I spent a whole day on Saturday on the Liya Diriya program, which is a women’s empowerment program to assist women in achieving their individual life goals, by identifying what it is they want, and showing them a path on how they should go about achieving them. We visited 8 of our Societies in this Divisional Secretariat Area.
One of the people I met was a girl in her 20s who is a graduate in Philosophy from Peradeniya University, who has actually done nothing in the past 3 years since graduation, awaiting a teaching position in the State Sector. I was quite incredulous about this, and asked her to come to my office on Monday, and I would try and see what advice I can give her.
The first thing I told her was that we the tax payer has funded her four years of education at a sought after University, and as she did not have to pay personally for her education, she has obviously not valued it, and so is not repaying to society, what she has received from society. The argument being her mindset would have been different had she taken a loan to fund her education, and then had to repay this, she would definitely have undertaken some form of employment to repay her debts, by now.
What she said was that she wanted to become a teacher, and on the first attempt she DID NOT get the required marks at the exam for teachers appointments, and so she missed that chance, and later as she moved home, the exams had been held already, and she is still awaiting the next exams for teacher appointments in the current area. What a load of COBBLERS if I ever heard of it!
A level LOGIC is a subject she likes and one she would like to teach at a school once she gets an appointment. She has no idea when this might be, and her parents are happy to feed and clothe her as they believe that is the best job for her, and is also a plus for marriage material too!
I asked her why she did not go to a local TUTORY of which there are many here, for a temporary job to help out in a class, in an administrative capacity for a tuition master teaching LOGIC at A levels. Then she will get some idea of how this subject is taught. She can then further be convinced or reject her life goal of teaching this subject and broaden her horizons further, and explore possibilities that she has hitherto shut out from consideration. Apparently her parents will not approve of this! I told her to explain to them, why this is something to consider UNTIL she achieves her goal, and the logic behind going that route, no pun intended.
I told her as a student of philosophy, she has had the advantage of being able to understand thought and evaluation, and if she had used that to choose to stay home for three years actually doing nothing, as a matter of choice that was the best alternative for her!
If that was so and she can justify it to herself NOT me, that is fine, except that the State has invested a sum in her education, and does she not have a duty to repay the state (as in Society) for this education in SOME WAY, only she knows how.
Obviously, these are thoughts that have not entered into her mind, having studied in Sinhala, and not broadened her mind into learning English from which greater possibilities can be opened, and a new world of lifestyle choices presented.
She did knowledge that looking back. at her school career, the number of teachers who were clearly NOT qualified to teach were many. She did not get the required marks for the teaching exam, as it is another exam (like all others) that you go for tuition classes to pass, as they train you in how to answer the stock questions that come up. So, though it maybe general knowledge, it is always a small subset that is being asked, therefore hardly being GENERAL! And she had NOT attended these classes.
The obsession with classes, and tuition before any exam in life, as those classes, merely prepare you to pass the exam, giving its format that is easily learnable by rote tuition, leaves me to think that in all Public Positions, teaching, govt. service, and the forces, those rote learners who attend classes only get admitted, perhaps not the best people for the job, just good at memorizing and hopeless at logical deduction!
Little wonder then that we encourage a society of zombies who will believe anything that is fed to them, by Papers, Radio and TV as well as in the bully pulpit. This subset of people rule over the creative, logical, intelligent, entrepreneurial and productive subjects, forcing them into being submissive, to their whims and fancies. This creates a society where anyone with any sense will leave, as those of lesser intelligence prevent their advancement. This in a nutshell is the story of Sri Lanka.
It is our duty to cut this vicious cycle by handing over education to a trust, that the Govt. cannot interfere with so are unable to use political machinations to fill vacancies, that recently made a mockery of the whole system, yet again. Until the capable, clever, and desirous of teaching people come to the profession, we can never produce a workforce that is up to the task at hand.