26 October, 2020

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University Academics’ Struggle: For What?

By Chandika Gunasinghe –

Chandika Gunasinghe

Education brings a broad range of benefits not only for the individuals but also for the society as a whole. Public expenditure on education is considered a worthy human capital investment for a country since it brings immense social and economic benefits. Empirical studies consistently demonstrate that future economic development is largely determined by the level of knowledge and skills of a labour force of a country. With the emergence of a new era in the 21st century, the knowledge economy and rapid technological change have given a leading role for human capital as the main driving force of modern economic development. Thus, there is an ever-increasing demand nationally and internationally for highly skilled and adoptable workers in the labour market. In this context, it is crystal clear that many countries (developed, industrial and developing countries) of the world have given a top priority for the development of human capital in their development agendas. The development of human capital of an individual is mainly determined by both inborn and environmental factors, which can be influenced positively mainly through maintaining a concrete public education policy (on primary, secondary and tertiary education). Other expected economic benefits of public investment in education include both individual and societal economic benefits. Improved employability, improved economic welfare, improved productivity and performance, and reduced inequality and poverty are among the most exceptional economic benefits of public investment in education.

The major social benefits of public investment in education include; the production of enlightened citizens to assure a well-functioning liberal democracy and an increased civic participation; formation of economic equity and social mobility; production of a knowledgeable, skilled and healthy workforce; production of disciplinary citizens for a low-violent cohesive society; and the creation of avenues for higher rates of innovation through research and development. A Nobel price awarded economist, Milton Friedman once noted that “the education of my child contributes to other people’s welfare by promoting a stable and democratic society”.

All these factors sternly emphasize that investing in public education is extremely far more cost-effective (economically and socially) for a nation than paying for the social and economic consequences of an ill-visionary, under-funded and low quality education system.

UNESCO concession regarding public allocation for education states that;

“Member States should allocate at least 6 per cent of the Member States’ Gross National Product (GNP) in education and an equitable share of the education budget to adult education”. (CONFINTEA V, page 9)

However, the Minister of Higher Education emphasized in the Parliament that Sri Lanka is nearing to the UNESCO benchmark when added the expenditure incurred by the parents for private and government education services such as tuition fees for private lessons, transport charges for schooling, exercise books and stationery costs, course fees (higher education), course fees for vocational training, fees for school uniforms, school facility fees, school development fund etc to the government share amounting to 2.2 % of GNP. Given the situation that the government is not prepared to increase budgetary allocation on public education, does this mean that the Minister expects parents to reach the UNESCO benchmark by spending more and more on the items listed above or otherwise sending their children to international colleges and private universities?

There is a well-known premise.  It says “education is a public good, a right of everyone, and a duty of the State”. This premise stresses that the provision of a quality education for all is a duty of the State and education is not a negotiable good although it is provided by private entities.

The UNESCO agreement for the allocation 6% of GDP on education emphasizes the leading role of governments to reach the benchmark. These are examples for the above point:

“The Ministers of Education stated that developing country governments will continue to increase the proportion of national budgets allocated to education, seeking to reach 4%-6% of GNP for education.” (Sixth Meeting of the High Level Group on Education for All (EFA) – Nov. 2006,Cairo)

“Ministers of Education recommended that National and local governments should mobilize sufficient domestic resources in accordance with indicative standards (~6% of GNI / 15-20% of government budget) in allocations to education, with a prioritization of basic education (>3% of GNI / 10% of government budget).” (Seventh Meeting of the High-Level Group on (EFA) –Dec. 2007,Dakar)

“Ministers of Education urgently call on national governments to allocate adequate domestic resources (4-6% of GNP/15-20% of public expenditure) to education…” (Eighth meeting of the High-Level Group on EFA – The Oslo Declaration, Dec.2008,Oslo)

“Ministers of Education called upon national governments to reinforce their determination to increase the current level of domestic spending to education to at least 6 percent of GNP and/or 20 percent of public expenditure.”  (Ninth Meeting of the High-Level Group on EFA –Feb. 2010,Addis Ababa)

There is even a separate unit at the Ministry of Education to implement this “Education for All” policy of the UNESCO.  Did the Minister of Education or any responsible person from the Ministry of Education attend the above meetings?  If they attended, they should be very aware of the role of the government in allocation of more resources (6% of GDP) on education. If so, the Minister of Higher education could be known what the UNESCO definition of 6% of GDP for education is about.

In this context, this article aims at finding answers for the following two questions.

How far isSri Lankafrom this UNESCO benchmark?

Why shouldSri Lankaimplement this concession?

The case of Sri Lanka

A critical self evaluation is essential for the government to change its current stand point to the education (including higher education) policy ofSri Lanka. One can observe that there is an enormous contradiction between what is stated in the education policy and what is being implemented.  For example, the government has planned to makeSri Lanka“the knowledge hub inAsia” as one frontier of her development strategies in the Mahinda Chinthana Policy.  No doubt this is a plausible policy selection on the part of the government. However, the government itself seems to be quiet unaware of what is in the Mahinda Chinthana Policy.  This unawareness has become crystal clear by the irresponsible manner the government has responded to the academic community on their demands to allocate more resources for the education sector so that it is well equipped to develop the stock of human capital of the country. It seems that the government does not possess a workable plan to achieve that invaluable vision in the Mahinda Chinthana Policy. This implies that the government has been unable to find answers to the severe problems faced by the education and university education systems inSri Lanka. The government needs to allocate more resources and find solutions for the severe problems in the education sector (both school and university education) if it really wants to address the development challenges ahead our nation in the future.

Continuous reductions of the proportions allocated to public education from the government budget have become the root cause of many problems. This reduced budgetary allocation for public education is reflected in a declining trend of public education spending as a percentage of gross domestic products (Table 1). Public education spending as a percentage of gross domestic products (GDP) gives an indication of how a country prioritizes education in relation to its overall allocation of resources. This further implies that how a country assesses its education policy in achieving its development potentials. This includes spending on primary, secondary and tertiary education and other public institutions involved in delivering or supporting educational services. UNESCO definition of this is as following;

“Public expenditure on education consists of current and capital public expenditure on education includes government spending on educational institutions (both public and private), education administration as well as subsidies for private entities (students/households and other privates entities)”.

According to Table 1, public education spending as a percentage of GDP has fallen from 2.9 % of GDP in 2005 to 1.86 % of GDP in 2011. According to the Minister of Higher Education, the deterioration of the ratio of public education spending to the GDP was due to the increase of the value of the denominator, GDP, faster than the increase of the value of the numerator, public education spending. Mathematically, there is a rational in this point. However, the reality is completely different from what the Minister has interpreted. As mentioned before this declining trend was mainly due to continuous reduction of the percentage of budgetary allocation for the public education sector noticeably since 2005 (see Table 2 given below). It further implies that the relative value given for the public education sector in the total government expenditures has gradually been reduced. Hence, as a result, the portion belonging to the public education sector in the government’s proportion of the GDP (this is measured as a ratio of total government spending to GDP of the country) has been declined. Because of this reason, it is obvious why public education spending as a percentage of GDP shows a declining trend since 2005.

During critical time of the war period from 2005 to 2009, many people did not oppose to the government to allocate a high percentage of GDP (about 3.7 % of GDP on average) to defence sector of our country as it was the first and foremost priority at that time. However, after the war, the first and foremost priority has become to develop the country. To achieve this goal, it is imperative to invest in education to develop the human capital of the nation. However, the data in Table 1 show that the government still gives its priority for the defence spending rather than investing in education. The defence expenditures are close to the double of the expenditures on public education even after the war period.

The data in Table 1 very clearly shows that the priority given by the government for education has been not only low but also it has been continuously reduced for other priorities especially since 2005. This ill-treated education policy of the government will make huge social and economic costs to the nation in the long run. This further implies that public spending in education on skills development inSri Lankahas been losing out to other priorities at an era where the economic and social importance of human capital is growing very rapidly. Every citizen should be aware of this ill-treatment for education and should influence the authorities to take corrective measures without further delay.

The government justifies even these allocation stating that the amount allocated for education has been increased (even doubled) in each year since 2005. It should be noted that an absolute increase of allocation for education this year compared to the previous year does not necessarily indicate that the government gives priority for education. This is because that the nominal (absolute) value of that allocation is inflected with the time due to increase of price levels or inputs employed or both. On the other hand, it is general knowledge that a service which was provided in the last year cannot be provided this year for the same cost due to the increase of the price levels of the inputs attached to the said service. This is true for any kind of economic good or a service. Hence, to take an idea of how the government gives priority for education, it is essential to compare that allocation with the overall value of the GDP as nominal value of all the items included in the GDP too increase over time. When comparing these two figures, it is obvious that public education spending as a percentage of GDP declines over the period concerned. As noted before, this is mainly due to continuous reduction of the proportion allocated from total government spending on education. On the other hand, it further implies a continuous decline of the “real value” of the budgetary allocation as the price effects are canceled out when dividing two nominal variables. Hence, it is very clear that an increase of allocation in absolute terms (such as 20,000 million LKR for last year, 25,000 million LKR for this year and so on) does not provide a meaningful elucidation of how the government has given priority for the education sector. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to take all the efforts at any cost to turn this speedily declining priority given for the public education sector by the present government.

The data of Table 1 clearly show that the government has been unable to identify the crucial role that the education could play in achieving country’s future development potentials. That is why the public education spending as a percentage of total government expenditure has been cut dramatically from 10.81% of total government expenditure in 2006 to 8.58% in 2011. Similarly, spending on university education as a percentage of total government expenditure has also been cut dramatically from 1.8 % in 2006 to 1.21 % of total government expenditure in 2011. The most unbelievable fact is that the government has cut this allocation when there are severe unsolved problems in the education system in the country. Only in the higher education system, there are many problems such as recruiting and retaining problems of young academics, high level of brain-drain, insufficient fund allocation for research and development, professional development problems etc. Instead of reducing resources for education, the government could have increased investment in education annually to acquire the skills and competencies needed for modern knowledge economy and technology based economic processes. Low investment in education badly affects the nation’s ability to develop the stock of capital assets and spaces of modern education and the nation’s ability to employ quality processes, which in turn extremely negatively affect the development of human capital of the country. A World Bank report published in 2011 on “Transforming School Education inSri Lankafrom Cut Stones to Polished Jewels” (page 32) stresses that;

“Under-investment in the capital education budget means that the ability of the country to develop a stock of modern education assets and spaces, such as classrooms adapted to the use of technology, IT laboratories, libraries, science laboratories, language laboratories, activity rooms, multi-purpose rooms, IT and science equipment, and teaching-learning material, is severely constrained. In addition, there are about 1,700 schools (around 18 percent of schools) without basic facilities such as drinking water and approximately 1,200 schools (around 12 percent of schools) without sanitation, and the ability of the country to supply adequate basic facilities is restricted. Overall, the ability of the education system to deliver a high quality education experience for school children is tightly constrained by the relatively low level of public investment in education”.

The World Bank report (page 15) further states that;

“In particular, out of 2640 senior secondary schools only about 800 (30 percent) offer the Bilingual Education program, where students can study subjects in the English medium. Only 690 schools (29 percent) offer the GCE A/L science stream. And among these 690 schools, only about 200 schools are able to prepare students for engineering and medical programs at university level. These good quality schools are all located in or near a few large cities and towns”.

These factors reiterate that resource limitations as well as the wider inequality in the distribution of existing resources in education sector can be eliminated only by increasing more public allocation. Without such a strong intervention, the ill-treated schools located in the peripheries cannot be upgraded and as a result children of these areas will lost the right to access for equal opportunities which were expected to assure in the free education policy.

An international comparison on investment in education

The Table 3 shows that the lowest percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) is allocated to education (school and university education) inSri Lankaas compared to other selected nations inSouth AsiaandSoutheast Asia.

According to Table 3, it is very clear thatSri Lankahas been able to achieve a high adult (% persons aged 15 and above) literacy rate (around 91%), thanks to the free education policy introduced by Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara and adopted by every successive governments since 1949. The literacy level is of vital importance for the development of a country. However, having a high literacy rate does not mean that our labour force is well-educated and well-equipped with required skills and competencies needed to the modern knowledge economy and technological based production process.  This is mainly because that the adult literacy rate merely measures the percentage of persons who can “read and write” a given statement correctly. Hence, the adult literacy rate does not give an indication that our public investment in education is sufficient for the development of human capital in the country. However, unfortunately, policy planners in the education sector and those who serve as advisers (so called “academics”) to the government have been unable to implement a visionary education policy that aims at developing the stock of human capital to meet future development challenges ahead our nation. Instead, sadly, they are providing wrong directives to “cut public expenditure on skills formation” for other priorities at a time when the economic importance of human capital is growing very rapidly. This wrong directive could be due to either misunderstanding of the simple meaning of the “adult literacy rate” or irresponsibility on the part of the government on its education policy. For example, as the adult literacy rate of Sri Lanka is considerably higher than that of other South Asian countries authorities might have thought that it would be sufficient for Sri Lanka to allocate a low proportion of the GDP to achieve the remaining 9% of adult literacy rate but it would be good for other countries to allocate relatively high percentage of the GDP for education as their literacy rates are comparatively low (Tab1e 3). However, this logic becomes utterly futile when public investment inMaldivesand Southeast Asian countries and their adult literacy levels are concerned.

Another argument of the authorities is that the current public investment in education is sufficient because the government sector as a percentage of GDP inSri Lankais low. It is true that as a result of extremely poor policy decisions taken by all the governments (including this government as well) since 1977, the total government income and expenditure as a percentage of GDP at present are around 14% and 22%, respectively.  The financial management of the present government is very poor. The government neither shows a genuine commitment to increase its total income nor does it show a good performance of the effective management of its expenditures. There are ample evidences of poor financial and economic management of the government. However, the objective of this article is not to explore those things.

Many countries in the world (includingSri Lanka) follow a deficit-budgetary policy as the major macroeconomic principle. Therefore, efficient and effective allocation of total government spending is of vital importance to maintain a sustainable budget deficit. However, unfortunately, it seems that the present government is unaware of these macro economic principles. The economic meaning of the total government spending is abut the total expenditure incurred by the government to purchase good and services in the country. The government’s proportion of GDP is called the economic size of the government. This is obtained by dividing total government expenditure from GDP. According to the data in Table 3, as noted before, the economic size of the government ofSri Lankais around 22% of GDP. The governments which follow a deficit-budgetary policy (includingSri Lanka) allocate resources among priorities based on its total expenditure not on the total income. However, the Minister of Higher Education noted at the Parliament that the government is not in a position to allocate more resources on education from its total income which is currently around 14% of GDP. This is not true because university academics are demanding to increase allocation on education from government’s total expenditure which is at present around 22% of GDP. In what condition does the Minister of Higher Education justify 1.86% allocation for education from 22% of GDP? Furthermore, the economic sizes of governments such asNepal, Pakistan Bangladesh andThailandare lower than that ofSri Lanka. However, at the same time these countries have invested (are still investing) more on education thanSri Lanka(Table 3). Hence, the second argument is invalid and irrational.

Before concluding the discussion, it is good to refer to the page 28 of the above World Bank report. It further reveals that the public investment in education inSri Lankais comparatively insufficient;

“Education expenditure as a percentage of GDP is 1.9 percent and as a proportion of the government budget is 7.3 percent. This is the smallest share of public investment in education among a cluster of countries that share common features withSri Lanka. Public investment in education inSri Lankafalls below the level of East Asian countries and of South Asian nations”.

To sum up, it is very clear that that the government’s perspective on the public education policy of the country cannot be expected to contribute to make a huge leap from the existing situation to a new era where the development of human capital will be the main driving force of economic development. Foundations for the human capital are established at school education. That is the quality school education determines the capabilities of students who enter into; the higher education sector, the vocational and technical training sector, and directly to the labor market at various stages. Therefore productivity of these employees and workers are determined by the quality of school education, which in turn affects the development of the economy.

It is well known that many schools in our country do not have sufficient human and physical resources as clearly identified by the World Bank report to provide a quality education  for students to perform well in their studies. If the government is really fair and egalitarian and want to develop the skills and competencies needed for modern knowledge economy and technology based economic processes, it should strengthen the human and physical capacity of schools located specially in the peripheries. To achieve this goal a considerable percentage of government’s budget should be allocated to education. It is true that the government cannot increase 6% of GDP for education in one or two years when compared to its current allocation of 1.86 % GDP. However, the government needs to show its commitment to restore the amount (around 11% of total government expenditure or 2.9% of GDP) allocated for education in 2005 for 2013 and then should increase allocations gradually for the coming years as suggested by academics.

In this context, university academics’ demands are absolutely for a decided journey towards a better future of the nation. As long as the government is incapable of giving high priority for education, it will be a major stumbling block inSri Lanka’s expectation to become a high income country in the future and as a result our country will definitely be in a low position in the development ladder. This is mainly because that the human capital of a country is the bedrock of its economy that determines skill-intensive and innovation-led growth. On the other hand, there will be many issues in relation to the destruction of the social fabric of our country. Can any one say that the poor attention to the development of a quality school education system does not affect (directly or indirectly) the increasing trend of crimes in the society?

*Chandika Gunasinghe; Lecturer in Economics, Department of Economics,Universityof Ruhuna

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Latest comments

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    You also can behave like Nirmal infront of Pro.Nalinda Silva as a rabid. Do it and win

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    First, These university lectures do not do their work properly.I take example Chandika Gunasinghe; Lecturer in Economics, Department of Economics,Universityof Ruhuna. I looked his profile in the web (http://www.ruh.ac.lk/Uni/hss/economics/staff/ac_staff.htm). Don’t get angry with me. His education qualifications are not bad. Universities are places of creation new knowledge and application of knowledge for betterment of the society. Hence, I search for his research. Research is contribution for existing knowledge, creation of new knowlege. He has good research interest. However, there are no research publication details. Then I google. He has one research publication in one reffered journal. It is not a well reputed and ranked journal such as SSCI indexed, ASB-UK rank or ABSD ranking lists. Most of other lecturers or professors are also same and no research. Scocial Science Research does not need much capital, professors can gauide their students to collect data. Why these professors do not do research? They are doing AL classes, teaching private degree offering companies, doing farming or buying and selling business. They don’t have time to do research. It means that they don’t gain new knowledge. Because, they do not reffer journal articles. Some of professors use their note which are used 10 years ago. I can write many things. There are people who went university education, know these idiots works and favourisums. UGC has to do many things to change this old system. First, change the recruitment scheme; recruit PhD-holders (Pakistan HEC gives job and research fund to all PhD graduate return from abroad) and give priority to people who has research background. Second, UGC consider to recruit master degree-holders with research thesis. Last, university goes to their graduate students. This system can cut favourisums. Next, UGC has to introduce journal list for research publications (Such as SCI, SSCI journals or USB-Uk or ABSD – Australia) and salary increments and promosion should be based on performance such as research publications, patents, involment of international projects.
    According to the size of Sri Lankan populations, country needs 40 universities. Government only can not investment in heigher education. Government has other piorities such as health, school education, insfastructure development and security. Private and foreign universities can fill this gap. Ministry of heigher education has right to introduce proper law and regulations for non-state universities. All non-state universities are approved with 3 or 4 faculties with human and physical resources. Further, there should be monitoring body (such as UGC) for non-state universities. Further, understandard private degree offering institution should be close down.
    Many Sri Lankan belives just increasing money allocation for heigher education would not help for developing Sri Lanka education. Government has done a good step for promote heigher education in foreign countries through giving scholarships to foreign students. Japan did it past and China is doing right now. If Sri Lanka develop its heigher education system, country can save foreign currency outflow and earn foreign exchange. Singapore and Australia are earning money exporting education. Sri Lanka has great potentail, because Sri Lanka can attract Indian, Pakistan and Bangladesh student to Sri Lanka and prevent our student go for heigher studies in these countries.

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    I would like to ask the writer how many of these countries give free education like in Sri Lanka? Majority of these countries charge for the education from Pre-School to University. Few countries subsidize the educational expenditure. It is therefore easy for those countries to spend 6% or more for the education.

    But in Sri Lanka where the education is 100% free, without any income derived from education it is impossible for a country like Sri Lanka to provide 6% for education unless they make at least the higher education fee levying. Those who want more money do not even allow to set up fee levying private Universities for the Government to raise more funds for the higher education.

    The FUTA is on a political agenda of JVP who is trying to sabotage the education of this country and know very well that their demand cannot be met. These elements in the FUTA should be taken to task and sacked from the service without pension.

    The writer has forgotten that Sri Lanka had a war for thirty years and that the Government had to allocate the highest amount for Defense and still has to maintain that until the threat to the country is completely eradicated.

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      Still harping on that war victory, eh?

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      I think opposition to private ducation is wrong. But other than that, we should understand that whatever achivements our country has made are due to free health and free education. In that regard the current allocation is not enough. It is easy to find excuses such as the war etc but we are falling behind the rest of the world in terms of these. So we should try to at least think of a way to address this without squandering money on useless publicity stunts etc.

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    Dear Sun,
    It seems that you have a little awareness about the university system. However, it is also evident from your comment that you have never been to a university even for a rain. Had you ever been to a university you would not have tried to generalize to the entire academia from just one or few incidents. Of course there are people who do not do their duties properly and it is applicable to universities too. However, you are very correct in doing a google search to find one’s academic work as now no one in the academia can hide without doing their work properly. I encourage the general public and university students to carry out more and more google search on their teachers and piblizise and get them to work. But keep in mind that there are majority of university dons who do their duties with lot of hardships also without a decent salary. Do you think that only the drug dealers and corrupt polititians should have a decent lifestyle? On the other hand reputed journal do not publish articles if you cannot make payments? This is why they ask to allocate more funds to universities. Furthermore, I totally disagree with your statement that social science research do not require much capital. This statement further indicates that you have never been to a university. Finally I wish that you will have an opportunity to pay a visit to a university in your life time!!

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      I don’t want to disclose whether I went to university in Sri Lanka. Readers will decide who gives better point with broad mind. Most of academic (Social Science including Management) in Sri Lankan Universities haven’t publish research papers in reputed indexed journals (such as SSCI, SCI). There are many well reputed journals they publish research papers without charing single rupee (Eg, Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Asian Business & Management ect). You seems a university teacher. However, it is sad you do not know these journals. If you know how to use google you can find good journals which do not charge money for publication. Most SCI indexed journals does not charge any money. Social science research are not very costly compared to natural or life Sciences research. Because, natural sciences needs labory and expensive equipments. At present government give you allowances for research and you can apply for annual research funds from your university. Further, there are non-profit organizations provide research funds for social science research. I asked to all acedemics in faculties of Management and Art, publish detail profiles in their university website such as university teachers in US, UK, Germany, China and Japan. Further, everyone should be noted, government only can not increase funds for university education. In this juncture, private investment are needed for heigher education. Government role is provide required rules, regulation and insfrastrue for private/ non government universities. Government has open new universit for vocational education and going to build national school of management(NSM). We wish NSM may be equalent to Singapore Management University and it will provide subsidize heigher educations for all Sri Lankan. Heigher Education Ministry has approved SAITM (Malabe Private University) and some of Sri Lankan university teacher are teaching in SAITM. Present government has understand current world trends. JVP and FUTA are main obstracals for heigher education development in Sri Lanka.

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    These (two comments’) guys are similar to terrorists. They are the peoples who tried to divide the motherland. Now they are crying!!!!!!!!

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    Now government should recheck qualifications of Sri Lankan University professors. You will find more than 70% do not have PhDs and those who have PhDs they got from the Institutes and countries no one wants to go for education.

    More than 89% of professors do not have any single publications in ISI level international indexed journals. The recent trend in professor appointment is PhD from top ranking universities (some time western accredited and ranking….) and minimum 10 publications in Scopus, ISI and ERA level index journals during the last 03 years.

    Now you see most Sri Lankan profs are fake not the real ones.

    Some Dept are family trees. Grand father Emiritus, son haed, uncle profs, sons friends Lecturers, daughter lecturer…etc. Colombo University Arts faculty one Dept example.

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      If you want better staff, better salaries should be paid. You cant have your cake and eat it too!!!

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    One writer uses US, UK, Japan to compare the research performance (outcomes) of Sri Lankan academics while neglecting to compare the salaries and other benefits (input) provided to them. Better comparison is comparing the output/input ratio. Then he may realize as to why many Sri Lankan academics do not have SSCI and CCI. Even in UK, USA or Australia, many academics do not publish in top ranking journals. Some are simply engage in teaching. The researches of many universities are done by the professors whose job is ‘researching’. Here in Sri Lanka, academics are informed that “you need to do research out of office hours”.

    This poor person think there is no cost of collecting data. Sri Lankan academics have spent their salaries to do their research for years and they can’t afford the same now due to the rising cost of living. He writes about research funds available in universities and some other places. I am not sure whether he writes about Sri Lanka or some other country. He also has forgotten research is not only data, but also existing knowledge. Does Sri Lankan Universities provide at least SAGE and Science Direct? Without reading what is published now, it is unlikely one can go for SSCI and CCI.

    Finally, if FUTA asked what it asks today ten years ago, you may able to see a large number of Sri Lankan academics’ researches in top ranking journals. Because hundreds of lecturers who can publish in such journals have left the country during this period. These academics who have left this country are the ones who contribute to the research profile of Mr. Sun’s ‘ideal’ universities. So, Mr. Sun, if you don’t want to write the same comments in 2022, stand with FUTA!

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    This correspondence was very entertaining – U of Colombo Physics dept is another rogues gallery – awarding classes to their favourites shutting out promising students – the malpractices within the dept send a chill through ones spine. Examiners give marks on whims and fancies and a second examiner endorses it by placing his signature to say he reviewed it and claims a fee for each such second marking. No transparency – students never see their answer scripts, no re-scrutiny permitted in doubtful instances and so the list of malpractices goes on. Evaluation of teachers is a thing unheard of and once they get into the place they go on and on forever not contributing to worthwhile research nor to excellence in teaching. They are involved in tuition and other private enterprises. These teachers having been silent for years have done an illang parippu job – it has opened a can of worms no doubt! Introduce a system of teacher evaluation by students, peer group and higher academics and throw the bad eggs out just like it happens in foreign universities. Also make available the facility for students to see their answer scripts (it is not that impossible as numbers are fewer in special batches)after examinations – this is the way they get feedback and reinforcement knowing where they have gone wrong. Re-scrutiny of answer scripts could show errors in marking, addition of marks and leaving out marking of sections etc., GCE OLs and ALs have this facility for payment of a fee – WHY NOT THE UNIVERSITIES? University teachers are not infallible. In the present system a University teacher can allot marks without even marking the scripts as no one would know. This is a good opportunity for the powers that be to introduce these reforms when the University ‘dons’ are clamouring for salary hikes and other perks – University teachers pull up our socks! SPW

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    This is the best time government to recheck inside Universities and sack fake public money eaten joker professors. I checked and found this writers (Chandika’s) dept has three profs and none has Phds or any single publications in any journals. They even do not hear what is international indexed journals and impact factors based publications. They published many small small books by themselves and most are copy from foreign authors. Sack all these public funds eaten fake profs. You do not find 2% sri lankan profs with right qualifications as Fedrick said. Of course some dept are family trees as Fedrick said. President sack all the fake profs. Even senior profs you can see without at least one single paper in ISI journals. Take medical faculty all of them pubished their own journal they run, Engineering same they have IESL Engineer Journal run by them and no where list or indexed. You find these Eng. profs are IESL Engineer journal published Prof. Arts, management is absured. Recently I checked J’Pura University Profs qialifications. Shame to say even profs for them their Phds from countries no one go for education and not any single publication in international indexed journals withy impact factors. Now government should ask International indedx journal publications from these salary ask fake profs and sack these fake professors.

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    Dear Sun

    Thank you for your interesting comments and sugestions. At the same time, you have brought some incorrect and misleading arguments. Manushsya has responded to some of your incorrect and misleading arguments and assumptions. I would like to elaborate upon these issues.

    (i) One of your burnning question is that why not social science research articles are published in SSCI. Since I am a professional economist (Not a member of FUTA, I would say that many of these publications are in EconLIT classification. Please check both South Asian Economic Journal and Sri Lanka Economic Journal are under EconLIT. I would confirm you that these journals are highly reputed in all over the world including North America and Europe. Please check read an article from these two journals. Then, you can understand what is the quality of these journals are. I know that the writer has published in both of these journals (at least he published in South Asian Economic Journal). Can you understand the method that he used to analyze data in his article (ARIMA and VECTOR ERROR CORRECTION MODELS)?

    (ii) I aggreed with some of your comments on some professors and lecturers have not done any reputed publications but received promotions and everything. This is the problem of the Sri Lankan university administration. There are numerous ill practices in these universities like other places in the coutry. I personally disappoint these ill practices and hope the FUTA take these issues seriouly in the future. As Manushaya suggest, you can bring these issues to the general public and responsible authorities. It msy help us to develop internationally recognized education system in the future.

    (ii) I am not sure how your private university argument valid for Sri Lanka. Many reputed and well recognized universities in UK, USA, Canada, and Australia are not private universities. Governments in these countries provide a huge amount of resources to these universities. Yes, true, they chasrge money from the students. Please remember, those tution fees are not enough to maintain these universities. The government take the full responsibility. Please also read the Household Income and Expenditure (2009/10) on poverty in Sri Lanka. Then, you can imagine whether students from poor families in SL can pay for the education of their sun and daughters.

    (iii) Education expediture has positive social externalities and strong government expenditure multiplier effects (Please read my comments on LankacNews if you need further clarification on the rationality of allocating more money on education)

    Thanks for reading my comments

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      I am sad RW does not know about difference between EconLIT classification and SSCI journal ranking. EconLIT classification can be obtain for any journal without much difficulties if the journal is related to Economics and has to pay the premium/registration fee. SSCI is journal quality ranking system and it include quality journal after several years of careful monitoring. There are other journal ranking system in the world (such as Australian Business School Deans’ ranking USB-U.K. ranking, In addition world leading universities have their-own rankings systems). A journal has higher impact factor has better quality than low impact factor in same subject.

      All over the world, there are private universities (From US – Russia, India- China, Japan – UK). Most of best private universities are not just for profit. Harvard is not a state university. Private universities are properly regulated. There are people who can afford the fee, but they cannot afford to study abroad. Students are pass A/L with good grades, but cannot enter to state universities. Do you think they do not have right to go universities? Private universities cater the service to these people. Further, adult person (age more than 30) willing to get university degree, do you think he/she does not right to obtain a degree whatever subject he/she like to study. If, your answer “NO”, there is no need private universities in Sri Lanka. Quality of private university has to monitor and it is government responsibility. FUTA, IUSF, any other state university student group, political party, GMOA or any other group can not oppose to quality private education. Higher education is also fundamental human right whether it is government or private. Some of FUTA association and GMOA (PhD/ Master / MD/ MBBS) members obtained from foreign private universities and don’t jealous for other education. FUTA has advice how to create better quality private universities. My opinion, all low /poor quality degree offering companies should be shutdown.

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        South Asian Economic Journal and Sri Lanka Economic Journal are under EconLIT. But, these journals do not have quality to include in SSCI journal ranking. Some EconLIT classified quality journals are included in SSCI list. Mr/Ms RW you are researcher! I hope you understand now.

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    Those who do not know the responsibilities of an university academic made negative comments. Though the main responsibility of an academic is teaching and research effective academic would evident that how many extra responsibilities are there for a faculty member. Administrative responsibilities, curriculum revisions, attending various commitee meetings of the faculty and university, student welfare and councelling activities, planning of semester modules as module module coordinators, not only conducting mid and end semester examination but also evaluation of those exams. If anyone thinks that university academics enjoyin their acdemic life outside the university that [is not all…. There may be some where there are extra allocation os members…. But where there are no enough members,one member have to do extra work (may be thrice the amount expected from)though they are not paid for the extra work. Those who burn midnight oil for preperation of teaching materials and paper marking, neglecting their personal life would evident for…… Therefore it’s unfair generalizing the facts for all academics. Since UGC is preparing workload calculations through the head of the departments and Deans, UGC would be able to analyze the academics who do not do what is expected from and take necessary actions accordingly…..

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    I would suggest president to appoint the person call ‘sun’ as a UGC chairman since he has many opinion and wisdom in research in Social science. He has first hand data which shows the research caliber in Sri Lankan university professors.I think all the professors should consult him how to do a low cost funding research. Good job and long live sun putra.

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      I don’t want to come to work at UGC. I am working in foreign university. Thank you for your suggestion. Many Sri Lankans do not have habit to take good ideas from others and they are talkers without working. Most of good university lecturers left Sri Lanka and they are working in US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and China (including Hong Kong), Singapore and Malaysia. Not all research are data driven. Some are theoretical. If university teacher want to do more research, they can collaborate with foreign people. They are many ways of data collection. Most important thing is have good research idea. I know some universities such as Peradeniya, Colombo universities have research paper databases (Jsort, Emerald, Science-Direct). I don’t want to explain more about it. Current problem is Sri Lankan universities social science/ Management do not have competent people to do research and best lecturers have left the universities. Recruit just passed out students and ignored PhD-holders. I think scheme of recruitment should change firstly and attract highly qualified people (PhD, DS) with research background.Then, government should setup research centers in universities (One subject decipline per university and there are 14 universities. Sri Lanka can have 14 research centers). Then allocate money to the universities. Otherwise, these fake professors(I don’t mean all are fake professors) may eat public money.

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        “Professor Sun” says “I am working in foreign university.” Perhaps he can give us career details of himself there to see whether he applies to himself the standards with which he judges others.

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    Most of the comments given have been directed on the salary increments of university lecturers. If it were the problem, it would require only 0.00X% of GDP. But the content of the article is mainly for the need of more government allocation towards the development of the general and university education systems of Sri Lanka. It is sad that those who made such comments cannot see this reality. Think of the problem that only 30% of schools in our country have the capacity to conduct bilingual education policy and only 29% offer the GCE A/L science stream. In such a situation how can we prepare students to the modern world?

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    Chandika’s depts all professors are fakes(No PhDs and they never heard anything about International indexed journals or impact factors) and eating poor tax payers money as salary by covering to Profs title. Most of the regional Universties situation worse. Sabaragamuwa and Rajarata same Sack all these fake professsors.

    If FUTA is so concerned why they can not request from government to sack all these fake professors who got prof positions wrong ways.

    Ruhuna University some profs are appointed because of letter given from President Office. We have evidence to prove that. Actaully UGC chairman is the main responsible person for all these bad mafia in Universtes.

    If you have PhD, Sri Lankan Universties never welcome such person to academic staff.

    Famous Colombo University arts faculty family dept all the recuritments are out door connection based ones.This dept any member can not be called a professor because they do not have any single publication in ISI level international journals.

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    To whom it may coerned ,
    Free education is provided from grade 1 for children.Your parents may be poor.The all Citizions of SL has some how looked after your education.Pleas say thanks to them,still u are not late.u may be such ascoler.it is not a fact…..(Mr Matin wickarasinghe has not gone to school see his contribution to the nation.Kumarathunga Munidasa)

    …at least these prof,Dr,Lct must have a Curtsey to pay the lend back to nation.Some of them not all are helping NGOs and betray the nation.very sad to say, the organizer of this movement has changed the Shinghalees history to support NGOs.we have recorded evidence to prove.sham !!!.

    It is kindly requested to don’t remove ur cloths while in the glassed made room dear scolers.We all have given the power to the government.they will do needfull.let them to do.why u all so sarcastic. first tern and see whether individually has done ur part for the beloved mother land.pay your lend first then automatically revord will come to u.

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    Hi SUN, some of your points make sense. It’s 100% true that many Sri Lankan “academics” are not academic. Just a bunch of people that’re trying to secure their place in the system. There’re many good ones though. I work at a campus in a Western country, and guys here get a damn load of money to conduct their research. Since you work in a university, you might know that many professors hire GAs to run their projects, and they pay for tuition and living expenses of GAs. In the end, they come up with wonderful projects that are highly respected. I do blame Sri Lankan professors. At the same time, what I think is that the government should pump some money for research projects. I heard that a little research allowance is given to professors there, and the minister counts it as “salary”. Isn’t that a joke? I also came to know that the Ministry of Higher Education spends money to organize reality TV shows among university students. I wonder what you think about that. Another one, do you really think that the SL govt can establish universities like Harvard? Your, and all other’s comments are welcome.

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    I agreed with you. I feel some of Sri Lankan universities can develop within top 100 Asian and 500 world. If you go to time university ranking website or QS ranking website you can find factors they use for ranking. a)Research publications, b)teachers’ qualifications, c) number of students per teacher, d)number of international students and e) number of foreign qualified teachers are some important factors. a-c are most important and heigh weighted factors. Further, Sri Lankan education system can develop and attract foreign students. Singapore and Hong Kong has done it. China and Malyasia are doing (attract foreign students and country makes as a education hub). Why Sri Lanka can not do it? Sri Lanka can it. I feel that Sri Lanka needs private university system and government has to introduce proper rules and regulations for non-state universities. Sri Lanka maintain good friendship with China and there was idea to set up Chinese international university in South of the island. S.B. has announced some universities from Japan and Australia establish campuses in Sri Lanka. Education investment give long-term benefits and government should stop wastage of money.

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    Mr/Ms SUN, please do not undermine the quality of SAEJ without knowing facts and figures correctly:

    SAEJ has not only in EconLit but also in other in other abstracting/indexing:
    EconLit
    International Bibliography of the Social Sciences
    Journal of Economic Literature
    Journal of Economic Literature (and JEL on CD)
    PAIS International

    Nevertheless, SSCI is not the only method that can assesses the quality of the researches in Economics. Researches are being conducted to assess the research performance in economics in a more detailed classification as well. (http://rev.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/1/61.full)

    On the other hand, many libraries of the well reputed universities in the world have access to SAEJ, which is an indication that the quality of the SAEJ is at a high standard.

    Please search “South Asia Economic Journal” at Libraries in these very few selected universities:
    University of Cambridge: Washington University Library: National University of Australia: Australia Monash University: University of Melbourne:
    University of Sydney: Yale University; National University of Singapore and many more.

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    Hello Sun, you make interesting points, but your points look a bit naive. I gotta few questions. What is NSM? Is that the National School of Business Management which is another campus of NIBM? (I’m trying to highlight that both in NIBM and NSBM almost all staff is locally qualified, and most of all, they do “not” provide free education). Would you support a “public enterprise” sort of model for higher education in Sri Lanka?
    Second, did you read any of those articles published by Chandika? If yes, what are the problems in them? I didn’t either, and I like to learn it from you?
    Third, a university is primarily expected to create knowledge for the betterment of the community within which it operates. How and why would Chinese or any other foreign university create knowledge for the furtherance of the Sri Lankan society?
    Fourth, what is the current that the Sri Lankan government understands?
    I wonder what your answers are to these questions. I think it’ll help us to have a better discussion, rather than fighting for our predispositions….And others, you’re more than welcome to jump in. This discussion is healthy for Sri Lanka’s higher education…Thanks

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    Sorry, there’s a spellin mistake in the fourth question I asked. It should read “What is the current trend that the Sri Lankan govt understands?”

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    1. First, SL Guy, you look news. New business school is building at homagame and it comes under youth afairs ministry. Youth afairs ministry overlooks both NSBM and NIBM. NIBM is not a university although it offers some professional degress. NSMB will be first business school in Sri Lanka and it may same to Singapore Management University.

    2. I don’t have any personal conflict with Chandika and I don’t know him as well. If Chandika believes the South Asia Economic Journal is best Journal in the World, it would not problem for me. However, I have appreciated his work before and he has done good job compared to professors in same department. Most fake professors get much benefits than ordinary lectures. But, lot of hard work is doing by young lecturers in Sri Lankan universities. Doing research and publishing papers in well reputed journals are very difficult task and it is not easy as writing a comment here.

    3. Knowledge is not a common to the one country. Most of Europeans and American Scientists (Asians and others also included) created and have been creating new knowledge. Sri Lanka is also use it.

    4. You have to read the news and statements of governments and its ministers. After 2005, no new university open under MOHE/ UGC. Sri Lanka University of Vocational Education has open recently and government is going to establish National School of Business Management (Plant to recruit 20000 students). All these institution will charge money (subsidized fee).

    I feel writing comments here is not useful for anyone. No responsible officers look at these articles or comments and I feel I waste my valuable time. I decided not to write any more. Thank you for all.

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