22 October, 2020

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The Protesting Student & What He May Have To Say

By Migara Doss

Migara Doss

It was just last week that 05 university students including the Convener of the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF)- Lahiru Weerasekara were bailed out by the High Court of Colombo under strict bail conditions. The said order delivered by the High Court released the above students after having been in remand custody for nearly 50 days since their arrest after their purported forcible entry into the Ministry of Health and causing damage to public property thereof. The incident concerning the students is regarding their protest movement against the SAITM university and its medical faculty which allegedly paves way for the admittance of students into the medical profession upon the payment of money, which is argued as resulting in the commodification of education.

As it could be observed the SAITM phenomena has made waves in the local news for quite some time now and has aroused varied reactions from the general public, academics, professionals, students etc. In general there are mixed reactions amongst the public regarding the subject matter and people appear to be perplexed about the whole topic of SAITM and the larger issue of privatizing education. And on a different level some even begin to wonder the irony of prompt action by authorities to arrest and remand student activist who in a sense cause damage and inconvenience to the public under the public property act; whereas elected representatives of the people that have allegations of swindling public money and soliciting expensive bribes which amount to graver offences on public property are permitted to walk scot free after simple commission hearings and resignations. Accordingly this article attempts to discuss some of the popular social views regarding the protesting student, with a view to explain the causes and reasons for student protests in the wake of privatization of education. 

With regard to the issue concerning SAITM it is mainly regarding the establishment of the South Asian Institute of Medicine (originally Management) and Technology which began to award a medical degree that enables the obtainment of the M.B.B.S qualification and subsequent entry into the medical profession. The unique feature of SAITM is of that being a private business entity which charges an exuberant amount for its medical qualification. This feature has attracted much criticism and protests by student activist and political parties who cry foul against the same on the basis that such an arrangement of awarding the medical qualification for money paves way for commodification of education and results in inequality and injustice. 

Needless to say there are also various social opinions that safeguard and promote SAITM and any other future private educational entities; the reasoning behind such defense guarding SAITM are varied in nature but in a nutshell it is an argument on the freedom of education and broadening of educational provision. This social clash between Anti SAITM activist and SAITM guardians is indeed a thought provoking debate and leads to an advanced social discourse regarding the subject of education and the market economy. Hence it is important to draw some insights into this debate and discuss some of the main arguments leveled against the student/political activists who spearhead the public protest against SAITM. Such a discussion would also serve the purpose of dwelling into the mind of the ruggedly dressed university student that one would often find on the News and sometimes on the public road blocking your way, and would allow you to finally understand his chants that you barely understand on the news on in a heavily congested traffic jam.

Accordingly one major argument against the ANTI SAITM protests has been constructed on the basis that broadening of education in necessarily a positive development and any opposition against the same are drawn with sheer hate and jealousy of a selected few. This argument mostly stem from the middle class citizenry that demonize university students as chaotic and unproductive who are driven by a shared sense of jealousy and hatred against the rest of society and their avenues for education. However it is also of importance to take a moment and consider the argument advanced by student activists against the expansion of private education. In this regard a main argument advanced is on the evils of commodification of education. It is a firm rooted belief that education is fundamental as a right for citizens as the same enables them to progress from one social strata to another; and thereby it is argued that education ought to be a universal right that is equally accessible to everyone. However when education is released to the market and provided for a price the common evils of the market tarnishes this universal right and transforms this most fundamental right of citizens into a commodity. As a result of such a transformation the providers of education driven by motives of profit would invariably supply the cheapest of resources and expect the maximum of profit; which in reality would mean lowest quality education in anticipation of the maximum profit margin. The other downside that would lead down the road is that as opposed to other commodities the consumer of education (meaning the student) would not expect the highest product quality when education is put for sale, like for instance in purchasing a vehicle one looks into its running condition. On the contrary the purchaser of education would only expect a certificate qualification and entry into a profession in return to the financial investment he/she makes. This needless to say deteriorates the standard and quality of education and especially in fields of greater social importance such as medicine and law the resultant drop of quality causes many adverse effects on the general public. Therefore one could reasonably argue that sheer hate and jealousy may not be the only ground for opposition mounted against SAITM and larger privatization of education, but includes more social and humane issues that deserve more attention from the public.

It is also important to look at a different approach opposing Anti SAITM protestors and advocating private education which essentially normalize privatization of education as an inevitable development in the modern globalizing world and propagate that most developed countries have established private universities to broaden their systems of education. This viewpoint is shouldered by the middle and lower class stratas of society for varied reasons. A reason for the lower social classes to shoulder such views would be their ignorance of the matter and hand, and for which the student and political activist are largely to be blamed as their strategies have fallen short of creating public awareness of the issue they struggle for. However in addressing the argument of normality in privatizing education in a globalizing world; it needs to be noted that Non State Education is NOT necessarily Profit Education. For instance most globally renowned universities such as Oxford and Harvard may from nature be Non State Universities but do not operate on profit. On the contrary such universities are governed by a board of governors that oversee the welfare and development of the institute and reinvest their income for the same object. This system of non profit-non state university is in total contrast to the private university model to which SAITM belongs or is proposed by the government for the future. In the latter kind the driving factor of the university administrators would be profit which would aptly reduce them to the role of businessman; whereas in the former model of non profit-non state universities the administrators are more rather curators that work for and oversee the development of the institution.

The best illustration for the above argument is the amount of fees charges by SAITM from its studentship which was approximately 06 Million Rupees during the days of its establishment; and which had been doubled within a very short period approximating its present fee charges by students to 12 Million Rupees. And when one comes back to question the quality and standard of education provided for such an expensive investment- one would find many alleged complaints against its teaching staff for their lack of academic qualification and expertise. This in essence exposes the frailty of profit driven education which in essence would reduce education to a status symbol accessible only to a privileged few. The long term result of such a process would be reducing education into a commodity which would only be available to those who could afford it. Greater the importance of the qualification, higher the price would be. This needless to say would shut all doors of higher education to the less fortunate classes of society causing grave injustice to society. Therefore it is this cry of helplessness that one may find in the protesting student who has many a reason to worry of the impending danger that would maybe deprive his brother or sister about to enter higher education and in the long run our own future generations. 

Furthermore another criticism or in another sense a non-committal attitude is shown to the Anti SAITM protests by a segment of the social elite comprising of professionals, academics, acclaimed social activists and even medical professionals. Such antagonism and non-commitment is drawn from their criticism against the key players involved in the Anti SAITM protests, namely the IUSF and the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA). The criticism against the GMOA is based on their infamous past conduct of demanding luxury perks (vehicle permits and school admissions for their children) and going on strike for the same. The IUSF is also largely criticized for their involvement of ragging and other forms of student harassment. Yet, one needs to obviously question the stark difference of the said issues from the present one concerning SAITM. And hence would only wonder as to how and why the GMOA or the IUSF should be determining factors for individuals to form their own opinions on a given issue of social importance. In any case when taken as isolated issues Ragging and the legitimacy of GMOA past activism could be reasonably argued as unfair and unjust, but does that alone invalidate the remainder of the issues concerning privatization of education and its culmination in SAITM?

Regardless of all else the 05 student activists remanded and released have been socially labeled and branded as criminals or deviants for their commitment for a social cause. Our society consisting of the schools of thought discussed above have been quick in jumping into judgments against the said students and other activist who voice their concerns for the subject issue. Yet if one would take time to read history it would be interesting to find that many textbook inspirational characters have had to struggle to attain the very rights our society gladly cherish at present. If one would study the character of Mandela one would be surprised to find that he operated briefly as a bomb maker for the African National Congress and was arrested many a time resulting in a 27 year jail sentence. And with regard to Gandhi the famous salt march for the rights of the colonized people landed him in jail and the same fate ensued to Martin Luther King Jnr. for his activism in the civil disobedience movement.  Hence one could very well argue that all rights are results of struggle and disobedience and the same conditions would apply to the issue facing our own system and rights to education at present.

Therefore the ruggedly dressed university student who climbs on top of the cement lion in the Colpetty roundabout may seem like a deviant and a day dreamer letting his wildest imaginations run riot at the public expense. Yet, do stop for a moment and wonder for yourself, (if I were to adjust the lyrics of John Lennon- in his famous song ‘Imagine’,) he may be a dreamer, but not the only one  and perhaps some day if you listen to him and join him, the world and society could be a better place, Just Saying. 

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    As I heard, students are complete fraud. This is a fight between JVP and the new front progressive JVP. Dumb students are the pawns. This is where the govt needs to teach them that time is money and you delay your education, you have to pay intersts to the education loans you got and you delay your education means you delay getting a job, probably never beaucse you are a social outcast and a paraya. On the other hand, what the new politicians looking for are good living standards as members of the parliament, new duty free car permits, minister posts, living compltely subsidiezed, govt cars, smart phones, laptops, and free petrols, everything free for future thieves, three or more mansions for the family and a fat bank account if not for the extended family. ———————————- Otherwise, students are not wasting the money they earned. they are wasting money that poor people in the country earned. both the seasoned politicians nad the new gang are wasting those. What a way to live the life. This is why high way robbers are more respectable because, they are straight forward.

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      JS
      Were you not a student sometime in your life?

      • 0
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        The question here is not whether one was a student or not. Private university education deftinitely have problems. but, as I heard, there is private universities for every almost popular aspect of the education. there should be certain problems in medical education. It is for sure wealthy and Politicians as well as politicians chuildren will try to abuse it. the important thing is Sri lanka needs private education in order to advance the university education. The govt won’t be able to support all with public money. The problems need to be corrected AMPs are doctors in Sri lanka. Because it can be done. Some aspects of medical profession can be handled by software including remote consulting. Equipment are robotized and can be handled from far away. that is happening right now. Western doctors are available in the arab hospitals via the web.

        • 0
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          JS
          My comment referred to yours: “As I heard, students are complete fraud.”
          *
          Kindly avoid denouncing people a a group.

  • 2
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    “Regardless of all else the 05 student activists remanded and released have been socially labeled and branded as criminals or deviants for their commitment for a social cause. “
    Breaking and entering and damage to public property is a criminal offence and should be treated as such, whatever the cause.

  • 3
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    What justice was done to the students who obtained very good results with A’s and B’s and very high in the overall merit list but were penalized just because they were from good districts and good schools and denied admission to give their due place to the so called rural students with poor results even as low as three ordinary passes.

    Such students with excellent results and denied admission do also need justice. They were denied the natural justice to overlook them and select students with much lower results. It is these students who were selected to the state medical faculties from the ‘backdoor’ who are protesting and causing extreme inconvenience to the public.

    It is these cleaver students who were denied admission to state medical faculties have now come to SAITM. The students who at SAITM have got much better results than many in the state medical faculties.

    I suggest if SAITM was to be abolished then that is fine but District Basis of admission must also be abolished and previous ‘all island merit admission’ scheme must be reinstated.

    Further it is about free education we should also have free health care and due to private hospitals it well known that doctors have conflict if interests and see to it patients are purposefully inconvenienced with shortage of drugs, consultants keep away from their clinics and only the junior staff attends, long delays etc to make patient come private. So best to stop private practice for Government doctors and ensure good quality free health care without conflict of interests.

  • 0
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    Protests almost always result in some damage. The Charlottesville protest caused damage to protesters and counter protesters. Gnanasaro (May his Mr Universe muscles increase) caused damage when he led protesters into a ministry. In 1956, sathiagrahis were beaten up outside parliament.
    The main thing is the grievance behind the protests. In the SAITM issue, the protest is over the creation of elites out of Colombo filthy rich – new and old. A professional accountant, lawyer, engineer has to have the qualification recognized by the respective professional bodies. SAITM is not.
    Addressing the issue now is in the interest of preventing long term unrest in medical profession.

  • 3
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    I am very happy to hear that the govt is at last is moving ahead with the reforms promised some time ago.

    1Grant SAITM degree awarding status for MBBS
    2Set up not one but many more SAITMs as stated by Rajitha
    3Set up the fee paying SAARC medical school in SL
    4Set up fee paying universities similar to Berkeley and MIT as approved by cabinet recently
    5Set up 3 more tax payer funded medical faculties and strengthening public free education
    6Publish minimum standards for medical education and force private and govt medical schools to comply
    7Positioning SL as a hub in the Indian Ocean for higher education
    8Top end business school in the port city

    Full credit to Rajitha, S B and Kiriella for fighting with unruly elements when it comes to higher education reforms.

    Wish these were done when I was looking at Uni education many years ago !!

    Glad that future generations will reap the benefits .

  • 3
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    Man protesting in front of Raffles Station holding a placard, asking Singapore Prime Minister to resign over the controversy of his late father’s home was arrested, and the court sentenced him eight weeks in jail and fined S$. 20,000.

    • 0
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      The article is well-written and makes important points. But a key question that is being skirted by FUTA and academics protesting against SAITM is whether the state university system, the UGC and Ministry of Higher Education offer quality for the enormous money being spent? Has not that system, practically a monopoly, become pretentious and corrupt, while standards of scholarship tend to the fraudulent?

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        A Don
        If it is value for money, I would say that it is much better than in most countries.
        *
        If is about whether the right kind of graduates are produced in the right numbers and if the state has any plan to make universities socially more productive, I have reservations.
        Learning cannot not be only to gain knowledge. It should also be about putting what was learned to good use. The state, the institutions, industry and society as a whole have a role to play in this matter.
        *
        There is state monopoly of education in nearly all of Europe. Has anything gone wrong?
        A parasitic capitalist class (in collusion with foreign parasites) has arrived which is seeking profit in public health and education. It cannot deliver good education.

        • 0
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          SJ,
          You know well the abuses in selection of staff and the tendency to keep out well-qualified applicants that help to ensure low quality in the state-run university system. The problem is the culture of abuse. In countries where there are inbuilt checks against corruption within the state machinery, they should be able to maintain decent state universities. Here the university administrations are closely entwined with the state’s administration and when academics are themselves notably corrupt there is little prospect of independent checks.

          Someone has to run educational institutions. If there are no viable checks on state-run institutions, it becomes inevitable that the ‘parasitic capitalist class’ would step in.

          • 0
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            Irregularities do exist, but not systematic or on the scale suggested.
            Problems exist especially in subject areas where supply far exceeds demand.
            If the academics at home are lacking in competence, how come that the ‘private sector in education’ seeks their services in a visiting capacity or on some form of short term contract?
            *
            There is no state meddling with academic programmes in places where I have worked in this country. Sadly, the election of vice chancellors has an issue, and some who sermonize on morality too play dirty.
            There are fields of study where there are serious problems, not because of state meddling, and that has to be sorted out.
            As for standards, our graduates in major professional fields and even in some of the sciences are much sought after in many countries both in the East and West.
            *
            The private sector knows which side of the slice is buttered.
            In a corrupt society, when private sector takes money for a programme it cannot send a student out empty-handed.
            Before drawing conclusions, it will be useful to investigate a little about how cleanly our ‘private sector in education’ (including overseas investors) is functioning.

        • 1
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          Part I [Continues in Part II]
          SJ has written: Learning cannot not be only to gain knowledge. It should also be about putting what was learned to good use. The state, the institutions, industry and society as a whole have a role to play in this matter.

          Cannot not?

          Be that as it may, my point here is about the state, institutions, and society having a role to play. I totally agree. But what role are they playing? What example do they present to students?

          The UGC Chairman Mohan de Silva has sworn in many affidavits that when universities break the law, the UGC has no powers to do anything about it – when in fact one of the key objects of the UGC stated in the Universities Act is to regulate the administration of universities with ample powers of regulation. When the UGC ignores violations of the law by VCs, it loses the moral right to intervene when students turn violent.

          Further, it is well known in Jaffna that Prof. Sivasegaram has problems with Prof. Hoole and despite that he accepted to be on Prof. Hoole’s selection committee to judge his application for the post of Senior Lecturer in Electrical Engineering. Even as other members of the Council objected over the conflict of interest, SJ/Sivasegaram accepted the Council nomination to the Selection Committee. All the other members of the Selection Committee, except the then VC were SJ’s students, including Prof. Hoole’s student who is the Head of Electrical Engineering. SJ and the VC then proceeded to bully the others to sign off on the decision not to hire Prof. Hoole.

          • 0
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            Iconoclast
            Dr S has during his career clashed with almost everybody on academic matters. There has never been anything personal in any of the conflicts of opinion.
            As for Council matters it is improper to discuss them in public without approval.
            *
            Dr S may be thrilled to hear that his former students are such loyal devotees, as claimed by you.

        • 2
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          Part II [Continues from Part I]
          The reasons the Committee gave, they knew to be untrue. That is, 1) Prof. Hoole has not taught for many years and has no expertise to teach electrical engineering 2) He did not route his application through his employer in Michigan – again something they knew to be untrue because the UGC had already ruled that it applied only to state employees in Sri Lanka.

          SJ in effect teaches his students to be manipulative ignoring the interests of the institution they represent. He teaches junior staff to accept being bullied and thereby cultivates them into becoming bullies as they rise in seniority.

          This behavior by the UGC Chairman, and senior academics and council members is a terrible example for students. They are angered and frustrated by administrators who abuse authority without any shame. Is this not the reason why they take to violence when they see the norms of civil behavior and proper administration as mere tools in the hands of those like SJ?

          Was it not the leader of the Black Panthers who said that when the house of the slave master is being burnt down by rebel slaves, the slave of the slave master would say “Burn it down brother, burn it down,” even though it is his own house.

          We need to understand the psychology of this to solve the problem of student violence. We need private universities so that 1) Oppressed staff can refuse to be bullied and seek alternative employment where the seniors in the state system have less influence to call up and say “Do not hire him.” 2) As the old adage about even the spinach shop needing a competitor, students must be able to compare the products of state and private universities and choose with knowledge.

          • 0
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            Part II by I*********
            I cannot refer to Council documents even to refute utter distortions.
            *
            I wonder if the offended party took the matter up with the USAB.
            If so what was the outcome?

            • 0
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              The USAB saga is ongoing.

              One Sivasegaram does not allow anyone to speak at the Council by shouting at anyone with a view different to his. In the one meeting he was absent, last month, we decided to reverse the rejection and continue processing Prof. Hoole’s application. Now Dean Atputharajah has been stalling in giving the VC the nominees for the Selection Committee trying to delay matters till Prof. Hoole turns 65.

              Sivasegaram continues his abusive behavior. The last Council’s minutes begin with his usual abuse by claiming the new VC’s appointment is improper and that the professor who came first in the vote should have been appointed.

              Surely he knows the Universities Act. No one can work with this man.

              • 1
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                S&T
                I can see from your comments that you are sick.
                Can someone help you?

                • 0
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                  S&T
                  “In the one meeting he was absent, last month, we decided to reverse the rejection and continue processing Prof. Hoole’s application.”
                  *
                  I wonder who the “we” refers to!
                  Is S&T one within the august body or one manipulating from without?

  • 1
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    “Accordingly one major argument against the ANTI SAITM protests has been constructed on the basis that broadening of education in necessarily a positive development and any opposition against the same are drawn with sheer hate and jealousy of a selected few. This argument mostly stem from the middle class citizenry that demonize university students as chaotic and unproductive who are driven by a shared sense of jealousy and hatred against the rest of society and their avenues for education”

    Well written article.I have this comment to make, and I make this as an University student .decades ago.

    Given the choice I would advise all parents to seek education for their progeny in Private, so called international schools.There are short comings in these schools, but one thing is certain, there is a degree of discipline and further more they re educated in the English language, making them capable of seeking employment at any place in the world without wasting their time in front of the Fort railway station.

    Secondly they do not have to face the demons that go as SENIORS at the State universities.If you wish to attend lecture you do so at the Private educational institutions, nobody can command you to keep away.The State Universities is a waste of tax payers money.It is high tome that the free education is treated as a loan and the students after they pass out or fail out, are forced to pay back the loans and the you do not produce monkeys braying away at Public platforms.

    The question arise, if the system that existed when we entered the universities exist today, ie based on ones performance, how many of these present day Medical students will enter the universities and how many of them had proxies to sit on their behalf at the UE exam?

  • 1
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    The state system’s University of Jaffna website page for engineering staff has this: “Eng. M. Vignarajah … has taughted in the Faculty of Engineering (University of Peradeniya), … etc. “

    This passage has been highlighted in Colombo Telegraph. Those commenting have laughed over it, sarcastically referring to having caughted something.

    SJ has also commented on the articles. He is, I am told, a teacher at Jaffna’s engineering and a member of the Jaffna University Council. Yet, the reference to taughted has remained for months as we all wonder.. Even if the Jaffna engineering administrators do not read, they surely have friends who do and would have alerted them to the faculty becoming laughing stock. Surely SJ could have had that changed.

    This lack of care for the university’s image shows the quality of people teaching in the state system. It also shows they are out of touch with the world and care little for the university – in a normal institution when such mistakes are made bringing the university to ridicule, administrators caring for the image of the institution would have moved immediately to correct taughted to taught. It has not happened as the world wonders about the quality of products where the teachers and administrators are so lazy that they will not move to correct such awful image projecting language on their official website.

    It shows the ability of the state system to deliver – or really its inability to deliver.

    I am an engineer who will not hire the teachers who write about taughted and caughted. What chance do such teachers’ students have in the real world?

    • 1
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      The problem of language skill is not unique to a particular university.
      English is not the first language of a vast majority and very few speak English at home.
      Teaching/learning of English has been mostly ignored in schools since the focus is on scoring at examinations.
      I have worked with brilliant East Asians who make serious grammatical mistakes in English. But they perform very well.
      *
      What matters most is if the lecturer knows his stuff and delivers it correctly (despite grammar and spelling issues).
      Kindly do not make issues personal, as no individual can be held responsible for every little flaw in a system.
      One can only try a best as one can.
      Check on what is delivered.

      • 2
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        Thank You SJ for some valid points made.

        It can be quite surreal for our native speakers of Sinhala and Tamil to laugh at each others ‘English mistakes’.

        Better we help each other to understand the universal language we need to master in order to progress in our chosen field of study.

      • 0
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        It is not their first language is not a good excuse. If you accept English as the medium of instruction in an institution / discipline, then staff have to aspire to be fluent in English. Where they are not, they should make an effort. The University should create opportunities (such as staff development programmes) to help them improve. “I know a guy whose Maths is better than his Chinese” is a poor distraction.

        • 0
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          N
          It is not their first language is not an excuse but an explanation. There is also the problem of lack of proper exposure to English until entering university.
          Fluency in anything is in contextual. As long as delivery is effective one can overlook minor weaknesses.

          • 0
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            Thanks. But is there a willingness to work on improving the situation (e.g. one could motivate students and staff to work on improving their English, one could even push staff a little by introducing staff development schemes etc.) or is the current level of English competence considered adequate by senior people in the system? Is it simply a matter of resources — I can appreciate that with severe shortage of staff to teach, people may not have time to work on their English– but is your understanding that this is the issue, or is there an underlying attitude factor (we know best, our history is 2000 years old / whatever we say, and however we say it, the students have to copy down notes anyway)?

            • 0
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              N
              Teaching is not a one-way street. What drives the teacher and what drives the student are not the same.
              There are staff development programmes now in all universities. How effective they are is another matter.
              In marking tutorials, assignments and reports several academics go out of their way to correct spelling and grammar, handling of symbols and numbers etc.
              It has helped some very fast, others had their own pace of learning.
              One cannot ram things like language and communication down anybody’s throat, one could, however, repeatedly emphasize the importance of things.
              *
              Personally, I am tolerant towards a good variety of errors and would avoid penalizing them especially in examinations.
              I do not know where you got your ideas about attitude towards notes. Some of us give minimal notes and, if the notes are extensive, talk outside the notes. Talk to Peradeniya Engineering graduates if you have doubts.
              *
              I think that students’ assessment of the teachers should count for purposes of promotion.
              I also think that if a student has mastered his/her mother tongue, mastering another language is relatively easy, but takes time, especially with English with its burden of irregularities.

              • 1
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                Yes, I have heard good things about Peradeniya Engineering. But there are a dozen universities in SL with half a dozen faculties in each. Significant fraction of the curriculum in these places is supposedly in the English medium. Are there systematic efforts — by planners and managers — to improve standards of English of staff teaching there? If not why not? One can list a number of reasons/explanations/excuses (no exposure pre-university, irregularities in English itself etc.), I myself think resource is a serious issue, but my question is “is there a fundamental attitude problem [we know best / our language is 2000 years old / students will copy the notes anyway etc.]?” Maybe Peradeniya Engineering was great once upon a time, but quoting that is not particularly helpful in understanding the present state of our universities.

    • 1
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      “Eng. M. Vignarajah”
      Does the system in Sri Lanka allow the use of “Eng” as a title to sit in front of ones name? Engineers in the UK/USA do not do this. I know German and Dutch systems do this, but not what we in Sri Lanka practice. We have never heard of Eng. Thurairajah, Eng. Hoole or Eng. Sivasegaram, have we?
      Perhaps such irregularities should be catched before they get taughted to the next generation.

      • 0
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        “We have never heard of Eng. Thurairajah, “
        But surely you have heard of Lady Dr. Sicille kotelawala and Dr. Vermin Silva?

      • 0
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        All Chartered Members of the Institution of Engineers (Sr Lanka) are encouraged to use the title Eng. by the IESL.
        That is not a bad thing, and the title is used mostly in a professional context.
        Thus people are often referred to as Eng. Prof. xxxx, Eng. Dr. xxxx, Eng. xxxx etc. by the IESL and by other members.

  • 0
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    SAITM protests are there because Students who do not have money right now are jealous that SAITM owners earn money. BUT, I here, GMOA doctors are those whould not go overseas but they earn money and they are wealthy using the opportunity because they are the kings now. Another point is those doctors want to earn money out of weak SAITM students.

  • 0
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    “On the contrary the purchaser of education would only expect a certificate qualification and entry into a profession in return to the financial investment he/she makes. This needless to say deteriorates the standard and quality of education and especially in fields of greater social importance such as medicine and law the resultant drop of quality”
    This is totally without foundation. SAITM itself, and the nearby SLIIT, have courses in IT and Management. They produce very employable graduates, some of whom go on to affiliated foreign universities. As far as I know, these students are better at their jobs than the State products, who are usually pretty poor in English among other things.
    I really don’t see why SAITM should not be given a chance to do the same with Medicine. As to those who talk about quality, perhaps they conveniently forget the Professor who was sued successfully for malpractice.
    If private medical education should be banned, then ban private practice for government doctors too. Now, THAT would be fair.

    • 0
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      OC
      If only the government will invest more on medical education to produce more doctors and many more paramedics and other medical support staff and expand hospital facilities, there will be very little demand for private medicine.
      What we need is more community and preventive medicine.
      .
      Frankly, an army of ‘Barefoot Doctors” (something like what China did during the Cultural Revolution but to suit our needs) for the villages will relieve the government of much of its financial burden from the health sector. The private hospitals will not like it, though.

      • 0
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        S.J,
        “Frankly, an army of ‘Barefoot Doctors” (something like what China did during the Cultural Revolution but to suit our needs)”
        Yes, I think that would be great. But I can imagine the ruckus that the GMOA would create about “unqualified” practitioners. They did the same with the RMP’s and the nurses.
        Most doctors spend 80% of their time doling out antibiotics and painkillers. Do we really need to educate all of them to be capable of heart surgery? That is somewhat like requiring every electrician to have a degree.

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          OC
          I agree that there is much to criticize about the medical profession. I have had a few bad experiences myself. Then I also see highly professional doctors.
          The flaws are not entirely the making of the medical profession.
          Corruption of medical ethics started with allowing private practice since 1978.
          Social attitude to medicine has changed alongside consumerism.
          *
          We should look at issues based on their own merit.
          The fact that the GMOA takes up a given position is incidental.
          UTHR has not been consistent in its stand on certain issues, but one supports a struggle launched by it when it is right, despite reservations about the conduct of many academics.

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    The point is not that the website says taughted.

    It is that it continues to say taughted for several months after it was pointed out.

    Normal people would immediately correct it to spare the system the shame.

    Sivasegaram does not care and insists on hiding the pumpkin on a plate of rice.

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      I have not seen it and it would have been proper for the first ‘normal’ person who spotted it to bring it to the attention of the website concerned.
      *
      BTW, is it Sivasegaram’s website by any chance?

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