19 April, 2019

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Who Will Suffer If FUTA Loses?

By Dileni Gunewardena –

Dr.Dileni Gunewardena

There is trouble in the universities and trouble in the schools. While frustrated students and academics have taken to the streets, there has been much posturing among those responsible for the state of education and higher education in this country. This article attempts to counter prevalent misconceptions about the nature, motivation and demands of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) and the academics they represent.

FUTA comprises over 40 member unions of university teachers of the Universities of Colombo, Peradeniya, Moratuwa, Kelaniya, Sri Jayawardenapura, Ruhuna, Jaffna, Visual and Performing Arts, as well as of Wayamba, Rajarata, Eastern, South Eastern, and Open Universities with a total strength of approximately four thousand members. FUTA has been in existence since 1983. Among its current opponents are former leaders of FUTA. However, I believe that there is a significant difference between the current FUTA leadership and its forebears that explains why the current TU action has garnered widespread support among academics, students, intellectuals and leading lights in the country, as well as the general public.

Clever, young and committed

The most striking feature of today’s university trade union leadership is that it comprises academics with outstanding scholarly credentials. A search in scholarly research databases for their names reveals them to be authors of international repute, award-winners for Ph.D. and postdoctoral research, with impeccable track records of international research publications. They represent the best in Sri Lanka’s University system today. Among the few I know (of) are an internationally published historian, a distinguished young evolutionary biologist, an outstanding macroeconomist with a Ph.D. from East Asia’s best university, a brilliant mechanical engineer, Sri Lanka’s first Ph.D. in counseling psychology, and two award-wining authors and poets, all of them trained in some of the best universities and post-doctoral research labs in the world. In fact, in terms of research and publications, these scholar-trade unionists have better academic credentials than several present-day Vice-Chancellors.

Many in the FUTA leadership and others who give dynamism to the movement are in their late thirties or early forties. They are recent Ph.D.’s, having completed their doctorates in the last five to ten years. Most of them funded their own postgraduate studies through teaching assistantships and research fellowships, because state-funded scholarships for postgraduate studies have simply not been available to university academics, at least in the last twenty five years. These academics were brilliant enough to obtain admission and funding on their own merit to some of the best universities in the world, and often turned down good job opportunities in developed countries to return to Sri Lanka, to the ill-paid positions in the universities that nurtured them.

These leaders have a vision for university education in this country, precisely because of the excellent overseas training they themselves received. Dynamic teachers and solid researchers, they have in the past few years, engaged in curriculum revision exercises, brought in external funding to their universities to improve teaching, learning and research infrastructure through competitive research and development grants, disseminated knowledge through workshops and seminars, launched new undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes and inspired recent cohorts of students to pursue academic careers and obtain training in good universities abroad. A critical mass of such academics is what helps universities to thrive and become engines of change and promote Sri Lanka as a knowledge hub.

But these same academics have watched with regret as their colleagues have left the universities for academic positions in universities abroad. They know that if this trend continues-as it will, if salaries are not raised and the present political interference and micro-management of universities continues-the universities that they serve with dedication and commitment will no longer be spaces for intellectual growth and independent thinking.

FUTA demands

FUTA’s current demands fall into two categories: (A) outstanding salary-related demands and (B) demands relating to the state education. The first set of demands relates to the remuneration scheme required to retain and recruit highly qualified academics. Principally, FUTA demands the complete implementation of the Prof. M.T.M. Jiffry and Prof. Malik Ranasinghe proposals made in 2008 in consultation with the University Grants Commission (UGC), Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), and FUTA. The second set of demands specifically asks that the Government (1) delineates a course of action to increase government spending on education that will reach 6% of GDP within the next 2 years, (2) clearly states government policy on state funded education, (3)suspends all existing higher education reform processes until a proper consultative process involving all stakeholders and the public takes place, (4) agrees to refrain from the politicization and?micromanagement of the Universities so that these institutions can thrive as autonomous institutions that would act as catalysts in the development of Sri Lanka. [A detailed summary of FUTA demands can be found at http://futa-sl.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/FUTA_Demands_Comprehensive_19_06_2012.pdf ]

What motivates this set of demands? University academics realize that they do not work in a vacuum. They are constantly accused of producing “unemployable” graduates. However, they can only do their best with the raw material -students-they are given. Recent analyses of education standards conducted by government entities themselves have shown that there are many quality issues in both primary and secondary education in Sri Lanka (World Bank, Treasures of the Education System in Sri Lanka, 2005, Transforming School Education in Sri Lanka: from Cut Stones to Polished Jewels, 2011). To be able to achieve the kind of transformation required in both school and university education, quality inputs-training, learning and teaching infrastructure, research facilities and better remuneration-will be needed. The type of inputs and facilities required for education and higher education are spelt out in the Mahinda Chinthana Vision 2010 document. In recognition that the measures that need to be taken to ensure quality education for all (EFA) involve substantial budgetary allocations to education, ministers and high level government officials of eight South Asian countries including Sri Lanka, at the second ministerial meeting of the South Asia EFA Forum in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in December 2009, committed to a public expenditure allocation for education that is equivalent to 6% of the country’s GDP (UNESCO, Reaching the Unreached in Education in Asia-Pacific to meet the EFA goals by 2015: A Commitment to Action, 2010, p.6). While none of these countries had spent anywhere close to this target in 2010, data from Sri Lanka’s Central Bank report and World Development Indicators of the World Bank show that Sri Lanka lags far below her SAARC neighbours, as the graph taken from World Bank (2011, p.30) shows. FUTA’s demand is simply that the government takes steps to meet its own commitment.

Nowhere in the list of FUTA demands is there opposition to the private provision of education. Rather, what FUTA requests is a broad-based consultative process on education reform, and clarity regarding the government’s commitment to the continued provision of state education.

Who will suffer if FUTA loses?

FUTA president Dr. Nirmal Ranjith has stated that if FUTA loses its demands, it will not be FUTA that loses, but the general public of Sri Lanka. It has been very clear that (especially younger, qualified) university academics are waiting on the outcome of these negotiations in order to make career decisions. If FUTA loses, over the next few years, the best and the brightest will leave the universities for jobs abroad or in the private sector of Sri Lanka. After all, university lecturers are not just teachers, they are skilled professionals: engineers, doctors, scientists, lawyers, economists, sociologists, psychologists, linguists, etc. who are not restricted to teaching jobs in universities. Eventually, even those with a commitment to stay will leave-not because of the lack of pecuniary benefits, but because of the absence of other colleagues with whom they have a shared vision. Meanwhile, private universities which are not hamstrung by salary structures and patronage will be able to attract some of these academics. Eventually, the only academics who will be left in the universities are those who have few options elsewhere, who possibly were hired to the universities because of their political affiliations.

With the exodus of high-quality academics from the state university system, there will emerge a dual system of higher education in Sri Lanka, a low-quality state system and a higher quality fee-levying system. Who then will suffer? A depleted and poor quality state higher education system is obviously a poor return to taxpayers. Countries with a strong higher education system also had strong state education systems, which provided the backbone of the higher education system, especially in terms of research. But the greatest losers will be the students of state universities-the sons and daughters of the average Sri Lankan. In the future, such students may continue to enter the university, but will receive a poor quality education, while their counterparts in the private sector will have the benefit of better academic staff and better infrastructure. As the gap between these two sectors widens, the social fabric of the country is likely to be threatened. It is interesting to note that in Sri Lanka’s history, the highest state expenditure on education (5.2 % of GDP) was allocated in 1972, one year after the 1971 youth insurrection.

Sri Lanka has been called the land of missed opportunities. If higher education officials are unable to grasp the opportunity in this “academic spring”, perhaps the Secretary to the Treasury, himself trained in one of the best economics departments in the world, can. Otherwise, sadly, the “knowledge hub” will remain in the sphere of the rhetoric, and the reality that is the education system in Sri Lanka will continue its sad decline from mediocrity to poverty.

*Dileni Gunewardena holds a doctorate in Economics from American University, Washington, D.C. and a B.A. (Honours) in Economics from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, where she is a Senior Lecturer. Her research includes empirical analyses relating to poverty measurement, child nutrition, gender wage inequality and ethnic inequality.

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Latest comments

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    What a nice presentation. However, the idiot Mahinda and his gang would not understand.

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      Glad that FUTA is not opposed to private education! What is needed is a good regulatory framework to ensure that any private universities and degree granting institutions have high standards of academic excellence, are properly monitored, and their outputs regularly evaluated by an independent highly qualified group of academics..

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    Excellent! More university women should be like Dr Dilini and speak out! Are the Colombo university women Profs dead, deaf and dumb?! They should speak up and get the women in the general public to come out strong in support of FUTA and their legitimate demands.
    The problem with the Colombo university women lecturers is that they are all NGOized and cowardly – what is the Colombo English, Law, Sociology dept women doing?!

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    Nice piece! Indeed, If FUTA looses Lanka looses and ONLY Rajapkse and his rapacious, looting, family and cronies win!
    The university economists should reach out to the business community and other professional organization and ask for their support in the struggle to ensure GoSL investment in education so that Lanka has an educated, informed citizenry and a country that has highly skilled human resources.
    FUTA should also call for all professionals to strike in support of their most legitimate demands since it is quite true that if FUTA loses the citizens of Lanka will be the losers and only Rajapakese and his rapacious, ignorant looting family and their jumbo cabinet of goons, fools, clowns including the so-called ministers of ed and the leftist geriatrics who support them will be the winners — if FUTA fails.

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    Why this FUTA and it supporter are politicarized. FUTA is not professional body. It is trade union which clear linked to JVP. Most of Skilled and reputed professors are outside of FUTA. If university teacher really want to upgrade university education, resign from FUTA first. Then, you have to work hard with the guidance with VCs. Government has other priorities. Mahinda Chenthanaya has plan to develop Sri Lanka as a Education hub of Asia. Sri Lankan universities will attract more qualified Indian scholars through CEPA.Thereafter, Sri Lankan universities’ academic standard, research quality and international publications will be improved soon.

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      I am afraid you are living in a dreamland created by government propaganda. However, none so blind as those who will not see.

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        You can not understand what I said indirectly. This regime work for other countries and handful of Henchmen. Now this government is going to sign CEPA. Then, most of indian come to work in SL. SLan can not find a job. All professionals has to fight against CEPA. Other thing is Sri Lanka is going to be a hub for S_X tourisum and Child abuse. Not for heigher Education!

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      It should be corrected as – MAHINDA MARDANAYA not Chinthanaya. How can ONE even think of achieving that level – Education hub in Asia, not even trying to allocate more funds – as to the levels of Malaysia (with almost same population -20mio) ? Those are just rhetorics to stay in power- until the levels would achieve to that of Indonesian Suhartho , Egypt´s Mobark, Simbabwe´s Robert Mugabe and Lybia´s Gadapi and several more in that ranks.

      I would avoid adding any comments, if I am not aware of the statistics. Here there are bunch of MR apologists – sadly trying to paint a stupid picture thinking that they can make the nation fool easily.

      Soon in the further it is imperative to rather introduce faculties of Criminlogy to each of the prevailiting universities to faciliate the investigations of current ruler´s handlings almost many areas where right thinking ones get speechless today.

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    Very comprehensive article explaining the broader aspect of the university academic’s issues. Whilst retaining the best of our academics within the country by compensating them with a better and justifiable remuneration, the standard of state’s education should be improved to meet the ever increasing demands for better university products, which will meet the aspirations of both the private and state sector employers.

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    I want to add something. Some private degree offering companies which affiliated degree awarding foreign bodies, now they charge extortionate amounts from students and send them to low-quality universities in the west for the final year. On the other hand, some low quality indian degrees (including masters) are offered by some private companies for Rs 3-5 lks. The most bad case, there are some private degree offering companies offer so called foreign university degree from on line degree offering centers. These centers do not have any physical exsistance. Hence, there should be proper law to address this issue. Ministry of heiger education has tried to address this problem (quality assurance and validity of degrees by Act of Paliment). However, it has prevented by the FUTA. Some of FUTA members are doing part-time work in this places? Who are responsible and who will adress this issue? Lot of parents and students have been cheating from these places. Some students gain their medical degree from low quality medical colleges from Bangladesh, Caribian and some african coutries, although which are recognized by SLMC.If Sri Lanka has private universies, UGC or new body similar to UGC able to monitor quality of these institution. Low quality places can be blacklisted. My opinion is FUTA act irresponsible and selfish manner.

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    GET THE DOUBLE DOCTORATE MADHAAVIYA MERVIN FROM THE MAGGONA UNIVERSITY TO LEAD FUTA AND BRING THE COUNTRY TO A STANDSTILL, AND FIND A WAY TO EDUCATE THE CHILDREN WHO ARE THE FUTURE LEADERS OF OUR BELOVED MOTHERLAND.

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    The letter is a fairy tale not good enough to put a tot to sleep. Firstly, she ignores the FUTA boss in all her undue boasting. How about that guy’s research and publication record? Nirmal Devasiri’s website at Colombo uni has his highlights, a book apparently he has authored, but it ain’t true is it? It is not quite a book but his thesis. Anybody who does a PhD in Europe has a chance to publish their thesis as a book, but nobody else takes it seriously. There were a few who returned down some jobs in the west but there are many academics that fought hard to find something to stay on in those countries with no luck. There are those famous guys who worked at petrol stations during sabbatical. What this story tells us is, that the academics are not necessarily the most intelligent lot as the writer and her colleagues try hard to paint. There are very clever ones but the majority are lecturers through pure luck. Secondly, of course we have quality academics. There are scientists who took part in serious Nasa programmes and there are others who worked with Nobel laureates. But the irony is, only a handful of them are FUTA activists. On the contrary, there are many lecturers who haven’t even got a single publication in any international journal of any calibre. Some of them are Heads of departments. There are others who are now professors who only have 3 or 4 publications to their names and even those had been written in 1970s, probably written by their PhD supervisors than they themselves. There is more to this ‘quality issue’, but that is just one silly highlight these FUTA members like Dileni always bring about. Then she talks about FUTA demands, but only ones that she could talk about, not the ones that will make this an even more unfair society, if granted. For example, the preferential treatment for FUTA kids in popular school admissions is one. Talking about percentages is another. They keep bringing this 6% topic assuming they could con the public with that, because it looks attractive. Now in addition to getting paid from the public for not working, under the ‘protest’ label, the academics are on a serious ‘intellectual intimidation drive’ of the very public who pay them, by one by one writing these comic letters. Hopefully they’ll learn a good lesson for trying to unfairly dabble with the public. Finally, the writer and her colleagues need to know that these are not good points to convince the public that the lot deserves more perks. The best is to be honest to the public and tell them what you do, how many hours you work and what other businesses you are involved in. The public will then think about supporting any “reasonable demands”.

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      Do you EVER think – just because of having few publications that a candidate can achieve a professorship ?

      Becoming a professor has lot to do with post doctoral reesearch accomplishments collected over the years rather than any other connections. He or she has to pass through Junior professorships to become full professor in the Europe. This is common to Austraila too.
      If one can become a professor to the manner that is being explained by you that easily, every PhD holder would have achieved that levels easily. I really dont think that lanken Univesities are in that poor state. And numbers of publications can be only indicator to measure the standard of an academic. There are good professors that have published not that many, but what they have published and patented have been cited by many others.

      Even if I have been away from lanken terriories for the last two decades, these prerequisites should have been common to any professor either in Europe or Asia.

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        Genewonders, please allow me to disagree with you. To become a professor, publishing in reputed journal is a must. I will explain how this is done in Monash. There are three main streams you have to perform. 1. publications 2. Supervision of PhD students 3. How much grants you bring in to the university. Publications are measured with the impact factor of a journal. You cannot just publish in a crappy journal ten times and score because the number of publicatyions are multiplied by the impact factor of a journal. Then you have to supervise certain number of PhD students successfully. Then you should bring funding to the university. The universities are the main point of generation of knowledge and you should be able to convince the funders and bring in certain amount at least (stipulated by the faculty). I have not heard about passing exams to become at least an associate professor without fulfilling the above criteria. I fully agree with Rubert Vanderkoon. The academic credintials of these FUTA bosses should thoroughly be investigated.

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          I totally agree with Prasad and some of Mo’s comments. Any one can not be a professor without publication any research papers except Sri Lanka. There are influential journals ranking systems in the world (namely SSCI, SCI, Australian Business School Deans’ (ABSD) Ranking, USB-U.K) and these rankings have impact factors/ class of the journals). According to the class of the journals and impact factors, final score is determined. Sri Lankan universities have senior professors and it can not see any other country. Academic credentials of the FUTA big bosses are very low. They haven’t published research papers in reputed journals. Dr Dileni Gunewardena says that FUTA leaders are having outstanding scholarly credentials. Most of their profiles in university web do not show it. Most of the professors are like to recruit faculty staff from their undergraduates who go for shopping to them. Most of the time, they ignored PhD-holders (Eg Ravaya new paper has published an article regarding to peradeniya art faculty recently). Universities in most other countries recruit their faculty staff from most qualified people with proven research abilities and they give preference to PHD-holders with research publications.

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          Prasad,

          Please recheck it – You seem to have interepreted it somewhat wrong.

          what I mentioned in my previous comment was that just only few publications cant help any PhD candidate becoming a professor (full professor) for an Unversity. And further to this, accomplishments in post doctoral research mean nothing else than -supervision of PhD students, Publications, having made initiatives in terms of research grants etc. And It is not the normal procedure of EU unis that PhD candidates are awarded full professorships without evaluating their academic achievements in post doctoral research.

          To tell you, I am well aware of the procedures how this works at Monash (atleast three decades ago) – my cousin was awarded his professorship there before he left for the US.

          As I myself feel, FUTA ´s demands are NOT unfair and I cant see something wrong with their demands. They clearly articulate as given in the above article.

          As quoted from the text:

          the complete implementation of the Prof. M.T.M. Jiffry and Prof. Malik Ranasinghe proposals made in 2008 in consultation with the University Grants Commission (UGC), Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), and FUTA.

          No doubt they will agree with you with regard to any investigations on the academic credentials of FUTA members, since the writer herself makes it Clear that their credentials are impecccable.
          (as quoted from the above article)A search in scholarly research databases for their names reveals them to be authors of international repute, award-winners for Ph.D. and postdoctoral research, with impeccable track records of international research publications.

          Sure, I agree with some of the points made by Rubert but not all. It looks his comments are rather to support the incumbent GOSL regardless of the substance of the article or comments put to this thread.

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    There is simply no money to meet the demand of 6% for education.
    Most of the state funds goes on losing ventures which the government is not prepared to terminate, and proposed new ventures which need massive expenditure.The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting next year will need a massive input with hardly any return for the ‘investment’.The state thinks that armed forces should be maintained at astronomical cost,though no immediate needs are known.The nation is indebted to the hilt,and the debt burden is rising steadily.The FUTA will ‘lose’ simply because its demands cannot be met due to perilous situation of the economy. Many of its members, except the professionals whose services are in demand,will have to leave the country.We will become like Greece, and what happened there, will happen.The future is frghtening.

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    Dr.Dileni is carrying a brief for her colleagues in the rogues gallery. Too much fancy stuff, big words, bragging and blowing their own trumpets – trying to convince anyone gullible enough. Of course there are the very few exceptions who are silent – “evil triumphs when good people are silent” I have heard this wise adage. Mr.Vanderkoens assessment is simply true – a fairy tale! SPdeS

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      S.Pde Silva
      The fact that you support Rubert Vanderkoen says it all. Do you get your pay cheque from the same source?

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    The MR Govt. Strategy should be clear to all by now. At the cost of Education to a Nation the Military is allocated more funds in order to keep them happy as in turn the Corrupt will be safe guarded and looked after as the Rulers. The same that is practised in China today. Education will be deliberately ruined to prevent the masses becoming educated as then only there will be problems in society. If the masses are uneducated they will fill the slots of lesser employment. The ruling elite will send their offspring abroad to study to qualify for the best jobs on offer as the masses will be bereft of any academic qualifications. These are the buggers whose hearts bled for the masses of this country? I wonder atleast now whether the masses will realise what is in store for them in the Future. Ranil Wickremasinghe should be hailed for introducing Tertiary Education to this country as Junior Minister of Education then, where all those who failed to gain entry to University managed to establish themselves in society as somebody. Unfortunately ‘Gratitude’ is not in the vocabulary of the masses in this country except a few.

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      I do not want to involve into this discussion. However, I saw the gamini’s comment about China and he said Sri Lankan government is also doing like China. Chinese government has allocating lot of funds to their education and science. All most all Chinese universities has excess money to. University teachers are well paid. Assistant professor’s monthly income is Rmb 10000/= (he is similar to assistant lecturer or lecturer in Sri Lanka). Universities provide research fund to every staff member and it is vary from Rmb 30000 to 150000. National Science foundation and National Social science foundation provide research fund to university teachers. This allocated money is including salary for researchers and research assistants. Students who work as research assistants get Rmb 300 to 500 per month. Further, Chinese government provides scholarships for Chinese students. Chinese PhD student gets Rmb 1200 per month, master student 800. Chinese government invests massive money for English Education and native English speakers are working as English teachers. Now a day, if someone wants to be a university teacher in China must have PhD with one or two research papers in his account. Chinese universities do not care much about his first degree or class. If you have BS in Physics and you have Master and PhD in accounting, you can be an accounting professor. This is also same in US and Europe. Sri Lank should give first priority to recruit PhD-holders and second priority to master degree-holders with thesis.
      Chinese universities invite best scholars to teach short period of time or give seminar to their students. Some of Chinese scholars who are working in US or Europe visit to China every year and they share their knowledge with Chinese professors and students. Most of the time, it is free. Further, Chinese governments and provincial government offer scholarships to talented students from Asia, Africa, Europe and America. All PhD students have to publish one or two papers in well reputed international journals. Otherwise, they can not get their PhD. University teachers has to publish 5 more research papers for their salary increments and their promotion are purely based on publication, patent and their scientific work and it is not on politics. Higher Education Ministry has introduced recognized journal list and it include SCI and SSCI indexed journals and some well reputed journals in US and Europe journal ranking. Further, there are Chinese journal ranking system and it is called CSCI and CSSCI. Further, China has university ranking system and government has implemented many projects for improving university education quality. There are very big competitions among universities to improve their rankings. Finally, I invite you to see times university rankings or QS university Ranking. You can see many Chinese universities (Including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau) in top 100 world ranking and all Asian 100 universities are domain by Chinese universities. According my view, Sri Lankan higher education goes down and other Asian countries education systems are improving. I hope Sri Lanka government invest money on higher education and allow private investment in higher education. However, quality of private universities has to monitor strictly. China has few private universities and they are review by higher education commission.

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        Quoting from your comments:

        If you have BS in Physics and you have Master and PhD in accounting-

        Firstly, I really dont think that a candidate who has obtained his major on Physics may be good at a PhD in Accounting. And the post graduate degrees such as MSc/MPhil/PhDs are simply the profund studies of their basic fields of degree courses. But there are exceptions like for MBA – even science graduates can achieve. Given the fact very few natural science degree holders could achieve their doctorates in totally varied fields such as accounting – how can the be good lecturers to teach Accounting ?

        Secondly, publishing journal articles while reading for the PhD is entirely dependent on the thesis; it is not obligatory. This is common at least for natural sciences topics. So one cant say that the candidates need to have published numbers of journal articles. After all dissertation is the most important publications for the PhD candidates. Perhaps, all what you have been saying could be relevant to chinese universities but not at all to european universities as far as my knowledge is concerned.

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          I can give you list of professors who did first degree in Engineering, Physics, Mathematics or Agriculture and later become professors in accounting or Finance, even in US universities. I met few such a professors personally. At this time, I give one professor detail. http://filebox.vt.edu/users/wfan/

          Second, you asked how they teach accounting. If you go to Moratuwa or Colombo universities, you can find lot of Science/ Engineering students are doing CIMA, Chartered Accountancy and CMA or CFA. Further, There are some majors in other faculties such as Industrial Management, Information Management, Financial Modeling, Agricultural Economics or Agri-business management. Next, When person doing master degree in Finance or Accounting or Management, he/she learns all theory and concept of finance/ accounting in a more depth. I think you understanding about management science may be little. Students who has any first degree can follow a master degree in management, finance, or accounting. You can visit to any business school website in US, you can understand it. Finance and accounting departments prefer to recruit students who have good mathematic backgrounds and computer program skills.

          I talk about publication before graduation is totally relevant to Chinese universities. At present, some Malaysian and Thailand universities also adopted now. Chinese university PhD students has to publish 1 or 2 research papers in SCI or SSCI indexed journals. People who do PhD in Europe publish their thesis as a book and I knew it.

          I write this comments, because I want to emphasis you how Chinese government concern about higher education (as reply to gamini). All Chinese politicians (such as President, PM) are well educated person, even though they cannot speak English.

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          Some of your points are valid, while some are not clear enough.

          Comparing ours with those of ALL US unis is basically not correct. This is common with India and China too. I have met Indian PhDers who have come to study MScs just because of grant benefits. There are numbers of universities in those countries but the standards are far different from one another. Moreover, we cant generalize that all chinese universities to have the same standards as Uni of Hong kong for example. China as the largest population of the world should have SEVERAL hundreds or thousands of Uni or academic instititions to offer MScs and PhDs.

          However, not clear why you yourself asking PhDers to be appointed to SL university academic staffs, in the same time arguing why are those with inadequate knowledge cant be lecturers. PhDs and MScs are mostly the extensions of their majors. But there are expections like medical graduates obtain their PhDs, in later stages for example in natural science or totally different areas like political or the related sciences. However, What I meant in my previous commment is that basic degree holders in science or engineering with MSc and /or PhD in totally different areas such as accounting or management for example, are NOT the most qualified to BECOME University lecturers for accounting. Besides, ones who get selected to STUDY degree courses on Accounting should have passed their Alevels in commerce stream while the others for example from maths or science streams. This is common to lanka and the UK but not to Germany, France and several other european countries. I have met even german /french medical students with no adequate knolwedge in Chemistry and Physics, because they did not have mentioned subjects for their A levels(equivalent)/university entrance examination but had admissions to study medicine. Surprisingly, these students have become the best among when completing their exams- though they gained their basic knowledge on biology, chemistry and phsyics in the first 3 semesters (18months) at the University. All in all, what was not clear to me is – if one has NOT compelted his/her major in accounting, how can he or she become a good lectuter for accounting? As any university academic would agree, considering the fact that all the basic knowledge is gained in the majors not in MScs or PhDs.

          Should the system of lanken universities favourably be restructured, authorities should consider the candidates not only with PhDs but also with extended knowledge on Padegogy/Trainings on Teaching/basic degrees not forgetting Allevels (equivalent).

          Agree with that MBA or charted accountancy in post graduate level do help the science or engineering graduates in finding their jobs in management and accourting areas. But for university teaching appointments, you need to have broader knowledge on Accounting if you ever want to become lecturers on accounting for example. This is same that a MBBS holder is not the best candidate to teach political science if not he has collected exp in that areas.

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        Mo, why I cited China was for the following reasons. In China too with the Socialist Revolution, a Ruling Junta emerged to wipe out the Capitalists and the Capitalist System. Thereafter this Ruling Junta has become the Ultra Rich in China, boasting of having the highest number of Millionaires in the world today. This Junta has spent lavishly on the Military and the Military is well looked after even today. The case may be so with the Education structure in China, but limited for the Party Hierarchy in the system, like housing, jobs etc. Yet there is abject poverty in Rural areas in China with no schooling facilities for millions of Chinese. Further they do not have a Free Education system for everyone in society as here in Sri Lanka. In a country with almost a one and a half billion population a section of society enjoying what you state is no reason for satisfaction, while a good number languish and are helpless. The Tinnamen Square uprising that was quelled by the lap dogs of the Security Forces was evidence enough and do not be surprised if the Rajapaksas are thinking on the same lines in this country and deliberately allowing the Education to slip off the hands of the poor masses. But believe me it is a different ball game here in this country and it might well be the Waterloo for the Rajapaksas.

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          Another home truth, in this country it is possible for anyone living in Moneragala, Badulla, Dondra Point to KKS to travel to Colombo hang around and live on handouts from the public, unless he/she makes a nuisance of one’s self. In China, none from the Provinces can just travel to the Capital City Beiging, as one has to get prior approval stating the reason and with whom one is to put up with. Besides in China there is no public transport to some Provinces from the Capital as there is no need for such unlike here.

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          gamini – August 9, 2012 (1:54 am)
          You are writing nonsences. Any one can travel to Beijing from any where. I want to say Chinese government has invest lot of money on heigher education and implemented policies, rules and regulations to maintain quality of Education. There are many projects to uplift Chinese universities into world class universities (Project numbers : 201, 211 and 985). In addition, there are Chinese university ranking. Top 300 universities has all the facilities which is required by international universities. Top 100 Asian universities are dominated by China (Including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau). There are certain universities of mainland of China within top 50 in world ranking. Chinese scholars are publishing research papers in top quality journals. To become a professor, Chinese university teachers has to public heigh impact factor journals (To become associate professor needs 5 research papers and has to do few projects which are funded by education/ science & Techonology and/or national science foundation or national social science foundation). They are working very hard for publications. There are many Chinese scholars working in US, European and Singapore, Malysian, Thailand universities. Before 1980, Chinese universities are not good as now. Before 1980, Sri Lanka has better quality in heigher education. Sri Lankan goverment and university academic and some political student grops are resposible for this downfall. China has seperate political system than western countries and we have to take good things from them.

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          Mo, you better check up you sources, as not every Chinese in China that can travel to the Capital. As Foreigners visiting the country, yes one is permitted, but there are certain districts that are underdeveloped where Visitors can not freely travel.

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        Mo – August 9, 2012
        7:39 am

        Quite Agree,with you that lanken uni education prior to 1980 could be much better than it is today. I think not only the education but also the schooling was much better then than today. Today the youth have no respect towards anyone. They in general are not taught to respect their parents, teachers, monks or priests. I thought this is the case only with youth in Europe, but ours behave much worst today. Perhaps the internet and hand phone communications have affected them to loose their human qualities. And May well be the lack of proper attention from the educational ministries along the year has created all these deficiencies.

        Chinese are not the only ones who work hard when working for research papers (I focus on PhD students/post docs/and similar candidates in natural sciences), I dont believe the opposite is the case for lankens who earn scholarships for their PhDs. I have met few of them that have come to Europe- they performed their best before returning to home.

        You reiterate about the systems introduced to Chinese unis, but why we have to learn only from the Chinese. When restructuring lanken Unis authorities should get the best out of european, north american, indian and chinese all universities. If you just search for science publications- http://www.pubmed.com – not only chinese but indian authors are the top of their performances whatever it is the field. So why not we learn more from the nearest neighbour but trying to get close to the Chinese.

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          Appo
          I agree with you. We have to learn and take good things from any country. I have first-hand information from China. That is why I write about mainland China and Hong Kong.
          Before 1980, university education was not much better than Sri Lanka. But, last decade, it has improved very rapidly. There are near 10 Chinese universities (including Hong Kong) are within top 50 world univesities. US, Europe and Australia are developed countries and their experiences are somewhat different and difficult to iplement. I think we can learn from both India and China. However, Indian university system base on college system and it is low quality. Further, there is no any Indian University with top 100 world universities. I hope you may know that if a student with Indian BS, BBA, B.Com, can not get admission to Master degree in US or Canada or EU without pass first year master degree in India. However, our academic can learn from Indian Scholars too.

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          Yes, Mo: indeed none of the Indian Unis are among the best 100.

          http://www.university-list.net/rank.htm

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      We discuss about the substandards of the lecturers of lanken Unis. So long ministry of higher education is headed by incapable ministers how can one ever expect about the future of the higher education in SL ?

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    We can all agree that there are substandard leturers. But that is what we can attract for the meagre salaries offerred. It is very easy for people to say that university staff in Sri Lanka should all be of NASA calibre, but do you really think such people will want to work in this system? Furthermore, the same is true of the school system. Do you know that many dynamic young people today who want to be school teachers, when more lucrative opportunities exist in the private sector? You will agree that if the spending on education innt improved, the education system will continue to deteriorate. No one can say amount X is enough for a lecturer or school teacher. What is enough is the amount that can attract sufficiently competent people.

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      DAS, What I said was, there are academics in the country who worked at NASA and who worked with high calibre scientists. But they are quiet and they are still working as much as they can, despite FUTA strike. For example, while people like Dileni are trying hard to white paint their ghastly strike action, by writing the same thing again and again in local media, those people take the time to collaborate with useful people and write at least an article in an international journal that could benefit at least a few people.

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        Agreed. Everything you read or hear on this matter is biased either in favour of FUTA or against it. The same goes for those academics who as you say are still working. They expect some sort of reward from the govt.

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    Judge for yourself. See the publication record for just one of the people highlighted (I think this is him). http://frogsl.org/research/publications/

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      Some of our university( Speacially Peradeniya university Science, medicine, agriculture and Colombo university Science and medicine) teachers have good publications in good ranking journals. However, other faculties (speacially Mangement and Engineering) teachers do not have adequate research publications. Many of university teachers think, they need lot of money for do research and get publish their papers. There are some theoritical, mathematic modeling, simulation and survay researches do not need very large amont of money. However, they should have research papers databases for reffering journal articles. many SCI and SSCI journals do not charge money for publication. We all know about majority of our politician did not pass AL. They don’t have brain to understand importance of heigher education. Some of them get their attoney at Law after entered to the paliment. Because, they can go to law college without entrance exam and they cheated in the exams. I encourage to staff of Sri Lanka universities start research work now and you can get publish within next two years. You have to prove your talent first. Next time you can give better fight. You don’t go for shopping for politicians at any cost. Don’t support their political campains such as last presidential election. Be a professional and act as a professional. Congratulation!

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        Yes,Most of the lanken university leturers seem to have publications collected during their MSc OR PhD readings but not in post doctoral periods. Not many involve in writing at least reviews about their specific fields either. The best example would be how many of them (Biology/Virology/Genetics) involving in such scientific articles. May be my info are not updated – but I have failed to read any of the actual article about Dengue spread -written by lanken lecturers. Those research review articles can be published in some international journals without fees.

        Lanken universities are not connected to funded reasearch bodies as the case in the UK, US Germany, France and several other european countries though this is common to all developing nations except India (being the 2nd largest popu in the world) Lately, I have got to know whether the high ranked medical professionals known to me are accessed to research and got to know they dont have opportunities to take part in research due to lack of funds.

        As for example, when researching for alternative medication for Dengue that have been tested by some of the lanken medical professionals have shown their hearted efforts by running Clinical Trials but not compliance with ICH-GCP standards- had they been carried out following internatinal standards, surely, they could have been recognized.

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          to correct my previous comment:

          it should be even HIGHLY RANKED professionals in Medicine in SL TODAY lack the chance to make efforts themselvels in medical research.

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      Yes I had a look at the publication list you on the link you gave me.
      No offence, but please listen.
      I was impressed by the publications in the journal “Science” which is a very high ranking journal. It is a honour to have a publication in such a journal.
      But sadly the last one on “Science: is in 2005. Perhaps it was written a couple of years back before. By double checking the co-author list I assume that this paper was written when the author/s was/were overseas. I am wondering without the names of prestegious professors in Boston, these papers would have been accepted. Anyway, well done!
      But after 2005, all the other publication appear in very primitive journals. The maximum is the The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology which is published by the NUS.
      When a person mature, they should be able to publish in more and more prestigious journals (Or at least very good journals). In this case, it has gone drastically down. If the proponents of the FUTA affiliated academics show this publication list as a proof of the quality of those FUTA staff, oh my god! God bless Sri Lankan university system.

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        I really dont think that you can compell researchers to keep publising his or her science/Engineering articles only on peer journals. Even if the author is wellknown in his specific field, depending on the contents of the paper – their acceptance say from Science and Nature are varied. I am known to a few good professors (Europe) once though their papers were accepted by Science and nautre and other high impact factor journals, but later, they failed to continue publishing them on those journals. It is always dependent the topic, valuability of contents and several other factors of the publishing paper. If the author is a senior fellow in that field, it is much easier to get them accepted by them.

        And further, just because the focused author (in your comment) though published earlier on Science and since 2005 he has been unable to publish his articles on peer journals can not necessarily give that the author´s performance in research is not as had been before. It is always dependent on the topic and the valuability of experimental outcome that the paper will reveal.

        Not new to me that many of the professors at Lanken Universities are very good professors. The bottom line keep their standards, even if there could have few cadidates that have no progress in their research. And not to forget, our universities get no such research grants – them being located on developing world. I know most of the european, american universities are connected to research bodies. So to compare ours with that of Europe, China, US and even India is not correct.

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    By investing 6% of GDP, are we going to fuel the present education system in Sri Lanka which;

    – Put them in a neck breaking competition for university entrance, eating into their valuable time requirements for rest of the childhood development?
    – Leave 95% of the school leavers wayward with respect to their needs for higher-education or professional training?
    – Making graduates in-line with the international trends in higher education, forgetting the country’s actual needs?
    – Expose the output of the higher education to all the irregularities and adversaries in the job market where a large proportion leaves the country while most of the remaining lot is used to work below their capacity?

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    Dileni

    Wasn’t the same so called Academics kept on publishing paper ads and released press releases with all their signatures supporting President Rajapakse at the last election? Couldn’t they foresee the current situation with all their talents that you talk so high of?
    This proves the famous saying by Lord Buddha that it is the wisdom that matters more than the education.

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      The MR government has had so many rounds of discussions with FUTA involving ministers and bureaucrats in order to resolve this issue and the discussions are still proceeding with Senior Adviser to the President and Economic Development minister Mr.Basil Rajapakse. That is the type of effort the government is exerting to resolve the issue. May be with any other government in power the academics would not have had such a patient hearing and that, my dear Lloyd, might be the wisdom the academics had when supporting the election of Mahinda Rajapakse.

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        Senor Advisor Basil is Mr. 10 percent , now up to 50 percent. He is a high school drop out without even a basic unversity degree and has not got a clue about research or knowledge production!
        So how on earth will this presidential sybling who has no qualifications but that he is mr’s brother, who only talks about tourism and is into land grabbing and Hotel building, going to understand, never mind sort out issues in Higher Ed when he does not know the meaning of higher education? of knowledge producation!

        Get real! What a pathetic state we are in with the uneducuated Rajapassa family running Lanka!

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          Sarinda,
          You are correct.There is noone fit to understand and discuss,on behalf of the government.
          Even the Z score fiasco is not settled – the UGC ignores the court ruling.
          Why this Z score was invented,I cannot imagine.Does anyone know?
          In the old days, only the marks scored, mattered.
          In 1950,3500 sat the HSC/University Entrance for medicine, and the top 70 were admitted – there were only 70 places.

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          DAS, I also believe, despite what the statisticians say, z score was a mistake.It is not complicated picking the best 20,000 of the 300,000 sit for A/L, the need to using non-transparent statistics should not arise. It was introduced during CBK time when a new A/L syllabus was introduced. Those students who sat for new syllabus did three subjects while those who made second and third attempts did the old syllabus (4 subjects). Instead of taking average of total aggregate the students scored, the ‘z’ score method was introduced. It was blindly accepted, or may be just forced upon the poor students. The irony is,these latest problems surfaced this last year,when the exact situation to 2001 arose, where two different groups sat for 3 and 4 subjects. Unlike what Mangy says today, the problem this time arose when the UGC made a remedial attempt to a problem created by the z score itself and the rest now is the continuing history!

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      Lioyd you are spot on. I know of a University Don who used to speak so vehemently against the Corruption of the then UNP, wasting funds on the Mahaweli and the Open Economy. He used to lament that some of his students had short stubs of pecils to write and broken pieces of erasers. He used to tell me that very often students of his used to faint at field classes, to find they have not had a proper meal for days and how he used to pocket out money to feed them. This University Don went to the extent, to come on TV in support of MR’s Presidential Election campaign. Both husband and wife hated Ranil Wickremasinghe and yet do so I believe. He is still in service and I wonder what his stand now is.

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    Arround 600 schools offer G.C.E A/L and less than 200 school produce students for Engineering and Madical faculties in Sri Lanka. This may be same for other subjects. From 1950 to 2012, educations system deteriorated. We know from 1950s to 1980s, Sri Lanka has heigher pass rate to American , British, Canada and Autralian medical exams. But, it is negligible now. Sri Lankan university teachers thinking Sri Lankan state universities have heigher academic standard. However, it is not ture. No Sri Lankan universities are in among 200 best universities in Asia. Look at the times or QS univeristy ranking. These two are most accepted and independent ranking system. University teachers are also responsible for this crises, not only pass government after 1990s. However, Chandrika Kumaranatunga has done some work for heigher education. She built 6 new universities and SLIIT and draft new university act in 2005. It included how to establish non-state universities and how they are monitored. Many Sri Lankans belive FUTA are not to oppose nonstate universities and they help to draft and implementation proper laws for non-state university. Heigher Education is heart for future development of the country. Sri Lanka is a develop or not-develop country depend on future law , regulation and investment on heigher education.

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    To Rubert Vanderkoon:
    You seems to have some grudge with university dons. How are you going to calculate the working hours of university teacher? Reading an research/teaching material even at home during midnight is a duty of a uni don as he has to use the knowledge gained during the leishure to educate the students. Not only the undergrads but post graduate students, attending academic discussions, conventions and so on. Universities are run by academics…. Only the finantial and clarical works are done by non academics. Academics have to spent their valuable time for the writing reports that govt authorities frequently requested,planning for action plans and administration and so on. Research publications…. Due to the administrative positions of many professors, they don’t have time for research, writing a publication or planning a research study. Writing a research article for a SSC journal is not similar to writing an article for a newspaper. Being selfish academics without participating faculty or university activities or doing very few lecture hours, any acdemic can do more research and more publications.If a devioted dean or a VC of a reputed university is concern he/she may have very few publications or none when compare to the non administrative period. Rather than critisizing need to be more practical…..

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      Mendis, Amazing you are still in a cloud cuckoo land. You have to understand that most people know first hand or at least understand the true picture. Most professors in the world do admin work, exam work, professional activities and everything else that you mention. You can’t say SL profs are extra busy, they are not. Most do work only a few hours a day. Make absolutely no effort to do anything extra for their students or the university. Of course there are a handful of quality profs among us but they can’t be taken as a benchmark to launch strikes. I have absolutely no grudge with anybody but I find it is wrong for so called ‘most educated’ to con the sytem and intimidate the common man. I believe academics as a group who could rectify the faults in thi society. May be not entirely but at least they could initiate. Instead, for example, priority in your kid’s admission to popular chools is perhaps one of the most immoral demands anybody has made in any trade union action. Why would any kid be different to any other? You can go round talking about other demand but when there are immoral items included, the demand paper has no value and you lose the right to get paid for not working. In fact, FUTA should advice their membership not to get paid for the period they are on strike, to set an intellectual example to the society. There is no justification for 6% demand, no government will take it seriously. But study leave and what people do and why have been discussed by many informed folk here. It is all a laugh.

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        Please do not mislead the general public. It is obvious you are not closer to university academic or you know some academics with less caliber and do not much in their capacity. Professors are not robots to work for 24 hrs/day. They have their own families to look after. You might know the academics where there are lot of senior acdemics… Then they have enough extra time as the workload in the dept is devised among them. But the reality is not that. Most of the university Departments are with temporary staff as their are no qualified people to attract with subject background. Then the workload is with the available staff. Most of the senior staff cannot take their sabbatical as they can’t leave without adequate staff in the dept. Do not see the negative side of the FUTA demands… You only see the negative side if all the demands like a govt. politician. Be optimistic.. then you could see the reality. Most of the academics we know work day and night as they have targets in university calender…..

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          Mendis, You are special! Try not to be ignorant, most people who make comments here, except one or two, are either academics or very close to them. You seem to one of those who only know about you. There are lecturers who work only 3 hours in the department but mot of the time is spent in their private classes/businesses. There are some who spend all there time around politicians, and others jut engaged in their own domestic affairs. There are a few who genuinely work but that is unfortunately the minority. Just look out of your window, you will see while some lecturers in addition to teaching, researching, supervising students, being the head of the department, he also attend a conference once a year or at least once in two years, while there are others who only teach a few hours, but run successful businesses, tourist hotels, tea estates etc. While the former is always a popular academic, the latter misses even a few lectures every semester due to ‘other’ commitments. There are also others who take sabbatical and spend whole year clearing his garden or giving tuition in his A/L class, while the department is full of temporary demonstrators and assistant lecturers (at least 12). We highlight these always but the system is so distorted and full of people like you who do not accept anything but what you believe as what should be happenning. Unless the system is revitalised and the scum is filtered out, increasing salary and giving more perks en masse is not worth it. Alternatively, a performance based promotional scheme would not be a bad idea either.

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    To Rubert Vanderkoon:
    You seems to have some grudge with university dons. How are you going to calculate the working hours of university teacher? Reading an research/teaching material even at home during midnight is a duty of a uni don as he has to use the knowledge gained during the leisure to educate the students, not only the undergrads but post graduate students, attending academic discussions, conventions and so on. Universities are run by academics…. Only the financial and clerical works are done by non academics. Academics have to spent their valuable time for the writing reports that govt authorities frequently requested, planning for action plans and administration and so on. Regarding research publications…. Due to the administrative positions of many professors, they don’t have time for research, writing a publication or planning a research study. Writing a research article for a SSC journal is not similar to writing an article for a newspaper. Being selfish academics without participating faculty or university activities or doing very few lecture hours, any acdemic can do more research and more publications. If a devoted dean or a VC of a reputed university is concerned he/she may have very few publications or none when compare to the non administrative period.
    If a probationary lecturer is concerned they have to do a research degree within 6yrs to get their position confirmed. If they wait for a scholarship from a reputed world ranking university during this period they loose everything. That’s why probationers are thinking of getting qualification within the limited time period. Though some grants have been provided recently for higher studies (partly abroad)that amount is not adequate if they do not granted certain facilities from abroad universities. True that acdemics are given study leave and airfare by the govt. But registartion fee/tution fee/ lodging & transport and so on abroad especially in cities where world rank universities are there is much costly. That’s why they go for low cost countries, not because they don’t have qualifications. They can’t find assurities for cost of the scholarship bond. Some of probationers have given up the profession and obtain the scholarship abroad.
    Other important thing to note is VC of the Hong Kong University has assured that their university is in higher world rank because of some Sri Lankans who have joined the Hong Kong University giving up the carrier in University of Peradeniya. These are some of the justifications for 6% GDP allocation for education with adeqaute higher education allocation. Rather than critisizing need to be more vigillant & practical…..

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      What is a SSC journal? We hear SSCI (Social Science Citation Index) and SCI (Science Citation Index) journals. Both journal rankings are developed by Thomson Reuters.

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      Not worth commenting to his – he is known to us all as appologist to the ruling regime. Not only for FUTA issues, Rubert Vanderkoon keep posting appologistic comments to this blog.

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    All polmices of Education is on positive trend after end of war.
    Very urgenlty need for better and higher of Island.We have produce more elite-orinted and knowledge-orinted secular democartic society in Sri lanka.

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    Doesn’t Rupert V. know that the FUTA members on stike are not getteing their pay?

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    sorry, it should be -But there are exceptions like medical graduates obtain their PhDs, ………etc

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    Getting militant about their salaries is justifiable and understandable. But demanding that that the government allocates a percentage of the budget for education, or for that matter for health etc., is political. We, the public, have elected a government to govern all of us citizens and expect them to allocate funds where it is most needed. If the FUTA thinks otherwise, they must come forward as politicians, face the hustings, and make their demand in parliament, not on the streets. When they enter parliament, with the blessings of the people, they can canvass their requirement. But what the FUTA is doing now is thuggery, and that must not be allowed.

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      Do you know that the former FUTA members who went to parliament being in the governing side they didn’t understand what the reality is although they were with FUTA.They have become muppets of the Govt using the govt supported media. Some of the professors who support the govt misguide the public and they have become henchmens of the ruling party as they want to survive with them and as they are getting much benefits from the govt. Media is also using only that type of people and do not invite nutral fellows.

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    Thanks for the intersting comments from Prasad and Sun. There are no any arguments with you on that SLn uni. professors should have good publications in reputed journals. We also know that there are also lot mal-practices in some universities offering professorships. Thus, there are some recent professors in Faculties of Social sciences and Management who can not write or speak English properly. Even these professors do not have Ph.D.s. No any publications. These are bitter truths. In the future, the FUTA should seriously consider these issues, if they really need to improve the level of university education in Sri Lanka. I wish Dr. Delini Gunawardena may provide a leadership for this.

    The next thing is the impact factor of journal. As I understand at least in my field (Broadely economics, specifically environmental/natural resource economics and development economics), impact factor does not reflect the ademic rigor of the publication. it indicates the degree of policy relavance of the publication. For example, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (JEEM) is considered as the top journal in environmental and natural resource economics. It is really difficult to publish in this journals. I know that native English Speaking professors also face difficulties in publishing this journal. But its’ impact factors is lower than ecological economics journal.In general, ecological economics is not difficult to approach for publication like (JEEM). Similar comparison can be made between journal of Development Economics and world Development. The impact factor of world development is very high. According to my memory it is around 6. This completely depends on the the degree of the policy relavancy of the publication not the academic rigor. In social sciences, particularly in economics it is very difficult to maintain the balance between academic rigor and policy relavance simultaneously.Thus, my point point is that it not correct to decide the standard of the publication based on the impact factor.

    Again you took the example from Monash. Few days ago, I talked with one of my friends who work as a professor at York in Canada about their promotion scheme (This debate was not started at that point).He has published in Regional Development Studies (UNCRD)and Asia Pacific Journal of Rural Development(CIRDEP). He mentioned that these articles were counted towards his professorship. Even Sri Lankan Economic Journal and South Asian Economic Journal are under the Econlit classification where JEEM is also classified. These are considered as good journals. Therefore, mark scheme for professors are determined by respective authorities. However, this does not justify offering professorships to the people who do not have any publications in reputed journals.

    In previous comments, SUN particularly mentioned about the faculty of Arts or Faculty of Social Sciences. Please note, in Sri Lanka, there are many reputed professors in economics. There was a professor at SJPU (Dept. of Social Statistics) who published in the journal of Econometrica. This is a very high level journal in economics. You never understand the material, though study economics or econometrics. I think that this professor retired now. There was a senior lecturer at UOC who published in the American Economic review now he is at the World Bank. As Dr. Dileni Gunawardena mentioned in her article, at the moment we have potential young fellows who have the ability to reach towards such standards. The FUTA want keep all these young fellows in the country. That is why we should support FUTA’s demand. If these fellows leave the country, it is not possible to create knowledge hub. If they leave the country, they will find well paid jobs in their field of studies.Howevr, I know that there are some young fellows who have great potential to get postdocs or assistant professor positions in reputed universities. Therefore, anybody should not discourage them using desctructive comments. The objective of comments must be improve the system not to destroy whole system

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      Wellsaid RW…. Thanks!

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        I am also thank to RW, he admitted that most of professors in social science and management faculties are not competent people. They hide their research pubulication in university stuff web-pages. See foreign university website (Eg: Lahore University of Management Science)how they give details about their publications, working papers and future research.

        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. South Asian Economic Journal and Sri Lanka Economic Journal are not quality journal in Economics. We know most of Sri Lankan university people publish papers in these 2 journals. Because, they are Sri Lankan journals and you can influence for the publication your articles.There are journal ranking system in the world such as SSCI, ABSD’s and USB-U.K. ranking. Try to publish these journals. UGC has to introduce quality journal list to Sri Lankan universities (Pakistan HEC, China HEC accept SSCI and SCI journals ranking as their journal lists).

        RW mentioned about two scholars who have published well reputed journal articles and he also admitted that one has retaired and other left from Sri Lanka. I know well reputed Sri Lankan professors who are working in foreign countries and they went to abroad because of frustration work with thei colleges. Not salary issue first. Foreign countries are better for talented Sri Lankan and they can excelled. If any professor is belive he is talented person, he would try to find a foreign university job than blaming to others such as VCs, Education Ministry, UGC, government and president.

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    Hi Sun, Thanks for once again your important comments and suggestions to improve the system. I would appreciate your suggestions such as to intoduce quality journal list etc. But I have several observations

    (I) you said that somebody can publish in South Asian Economics Jornal (SAEJ) and SLEJ, if the researcher knows the editors. Please do not come to such a cheaf conclusion. I know these two journals. If the researcher can not produce a credibal article, these journals do not accept the work. The other point is SAEJ is not Sri Lankan Journal. It is also published wellknown publisher SAGE publication. In addition, for economics, if the journal is under ECOLIT classification, it is well accepted for the promotion etc in anywhere in the world. But I aggree with your point that Sri Lankan professors and lecturers should try for Journals published in North America and Europe.

    (ii) Please also note that these tasks are not easy as we comment here. Even in economics, though it is a social science, we have to do original research which means we should need to colloect data at the household. This is extremely difficult and consume lot of money and time. The sample should be large enough to get publications in such journals. When we do econometric estimates, these journals request to use new computer software such as SAS, mircrofit, etc. Even sometimes their newest version. It is not easy to solve these problems within the existing university system

    (iii) At the end of your comment you mentioned that “If any professor is belive he is talented person, he would try to find a foreign university job than blaming to others such as VCs, Education Ministry, UGC, government and president”. Yes, this is the problem. Is it OKAY to leave the country when somebody disapoint with the university system (I undertand there is no ethical or legal barriers. we have rights what we want to do) But suppose if everybody does like that what happen to the future of the country. i know that it is not problem of people who leave the country. It is a problem of our bad, illogical, and spoiled socio-political system. This is the problem that FUTA is going to address, as far as I understand.

    (iii) To build a internationally recognized universities in SL, the FUTA must consider following issues (These are only few issues, much need to be done)

    (a) In the future, under any circumstances, Universities should not give extension for professors who are at the retired age and have not done any significant contribution to research. Even university should not allow them to conduct visiting lectures if they have not published in reputed journals recently. These professors should be responsible to the present crisis of education including producing unemployed graduates because they have not done any significant contribution to create innovative and creative education system throughout their academic life (I apologize from professors, senior lecturers and lecturers who spent their time to develop innovative and ceative education system in SL under numerous difficulties).

    (b) We know that some universities offer M.A. M.B.A. or postgraduate diplomas. In these universities, academic staff is not qualify to teach in these postgraduate level causes. Some professors did local masters then after sometimes became professors based on their seniority. They have only undergraduate knowledge during late 70’s. Therefore, they teach the undergraduate materials in these courses. I know some lecturers or professors teach research methods but they do not have any publications. The FUTA should take actions to stop these causes if there are no qualified academic staff to teach.

    (c) The next issue is External Arts degrees. I apologize from the external graduates and candidates if there is any convenience to you due to my comments. But some universities are doing business and producing unskilled graduates. This money has gone to the disqulified academic staff whome that I mentioned above. Thus, FUTA should seriously consider an approach that address this issues and improve the quality of external graduates. all you know that these external graduate do subjects such as sinhala, sociology, Political science and history etc (I am not saying we should not teach these subjects).The problem is that these subjects do not have commercial values. Thus, FUTA should lead universities to restructure the external degree program the way it will able to contribute to the skill development.

    Finally, We can see SL authorities are still sleeping. Now one month over, therefore, UGC should seriously consider FUTA’s requests and should reach towards an acceptable solution for both particies. The neglect of FUTA’s demands may create a huge socio-economic cost on both current and future generations

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    (1) South Asian Economics Journal is an official journal of IPS-Sri Lanka.

    (11) I am appreciated that you accept doing research and publication research papers in quality journals (North American and Europe) are more difficult task than teaching in classes.

    (111) I met some Sri Lankan professors working in Singapore, China (including Hong Kong) and Malaysia. These are they countries which has below academic standard than Sri Lanka, when Sri Lanka became independents. I remember Colombo and Peradeniya universities were in 30s Asian rankings in 1995/1996. Now, Colombo university is 600+. Our professors are working in Australia, US, UK, New Zealand. I know some Sri Lankan students who completed PhDs in high rank foreign universities (less 500 world ranking) are go to work in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Because, Sri Lanka is going to be failure state.

    I agree your point (a), (b), (c). I want to add two thing. When recruit staff, first priority give for PhD-holders with research publication, second, PhD holders, 3rd master degree with a thesis and next to degree holders. Another, student can apply for re-correction of their papers and the answer scripts should give back to students. We all know how much malpractices in paper marking in Sri Lankan universities.

    We can discuss these things in these columns. However, decision takers are UGC, VC, and Secretary of Ministries and Ministers/ President of the country. Most of these people are not look these comments or articles and they are in a deep sleep. Most PMs and Ministers are do not pass G.C.E. A/L and how they can understand visionary ideas. This country runs as DMT (day meal theory) and now, everything is Upside Down Theory (UDT) (DMT and UDT- These management theory are invented by Sri Lankan Politicians after 2005 and still can not find in management text-books). As our expectation, the better changes are never occured in Sri Lanka. We cannot change this country into correct path. But, we can correct ourselves. That is why most qualified person migrated to other countries.

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    Thanks, I agree with your comments. Yes, As you said nobody care about our comments here in policy making. I fully agree with your suggestion about the recruitment process. I would take this opportunity to make a request from Dr. Dilini Gunawardana and other FUTA members who commented in this column, please discuss my suggestions from (a-c) and SUN’s sugestion about the university recruitment process (giving first priority for the qualified Ph.D. holders in the recruitment process)in the FUTA, Faculty Boards, and Senate in your respective universities.Then bring it to the UGC steering committee.If UGC want to compete in the international education, in the first step, it should recruit faculty members who has research publications in reputed journals and who has educational experience in good universities in the world particularly North America and Europe.

    UGC and Sri Lankan education authorities should seriouly think about FUTA’s demand and also other structural issues in the university system. Non of the Universities in Sri Lanka can compete international education market.Under such a condition, to invite international students to study in SL universities is a big joke.

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    cAN THE futa MEMBERS MAKE TRANSPARENT HOW MUCH RESEARCH THEY HAVE DONE OVER THE PAST 02 YEARS TO MERIT THEIR DEMANDS IN VARIOUS FIELDS??

    REMEMBER NURALI’S CHUCKING EPISODE, RESEARCH INTO HIS ACTION IN DETAIL WAS DONE BY A SRI LANKAN PROFESSOR WHO HAD HIS FINDINGS PUBLISHED IN THE ERGONOMIC JOURNAL IN LONDON.
    hE OBTAINED HIS FIRST DEGREE IN sRI lANKA
    NEITHER THE GOSL OR SLC NOR futa NOR MURALI HIMSELF HAVE REALISED THE VALUE OF THAT RESEARCH PUBLICATION THAT SAVED MURALI’S CAREER & FINALLY ICC CAVED IN. DID FUTA INVITE THIS PROFESSOR A SRI LANKAN TO SPEAK ABOUT IT AND SHARE HIS KNOWLEDGE.

    FUTA NEED TO SHOW WORK & PERFORMANCE AND THEN DEMAND.

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    Appeal to the Moderator:
    Please stop putting in Rupert Vanderkoon’s rubbish, it only provokes arguments that have nothing to do with the issue at hand. However, it does serve those whom RV serves, the Rajapaksa Regime, by diverting attention from their misdeeds.

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