Sunday 19 August 2012

Our Education-5: Education is an Investment




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 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 in 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 in education over the years.


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 works, 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 in education! 

That is exactly what the present government is doing.

Now I am stepping into the dirty topic "POLITICS"

After the successful completion of the 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 on the battlefield. 

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,

-why do we invest in education
-why should we maintain government schools
-why should we pay high salaries to lecturers
-why should we build university infrastructure

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)

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