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Friday, 24 August 2012

Naked.....


Naked....Truth



The regime has no clear vision to take the country forward
but neither has the opposition....

At least the regime knows how to make self-survival
but opposition doesn't know even that....

Can we go for a change of regime at present.......
Do we have an alternative.........? 
for many kilometers......

Hence, should we keep our mouths shut.......!!!!!
and watch the country........ floating away into the deep waters
deep, stormy and troubled waters........

Take off your spectacles and look around, 
with right frame of mind

I will be surprised if you don't see.......

Economic losses due to wrong decisions are reaching trillions.....

Corruption has been normalized.....

Waves of crimes..... or.....Hurricanes of Crimes...?????

Legal system..........a big ?

Foreign policies making more foes than friends.....

Education...!!!!!!! you know what I mean......


It is the regime that you selected
and the people that you elected
Thus..... You have the right to demand for..............
"A Change of Scenario"

It may not be the right time for change of heads
but it is the high time for demanding change of what is inside heads........

But how to demand that..............?

Much easier said, than done

Especially in a country, 
where we have a bunch of jokers,
call themselves,
"The Opposition"





B&W


BLACK AND WHITE




As I always state, Hugo Chavez was a super-hero to me until I talked to Venezuelans; not one but hundreds of them from all quarters of Venezuela.  Same goes with Muammar al-Gaddafi, Sadam Hussein and Ahmedijan. Masses of their respective countries hate them for ruining the pubic life. On the other hand, close analysis will reveal that they were not as bad as what the western media paint.

Further on the topic, we all know that Idi Amin and Robert Mugabe are big black patches in the global human rights map. However, if you are patient enough to go through the literature on Uganda and Zimbabwe  you may find that there are some people, although rare, still praise the two characters for giving some sense of pride to the respective nations over the ruthless colonial rulers that destroyed those countries.

When you analyse anything in your life, this "black and white" nature of the universe may clearly be understood and taken into account.



Urgent.... Z-Score Hell


Urgent Appeal to the Government



Z-score issue has left 6500 students stranded with frustration.
The whole nation including the cabinet, parliament, supreme courts and academia debates over the issue.

However, the sole focus of such cross-communication is to find who is the culprit.

The responsibility has been passing from one hand to the other.....
Finally it seems that no one is accountable for the mishap......

Someone, at some stage should think about a solution
Otherwise the whole nation will become responsible for 
an unforgivable sin

It is not a joke that...
the future of 6500 hard fought students is at stake

The only viable solution comes to my mind is 
the government to sponsor the affected students 
to do their first degree at a foreign university
in respective subject areas 
that they have been originally selected

To make this endeavor not leading to a new problem,
I propose giving the chance on merit to all the students
to select whether they would like 
to opt for local or foreign university
so that at the end all eligible students 
will get a chance to do their studies somewhere

If Rs. 3 million is spent on each student, on average,
the exercise will cost the nation Rs 19.5 billion

Big money hah!!!

This amount is exactly the same as the LOSS of running 
the national career, Sri Lankan Airlines, for the last few years

Forget about the loss of 13 billion 
for maintaining Mihin Lanka from 2007-2011
Forget about many many billions of losses due to
 IIFA, Commonwealth bid, Hedging and 
numerous other failed mega projects 

At least the proposed investment will bring 
new dimensions of knowledge to the country... 
for a new beginning......
Keep everything a side....
isn't it an issue on the future of the Children of Nation?

If anyone has a better solution...
please propose and bring it to the media 



Thursday, 23 August 2012

When the wife is pregnant....



Is Education that complicated....?


From the dusty pathways that lead to thatched roofed rural schools in Bangladesh to the neat boulevards that lead to classy schools in Sweden, I have walked through the education, many times in my life and witnessed the reality... which, one will never see by browsing through internet or talking to a third party.

However, I have not seen anywhere in the world that education is as complicated as that in Sri Lanka...

1. When the wife is pregnant, the couple runs like mad horses; looking for house addresses in the vicinity of popular schools and getting OBU/OGU membership.... Suddenly becoming so generous that they look for people in connection with popular schools to give big donations..sometimes even forcefully.........

2.  Mothers become half mad in taking their 10 year old kids to tuition classes until 12 O' clock midnight to get them pass the so called "Grade 5 Scholarship".......and aunts, uncles, grand parents, neighbours, friends, friends of relatives, relatives of friends...etc. etc. are keener on the kid's exam than his own parents..

3. Students sit for the exam called "Ordinary Level" and find the questions are extraordinarily tough and finally discover that the setter has made an ordinary mistake in the question.

4. Get through "Advanced Level" at 19 years of age to find that there is something called "Z-Score" on which their chance of entering a university depends.... and that Zzzzz thing is debated upon for months and years by the whole country.....even in the supreme court and the parliament.

5. Get into universities and find that there are no one to teach... 'cause the lecturers are on strike

6. When the lecturers start teaching; someone among the students find some reasons to strike...No education again

7. Even when education is given in full blast, what is taught is nothing but some notes prepared in the early 60s.. Thus, the whole education is on "HISTORY".......  

8. Passing out with colours, a majority finds that nobody is there to get their service....'cause they are not smart enough....and every graduate thinks that it is a duty of the government to give them a job.....

9. And by the time that any job-on-offer is grabbed, the graduate is married and the wife is expecting........  the cycle repeats...........

10. Those who get away from the vicious cycle at the end of stage 9 will leave the country, making the entire investment on his/her education by the nation in vain. 



Sunday, 19 August 2012

EDUCATION AS AN INVESTMENT




WHAT HAPPENED TO SL EDUCATION...? 

PART-5: 

AND NOW TO THE PAINFUL REALITY?



In the first 4 parts I mentioned everything that came to my mind... Disorganized and unsophisticated.

Now, let's look at our education with a broad and close eye.

There are five inter-related issues of concern at present.

1. Government expenditure on education is inadequate...

2. There is a dearth of jobs for graduates

3. Primary/secondary education system is deteriorating rapidly

4. University academics are frustrated with low salary scales

5. Tertiary education is being privatized 

Let's look at the government expenditure on education!!!

Why should the government spend on education? 



Whether state or private sector, one should invest money on anything with the intention of gaining something of value in return...A value that exceeds the cost of investment.....

The expected return on investment (ROI) on education may be multi-fold.............

To name a few: good citizenship; high productivity on the usage of local resources;  high efficiency in local governance, management & operations; high intelligence in addressing local issues; high-end skills that can attract foreign currency.... etc. etc.

Have we achieved any of these (by investing on our education so far), up to the expectation?

I confidently say that the answer is a big NO. 'cause otherwise we would have been in the first world as per the investment that we have made on education over the years.

WHY?

We spent on an education system that does not suit our requirements..............

We teach our kids what those colonial masters taught our ancestors when they were kids..............

Our kids learn up to secondary levels with the sole motivation of getting through the examinations. 

Those who go to tertiary level again have the sole focus on getting through the examinations, which they think is the license to demand jobs from the government.

And the few who go beyond, understand that their skills, knowledge and innovative thinking are wasted if they return to Sri Lanka, because there are no mechanisms in the country to acquire and  compensate or appreciate such wealth. 

Thus, they stay back... 

.....and their decisions are fully justified by those who returned to the country.... 

Just routinely work; lecturing, paper setting, paper marking, few administrative work, lecturing, paper setting, paper marking............ Once in a while they take a break by picketing, striking, slinging mud on each other or going after politicians. 



Thus, what is the solution?

Scrap the money invested on education....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is exactly what the present government is doing....

Now I am stepping into the dirty topic "POLITICS"

After the successful completion of 30 year bloody war, there was much hype among the public for a rapid economic boom. However, to the dismay of many quarters, the government showed many weaknesses in grooming the economy, betraying their successes in the battle field. 

They made an array of wrong economic decisions. In many (if not all) investments of mega to giga scale, they made few basic errors.

To name a few; An international harbour without proper marketing plan, a budget airline that sucks everything on its way, a power plant with wrong parts, a cricket world cup that ruined the entire sport in the country, IIFA, hedging, commonwealth bid etc. etc..... and soon the economy will be further burdened by an airport (Mattala) that will have no passengers or airplanes

Souring dollar rate......Minting mountains of Rupees......Running by loans with very high interest rates.......



Those huge losses cause the government to cut down unnecessary spending....

...And they were smart enough to figure out the SOLE unnecessary spending.......the EDUCATION.......

The Government Vision

-If there are no jobs for the educated people,
-If issues of the country are not addressed by educated people,
-If the country is not getting any visible gain out of education
-If citizens are turning out to be rapists, murderers, rogues, cheaters and politicians..............

 then why do we invest on education
...............why should we maintain government schools
...............why should we pay high salaries to lecturers
...............why should we build university infra structure

Let's privatize everything...... So that only those who think education is a worthy investment will spend on education............

Wonderful logic...

Is this the solution?



 (to be continued)


Saturday, 18 August 2012

WHERE ARE WE TODAY?


WHAT HAPPENED TO SL EDUCATION...? 

PART-4: 

WHERE ARE WE TODAY?



Now we are coming to the most critical part of this discussion. The current situation; which is much worse than those apparently complicated SB-Bandula saga and union action of dons.

Z-score problem may be solved in the next few weeks...by hook or by crook. Dons will report to work when they feel that their home front is too noisy to bear with.  But........

Let me start from one burning issue in the country. The garbage problem....... 



For years, millions of Sri Lankans have been suffering from the problem of disposing garbage..... There were many articles, many commissions, many ideas, many projects.....But the problem is still there. For some periods the problem is suppressed either due to the surfacing of other more critical issues in the country or due to the shifting of garbage dump from one place to another....

Are there any viable long term solutions to this problem from our learned circles......? Is there a mechanism in the country to acquire expertise from our knowledge base.....?

Is our education aimed at addressing the issues of our own surrounding?

Or are we producing 90% servants who want to be commanded to execute pre-determined tasks....? and the rest 10% who can think new, head towards the west 'cause there are no mechanisms to utilize their knowledge in the country !!!!!!!!

Check the link below to get an idea of what we have done for the last few decades

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=200204509990213&set=a.200204506656880.53051.100000019960628&type=3&theater

Now, those who take the sword against our graduates who went to USA and never returned........ Hold your strike for a minute and check this...... 

Go to the website of Physics Department, University of Colombo and check the research record of those many academics that have obtained their PhDs from USA and returned. Count the number of ISI journal papers that they have published or patents and commercialized products that they have registered.....Check their H-index at www.scopus.com

Pathetic isn't?

Now check the same with those who got their first degrees from the same department, went to USA for PhD and never returned. For an example let me propose Krishni Wijesooriya, my batch-mate who got second class upper for her first degree. 

........Countless number of papers and H-index of 22... Isn't it great... Now whom are you proud of as a fellow Sri Lankan?

Don't you see that something is wrong somewhere.



(To be continued in Part 5.......)




WHERE DID IT GO WRONG?


WHAT HAPPENED TO SL EDUCATION...? 

PART-3: 

WHERE DID IT GO WRONG?


It went wrong from the right beginning. From the day that Britishers changed the system. 

However, we felt that something is wrong only in the 70s..

The Britishers wanted the cream of locals to serve them... So that they introduced the examination system..... As long as the cream becomes their servants..... the rest could go to hell...

And the hell started filling up gradually...


Then came the free of charge education in the 50s......... 

An act of noble thinking...................but............

The endless master-slave loop was opened to the mass public. Old masters were already gone....new masters couldn't handled the play...

The cream of citizens wanted to become servants...but the house was full of servants....

Thus, even some creme de chicken were pushed into the hell... 

But the hell too was already full with those who filtered by the funnels of examinations...... 

At least at the time of implementing the so called "free of charge education", we could have thought about the purpose of this education... 

WHAT THIS EDUCATION IS FOR?

Unfortunately... there were no leaders at that time with such vision..

Since then we manufactured thousands who lined up to become servants; government servants or at least servants of some rich people whom we call private sector..... 

Our educated outputs are trained psychologically to become servants.....The process goes on until today...may be tomorrow and day after....


When the country had overwhelming number of servants and few masters.....the situation exploded... resulting civil unrest in 71 and 88/89...

Scores were killed and thousands were rehabilitated... but have we given a single thought on roots of cause????????

Can a country full of people with servant mentality be developed?

No one thought......!!!

As the economy started moving towards gorges and canyons... everything became unexpectedly worse. 

Today we are in a vicious cycle of which cycle speed becomes faster and faster........



PURPOSE OF EDUCATION


WHAT HAPPENED TO SL EDUCATION...? 

PART-2: 

PURPOSE OF EDUCATION





Sri Lankans have all the reasons to be proud of a "sound education system !!!!!!".....until late 60s.  How sound was it ....... ?


Why do we need education....? A million dollar question that we can debate upon for the next few weeks. 

In my opinion education is to make better human beings that can optimize the resources available for the maximum benefit of the society. 


We had such education system for few thousand years.  From the schools for royal families...through highly sophisticated "Piriven" education system..... down to rural farmers; knowledge was disseminated from generation to generation for the purpose of optimizing available resources. 

Suddenly things were changed in the 19th Century; as the British Rulers created the "new education system" through formal schools. 




Britishers established the education system for their own benefits.

They needed obedient servants for smooth governance. And the education system was formulated to produce "loyal educated locals" for such purpose. 

"Manufacturing cars was Britishers' job. Repairing them when they are broken was Sri Lankans' job". 

After a couple of centuries we still carry this concept..... as very obedient servants. We still are proud of being good mechanics who can repair any vehicle that those "masters" make. 




Instead of "optimize"; western education teaches how to "maximize" the usage of resources. And unfortunately, we Sri Lankans learned how to help Westerners maximize the usage of our resources.

To end  this part let me tell you some experience of my life....

There are few developed countries that generously support research in Sri Lanka. Those researchers who are funded by these funding schemes have something in common. 

They all do basic research......

These researchers may have listened to hours of preaching by the representatives of their funding agencies on the importance of doing basic research in our countries.... Those white people have broad smiles and stamina to talk nonstop for hours. 





They will lavishly fund you to find the symptoms of a mystical kidney disease or chemical composition of apatite or characteristics of lightning in Sri Lanka. 

However,  the day that you ask them for funds to develop a pharmaceutical for the kidney disease or ready-to-sell product from apatite or surge protective device to safeguard equipment from lightning.........

..........that broad smile disappears. Their words start emitting strong scent of discouragement.  They will start again preaching about the importance of basic research and publishing papers after papers......





...In between the lines, they say...."You servants of ours, the masters...!!!  Do basic research and provide us the information....in the form of research papers..... It is our duty to develop commercial products based on your data and sell them back to you.....Otherwise why should we fund your research"


....And I was once at the bitter end of this story.....






GOOD EDUCATION & BAD ECONOMY


WHAT HAPPENED TO SL EDUCATION...? 

PART-1: 

GOOD EDUCATION & BAD ECONOMY






For the last few weeks several of my former students and colleagues asked me to write about my views on the present predicament of education system in Sri Lanka.



I was quite reluctant to ink my papers on this topic as it is inherently tagged with another topic that I always try my best to avoid ....POLITICS!!!!!





However, I thought that it is now or never....So here I am on the move



Education and Economy



Education and Economy are two inseparable entities.



Category-1

A country with Good Education and Good Economy is blessed.. whatever some people of our country say; in Europe, Australia and US/Canada, people live happily... People from other parts of the world try to creep into these regions...not vice versa... 
The Power of Good E-twins.





Category-2

A country with Bad Education and Bad Economy is second only to burning hell. To name a few; Rwanda, Somalia, Ethiopia.... Ruthless dictators, general public that love guns more than bread....and human life... not worth a dime.





Category-3

A country with Bad Education and Good Economy is a transient state. Singapore and Hong Kong in 70s, Malaysia in 80s and most of the Middle Eastern Countries and Saudi Arabia at present. By pumping money to upgrade the own education system and attracting foreign brains, they make their way forward towards category-1






Category-4

A country with Good Education and Bad Economy is a dilemma... most often in the full throttle on reverse gear. Smarter minds leave the country looking for greener pastures. Sooner or latter such country will end up in Category-2 unless a master brain comes to the rescue.. Unfortunately our own Sri Lanka is a sparkling example of category-4 that will soon get into category-2.