation.

    The implementation of the Standardisation happened after the release of the marks which dashed the hopes and aspirations of many Tamil students who had worked extremely hard and scored the necessary marks to secure a place in a university course of their chose. I speak from my personal experience as a Tamil student having most of my Secondary education in the Hill country sitting for G.C.E A/Ls in 1969 and been affected by the Standardisation. I was fortunate to still gain entrance into the course of my choice even though it was not in my preferred University. While Sinhala media students with lower marks than mine were admitted to the established University I had to be content with a newly created University with uncertain future. Unlike my circumstance there were many hardworking Tamil students who did not gain entrance to the Universities and were heartbroken to see Sinhala media students with less marks than themselves gaining entrance to the University. Srilanka was the overall loser by not harnessing the potential of the cream of the nation’s youth positively. Instead these disillusioned youth fell into the influence of scheming power hungry Tamil individuals to unleash their energies to the detriment of the country.

    I agree that a students should not be denied the opportunity to pursue University education simply because of the lack of educational facilities. However it should not be done by replacing a high performing “advantaged” student with a low performing “disadvantaged” student. This issue should be addressed in a systematic manner by following proven schemes such as scholarships, quotas etc. and not at the expense of other hard working students whether they be advantaged or otherwise. Instead this issue was used as an excuse to undermine the hardworking Tamil students from reaching their fullest potential and contribute positively towards the progress of the country. This leads to mediocracy which unfortunately is one of the scourges currently dragging down SriLanka from reaching its fullest potential.

    Pre-Standardisation, University admission was merit based and administered by the University. Post Standardisation political interference and corruption crept into University admission process. I am personally aware of a case, in the 70s, where the son of a senior Muslim politician from East gained admission into the Engineering faculty with very low marks while having had his entire Secondary education in Colombo. Further I see no justification or merit in manipulating the University graduate number to reflect the ethnic proportion of the population. In a secular country like SriLanka if we are to achieve progress we should be “ethnic blind” and encourage meritocracy immaterial of the person’s ethnicity. However we also should ensure that individuals with potentials who lack facilities are identified and provided the necessary facilities and encouragement to rise up to their fullest potential. This should be the case not only in University admission but in all other fields.

    It is unfortunate that Dr. Siddeek is attempting to justify what was initiated as a means to reduce the number of Tamils entering prestigious University courses by racist elements through a convoluted logic of the number of university graduates reflecting the nation’s ethnic percentage. Dr Siddeek through the extension of your logic would you advocate the number of traders should reflect the ethnic proportion and thereby deny trading license to successful Muslim traders and make them loose their livelihood ? Would you advocate more Tamils and Muslims to be recruited into the Military at the expense of Sinhala youth ?

    Pro-Meritocracy

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      Bala
      Thank you for the impersonal and thought full didactic analysis on an emotive topic to tamil people.

      I hope I can find time to add my thoughts into this topic.

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        Ken Robert

        I have been looking for you everywhere. My friend the Old Codger has forwarded me a research paper publish recently by

        Dr Samanti Kulatilake:

        The Peopling of Sri Lanka from Prehistoric to Historic Times: Biological and Archaeological Evidence

        This paper can be accessed at http://mtroyal.academia.edu/SamantiKulatilake

        Let me know your comments.

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          Native

          I will look at it.
          Ken

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      [Edited out]

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      [Edited out]

  • 0
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    “”I believe there is a widespread myth that the Tamils were badly affected due to the university admissions criteria of the successive governments of Sri Lanka. There is no truth in it.””

    You sound like the ghost of Deshamanya Dr. Badiudin Mahmud (23 June 1904 – 16 June 1997)- and SriMao who gave the muslims with just pass to enter university and english medium- you should be deported to Syria so that Russia can bomb you back to bin larden sea.. spinless one.

    “Truth alone will endure, all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time” – Mahatma Gandhi.
    [Edited out]

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    [Edited out]

  • 1
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    “”I remember at this point what John F. Kennedy once said; ‘all of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have equal opportunity to develop our talents’.””

    He never saw beyond his nose that equality of opportunity is Utopia – So he got shot.

    Like most You are writing Dr- is it `Pakistani heeling Dance` or did you get it by spooning??

  • 3
    1

    the author has recently come across about this and writing. this aspect was studied in detail by prof.CRD.SILVA and KMDE SILVA in 1970s. they have pointed out in their analysis how the no. of tamil students came down substantially due to changes in the admiss. policies. there are also studies which says that this was partly responsible for the rise of militancy in the north. now i do no not know why the author has started writing about this. he has to do a ‘literature survey’ first before embarking on this kind of writing. due to severe criticism of the standardization it was given up and quota system was introduced to some extent. i think author has some ulterior motive in writing about this matter.
    for your information readers, pl. note that now even in the south the policy makers feel that admission should be based only on merit because sinhalese living in urban areas are affected. you are quoting nigeria. positive discriminatory policies such as quotas are implemented in india and the usa.
    -DAYAL

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      dayal

      CRD.SILVA did an honest job. His report can be accessed on net.

  • 1
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    Dr. Siddeek,
    In the final analysis, the effectiveness of this quota system can only be judged on its results. One look at the leadership of the GMOA will suffice. If the system enabled these charlatans to hold the country to ransom, standardization should be scrapped. Use some sort of positive discrimination as in India.

  • 1
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    The standardisation was scrapped in 1972. Now under the district quota system (DQS)the students to the universities are selected on the basis of 100% merit within each district once the total number of allocation for each district on the basis of the population strength is determined. It is very important to understand the DQS thoroughly to understand the benefits derived from the system by the students from the educationally dis-advanced districts.

    It is not one or two Tamils benefitted as claimed by some here, from the DQS. 100s Tamil students from Kilinochchi district and 1000s of Tamil students from Vavunia, Mullaitivu,Mannar, Batticaloa, Ampara, Trincomalee etc; In general, students from all the three communities living in educationally dis-advanced districts immensely benefitted. If you analyse thoroughly and sensibly the statistics, leaving the emotions a side, you will find that the Tamil students admitted to the universities from the educationally dis-advanced districts significantly increased, much more than the proportions of Jaffna and Colombo, because of the introduction of DQS. The DQS not only benefitted MUslims and Sinhalese but also the Tamils immensely.

    Now under the DQS, a special allocation is made to Jaffna district too. Therefore, it has added benefit due to the DQS.

    What the education minister of that time did was to implement the government policy to help the educationally dis-advanced/under-privileged students to get an opportunity to study and develop their talents. Unfortunately the Education minister was a Muslim. That is why I see a number of purely/serious racist comments in this column. It is totally unacceptable to blame the system while enjoying the benefits. I do not deny the fact that the unproportionate admissions enjoyed by Colombo and Jaffna districts before the introduction of DQS were affected. It is fair to give an equal opportunity for the students from educationally dis-advanced students. That is what DQS does.

    The false propaganda of the Tamil politicians and movements for their own gains cost 1000s of innocent youth lives if this is the reason for them to resort to violence as claimed by some.

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      Please answer the questions put forward in this forum
      1. What was the impact of standardisation on students who happened to be in privileged areas?
      2. Why was not a pilot study was taken assess it effects?
      3. What measures were taken to assess the long term implications? ( academic stand aradiation and professionalism. GMOA is good example why we need face to face interview to weed out unsavoury elements)
      4. Finally what proof you have to say that standardisation helped the less privileged ( provide the numbers to substantiate your claim. I am pleased with your participation in this debate but I am yet to anything to make this an intellectual debate)

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        Dr. Siddeek,

        I know this is not a research paper but the use of numbers in your article obscures a lot of information. A percentage needs to be de-aggregated by ethnicity,place of origin, gender, type of university program, subject, type of university etc in order to make the argument you are trying to make. We need to see statistical trends in how the said policies actually changed the dynamic you are arguing for. Percentages in sporadic years do not cut it, at least not anymore when there are sophisticated analysis mechanisms that allow for better models to be set up to understand this phenomenon. Also, what is the source of this data, we know that our country struggles with collecting meaningful data. So if you had to use percentages, then you need to have explained the limitation of using them and you it must be corroborated with what the UGC maintains as its set of standards.

  • 1
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    Sad to say, but it was the Vellahla caste-based Jaffna Tamils who were not satisfied with Standardization and the benefits derived through it by Tamils of the rest of the Northern province and the Eastern and Central Provinces. Tamils of the latter regions got an advantage they had been denied for decades. They know what would happen to them if Devolution leads on to Autonomy and on to Independence as envisioned by the Vellahla Eelamist politicos. The caste-based arrogance factor and the envy factor have denied equal rights to Tamils within the comuunity.

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      CountryFarce

      Could you let us have a complete statistical information on caste based entrance/intake of students between 1960 and 2016 for the entire country.

      Are you still singing Sinhala only national anthem with gusto?

  • 1
    1

    I can give a number of examples from my personal experience since I was in the Sri Lankan higher education system for a very long time. A Tamil student from the Eastern Province (rural village) school entered Jaffna University Science faculty with only 4 ordinary A/Ls and topped the batch and passed out with 1st Class. Another Tamil student from the same Province (another rural school) entered Jaffna Medical Faculty with only 1 C and 2 Ss and did better than many other students in the faculty and was offered Lectureship immediately he passed out in another University. Another Tamil student from the same Province entered the University with 1 C and 3 Ss to Jaffna University Arts Faculty and topped the batch. These three students competed with most of their batchmates who obtained admission on the basis of islandwide merit basis (that time it was 30% now it is 40%). I am giving you these three of my examples although I can add 100s of examples. All the above three students obtained an opportunity to enter the University because of the district quota system DSQ). Otherwise they would have been denied the opportunity to develop their talents and do much better than their peers. Isn’t DQS a good system (although not the best) to give an opportunity in the universities to the rural underprivileged students who do not have adequate resources to develop their talents in their rural schools? Is it fair to deny the opportunity for them? Isn’t it immoral?

    • 1
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      I studied in Jaffna and I would support District Quota System 100%. I believe students with raw talents from rural areas should be given equal chances to complete with students coming from prep schools. Mr Siddeek, your example of how some students from rural villages from East got batch top is true. It is also true that most of the batch top students from universities don’t enter the university with top marks in their high school exams. I believe one reason is that students come with raw talents normally learn the subjects in a hard way on their own or with limited resources and then barely got through the university admission exams. Because of it they already have the experience to survive and learn new things in a harsh and demanding environment. Also they are normally highly motivated for the new opportunities that were given to them. Have you heard that the most of over achievers in R&D in IT or Science and Engineering companies in West graduated from No name schools?

      I have another question for you. Why don’t you consider yourself as a Tamil but your religion is Islam? I thought Tamil as a language and Islam/Christian/Hindu as a religion are two different topics. We are proud of the achievements of late Dr Abdul Kalam as a Tamil who came from a rural village in Tamil Nadu. Are you saying Dr Kalam was not a Tamil Scholar?

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    Dr. Siddeek should know that it is wrong to say that “The standardisation was scrapped in 1972.” He should have come forward to write only if he had the right information.

    I have written a long rejoinder — sorry it is so long — and given it to CT. I hope it will appear soon. If not I will try a shorter version later.

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    I know very well the district quota system does not standardise the marks on the ethnic/language basis. 40% island-wide merit and, 100% merit within each district once the quota for each district is determined.

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    Dr. Hoole,

    I copy below the first sentence of the opening paragraph of my opinion on the top of this discussion.

    “I believe there is a widespread myth that the Tamils were badly affected due to the university admissions criteria of the successive governments of Sri Lanka. There is no truth in it.”

    In the above core opinion sentence the term ‘successive governments’ is very important to understand what I am trying to say. I did not deny anywhere in my opinion that the Tamils were not affected by the standardisation. What I am trying to say here is that the Tamils from other than Jaffna district immensely benefitted from the district quota system (DQS). If you do a statistical analysis of the number of students admitted to the universities in the predominantly Tamil districts other than Jaffna before the DQS and after the introduction of the DQS, you will understand the immense benefit the Tamils at large derived due to the DQS. Now after the war, because of the district quota system, Jaffna district is enjoying an additional quota. Thanks to Douglas Devananda.

    Please refer to the current university admissions criteria of the UGC too.

  • 1
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    “In the above core opinion sentence the term ‘successive governments’ is very important to understand what I am trying to say. I did not deny anywhere in my opinion that the Tamils were not affected by the standardisation”

    What has happened is a systematic marginalisation of a powerful minority who try to eat more than they can chew.I think this is not myth but a fact. It is an elementary fact that war torn areas benefited from district quota. Mr (Dr)MYM Siddeek failed in his essay to show standardisation stood for greater good for the society in my opinion. Anecdotal cases are good to understand a problem but there have little place in the current evidence based educational practice.

    I predict economic marginalisation of Srilankan Muslims is not a far fetched prediction given the intellectual capacity of Srilankans in general.

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      ken Robert

      “I predict economic marginalisation of Srilankan Muslims is not a far fetched prediction given the intellectual capacity of Srilankans in general.”

      Ronie de Mel (then finance minister)wanted to introduce Bhumiputra form of governance immediately afther 1983 riots.

      A few years ago Sajith suggested the same idea at an UMP internal meeting.

      Will you be supporting Sajith?

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