Saturday, January 28, 2012

The IUSF helps the Government – We need a rational basis to improve the ‘Free Education System’

The Inter University Students Federation or IUSF colloquially knows as ‘Anthare’ takes its ideology from pre JVP times into a Marxist Leninist way of the world that is now not even accepted by those traditionally assisted this philosophy.

It is therefore easy for the Government to point the absurdity of their demands, consigning them into a bunch of morons in public debate. A seminar held yesterday under their auspices brings out a cabal of extreme left wing groups, which included the Maoist Students Federation, that called for agitation against Private Universities being set up, and that Free Education is a right of all up to Tertiary level.

Let us go back to basics. In Sri Lanka today, Free Education at Primary and Secondary Level is available to all who seek it. At Tertiary level it is only available to about 10% of those who qualify to enter University. The other fact also is that this so called free education sucks in quality!!!! It may be due to the incompetence of the management of Education by the bureaucrats, the lack of adequate funding by government, the incorrect perception of Education by teachers as a career opportunity rather than a dedicated vocation, and the expectation of individual rights by citizens, without a commitment on their part to make it work as good parents or school supporters.

Based on this reality, it is impossible to offer a GOOD free education system for all, due to a combination of the factors referred to in the previous paragraph. We must then make do with what we have. We cannot move mountains, but we need to work in partnership that is the State, the Public, (including parents, sponsors, companies, past pupils) and Private Sector educational institutions to improve the quality of education offered to the Citizens of this country so that their true potential in maximized, and thus lead to a greater degree of justifiable economic growth, achieving the targets set for quality of life of all our citizens.

This partnership is NOT happening as the State has failed to take the lead in promoting a policy that is realistic, implementable, along with a proper allocation of resources to achieve these goals. This is what the fight should be FOR. Not against those who wish to spend money of their own to set up institutions which will charge fees and admit pupils at their own risk so that they can earn a qualification they (students) believe will lead to better prospects than what a non fee levying state institution could offer. I therefore hope a sensible National student union will emerge to agitate for this Basic DEMAND on behalf of students.

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