Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Is it any wonder that the State Universities in Sri Lanka should be abolished!

Yes that’s right! ABOLISHED. They are beyond resuscitation meaning they are DEAD, and no wonder the products of this system are unable to find remunerative employment except perhaps in one or two exceptional cases like Medicine, where the doctors can multiply their meager academic salaries by earning 10times that by moonlighting which is permitted.

As the article this morning see below for link shows (worth a read) the remuneration is fixed, and so an idiot academic is paid the same as a brilliant one, and so is there any incentive on the part of academics to go out of their way to teach, once they get tenure?

Not everyone is altruistic, who not caring for their pay checks has real concern for their charges, and therefore impart their knowledge to their students and hope they are able to grasp the conundrum of success, which means constant striving for creativity and innovation.

This again is the classic Socialism vs Capitalism question of lack of INCENTIVES and understanding Human Nature.

The students at Universities DON’T help their cause as they don’t seem to grasp the dilemma they are faced with, in a system that takes in the best and brightest and churns them in a ringer, and removes any degree of confidence and vision they enter with, leaving them shadows of their former selves when they Graduate into the outside world.

It is time for some radical thinking, NOT just putting some sticking plaster to prevent bleeding. We must begin with a more results oriented approach, if we are NOT to waste so much of the state’s resources which could be more usefully spent elsewhere.

The $64,000 question is how do you measure performance, and who do you entrust this measurement process on. In order to do this do you sell your Universities off to the highest bidder, or at least lease it for 50 years to a team who make certain claims that they can fix it. People are Human after all! Will they then just do what they want to increase their personal satisfaction? (wealth, power, following, psycho state) or will they work with the public good at hand?

These questions need answers if our economy is to grow, and we are able to produce the Human Resources of the future that the Country NEEDS!  

Another good article that should be read that covers creativity, a vital by product that MUST come out of the University system, which is currently STIFLED see below for link

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


In my trilogy of blog entries before this, I was exploring the problem of Education and resulting employment and was concerned that even those enrolled in courses that are desperately required for Sri Lanka DO NOT SATISFY THE COUNTRY’S or their personal requirements, resulting in a huge waste for both the Country’s or their resources.

One of the comments was that the answer to this is having to pay for their education, so they will choose subjects where they are more assured of getting that needed job. Whilst I am in broad agreement that this will increase the probability of satiation, I am not altogether happy with the current system, where there IS NO PROPER BASIS OF ASSESSMENT OF PROGRAMS in Universities and many students and their parents are UNABLE to choose courses that will truly help in achieving the goals.

This problem is NOT UNIQUE TO SRI LANKA alone, and even in the USA where even a Masters Degree is not worth the paper, as there are many masters graduates who are merely FEDEX drivers, where their qualifications, DO NOT lead to jobs, it is important that students follow courses (some extremely expensive) with a level of probability of employment.

The most important point to note here is that they follow this course the day they finish sitting for their A levels and NOT after they get their results, something that is now possible in many private university systems. Further if possible my advice is to SKIP A LEVELS and go straight to follow the tertiary course, as you are likely to emerge with a degree by the time you are 20 and even have your masters by 22, leaving you with a headstart in the job market, but for which you are likely to be in debt for a few millions!

It is still better as you will be able by 27 to have paid your student debt, and have 5 years experience in your field, the age at which the State Graduate begins to look for the job!

It is therefore important that informed choices are made in the course of study leading to a qualification that you wish to have and a career you have SET YOUR MIND TO, and more often than not you are likely to achieve your life goals.

The other tragedy of Sri Lanka is that whatever you do, and whatever qualification you get, the level of remuneration is pitiful, to achieve the goals of marriage, building a house, and taking care of your family, without help from parents or relatives.

A minimum monthly income of Rs50,000 is required, and it is hard to get that in most jobs in the first 3 years of employment when one has the needed experience and qualifications in a chosen profession. No wonder then that the only alternative available is to seek employment overseas, even in a field far below one’s qualifications, as there is NO alternative but to go!

The challenge facing any Government is to match expectations with employment and economic policy must be designed towards achieving this goal. It is easier said than done when the MAMA TITIES have not been weaned to face reality from imagination!      

Monday, June 22, 2015

State Universities – A lottery only where there are more losers than winners

You enter a State University after 2 years of wasting your time before you do an iota of academic work, by which time your study ethic has disappeared and you are ripe to be exploited by an ideology that is completely outdated, namely the IUSF (JVP affiliated Student Unions that tend to dominate the system)

You struggle for a wasteful 4 year period, and earn a degree, at a University that does not prepare you to make you aware of what is available in the outside world, and you are effectively thrown on the scrap heap!

This is a severe shock to the system as your family tell you that you are so fortunate as one of only 1% of the best of the best in Sri Lanka to have entered university and obtained a degree, and you wonder why no one is giving you a job. Unfortunately the facts of life have NOT been taught at University, and no one like me will be allowed into the University system to tell you the facts of life either!

The IUSF students are busy agitating to ban private education. Why? Simply because, it is only those graduating from the private sector who appear to be getting the jobs, leaving only public sector jobs for the state graduates.

Then how do you get a public sector job? Yes, now with the increased income of state sector employees, the illusory benefit of a Public Sector job is even greater. I personally know many private sector employees are clamoring for the same public sector job, as they cannot handle the pressure of performance, of piece work, and productivity, being told that they have none of that in the public sector and don’t even have to come to work on time, as they don’t have a fingerprint scanner to sign on and can leave by 3.30pm to go home.

This compounded problem, means that offices of politicians are flooded with people wanting to be placed in jobs. Letters from Ministers and MPs and recommendations, saying they have been stalwarts of the party through thick and thin are dime a dozen clogging the arteries of government, everywhere you look. It is the manna from heaven, the “State Sector Job for Life with a Pension” that everyone is striving for!”

This is the third in a series of continuous blog entries that lead me to write this as a culmination of the trilogy. This same person who I met in the first entry is still sitting in the office waiting now for 5 hours, to meet the Minister, hoping that by meeting him, there will be some difference, and that he will get the job! There is NO way he will get what he wants, and his hopes will only be further shattered. I asked him over the weekend to send me his CV by email, and he did not even have the courtesy to reply to my sms, as I wanted to send his CV to some contacts in the private sector to see if I can help. So obviously he did not want a Private Sector job or even be considered for one, as some member of this family or his colleagues would have convinced him that, the NLDB is the surest way to achieve his goals, whatever they maybe and he should pursue the dream no matter what!

     It is time we wean our babies in Universities from their mother’s milk and teach            them a thing or two about the big wide world out there, that to succeed needs                courage and risk!     

Sunday, June 21, 2015

It’s the Z score stupid – enslavement to a number not a dream!

Following on from my previous blog posting on the inability of a course specifically designed to ensure graduates who complete this specially vocation related syllabus, to provide gainful employment, I would like to make the following observations and invite comment.

UVA WELLASSA University on the outskirts of Badulla was constructed on the premise that those who graduate from their vocation related courses would find NO difficulty in obtaining gainful employment in their particular field of study.

Thus, when I enquired from this graduate, if he had taken steps to search for employment in the related field of study, the answer was in the affirmative, and what was worse, was that his fellow classmates were in the same predicament. I am picking on ANIMAL HUSBANDRY specifically, both because I am a farmer with NO TRAINING in either Agriculture or Animal Husbandry. In many senses I would have liked to have had the knowledge these graduates have in this field, and to think both Agriculture and Animal Husbandry graduates are unable to find work in related fields and are looking in other directions is a tragedy in itself, especially as the state has paid handsomely to provide an education to them, at the expense of training farmers who are actually engaged in this same field, so that as a Country we will be able to develop a culture of those going into the above fields with the necessary tertiary degrees!

The reason as I have already discussed at length in my various blogs, especially www.villagerinsrilanka.blogspot.com is that the font of knowledge required in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry exceeds that required of a Medical Doctor or Specialist and if a University can train these people, so they are equipped with the technical knowledge needed for this purpose, we in Sri Lanka CAN REACH the next level in food production, namely that of efficiency, productivity, and optimum use of resources currently hugely wasted.
The specific example I quoted to the Graduate who spoke to me about his inability to get a job in Animal Husbandry was that the person who milks my cows is someone who has done it for 30 years, in the way he is used to and who will NOT change his ways. I know that just by milking techniques I can immediately double the yield, and with further improvement in the nutrition and feed, and basic care of the animal, again double the yield for a 4 fold increase if I had some practical knowledge, and expertise, to which I have not expended resources, and further with the right mix of animal double the output further, leading to an 8 fold increase from present!!!! That is the challenge facing us farmers, and that is the solution the state was expecting by producing vocation specific graduates.

The unknown factor here is if taking students in with the required Z score is the answer, or if there is a rigorous aptitude test needed to further supplement the Z scores, though I do know that there is some kind of selection based on aptitude too at UVA WELLASSA!

It is how we pick the raw material to follow the courses, and the University MUST take the initiative in placing ALL these students in paid employment with an element of practical experience

Friday, June 19, 2015

Leading our Graduates astray! Where are we heading?

A few minutes ago, I confronted a boy and his mother who were waiting for one of our colleagues to come, so that he could speak to the Chairman of NLDB relating to a letter given him over a month ago, with a minute in pen written by Harrison the Minister of Livestock Development!

This was from a graduate of UVA WELLASSA in ANIMAL HUSBANDRY from our Electorate, who had got his degree in 2012 who had been trying for over a year to get into the NLDB! I put him in touch with another colleague of mine, who knew the Chairman personally to help, and I started thinking about how he should have approached his employment prospects.

As a Dairy Farmer myself, and as one approached by Anchor to find them land to build a model Dairy Farm, why is this person so adamant on getting a job with the NLDB. Surely there are so many private farms who are seeking QUALIFIED people to work in Dairy especially as the Govt. is getting more Milch Cows from Australia and are in so many private public partnerships to enhance dairy production in the Island with a view to at least producing 50% of the national milk requirement locally.

What is the problem? Whose responsibility is it, and how should people like this go about finding productive and remunerative employment?

To add to this there is NO proper job bank system, where people like this can post their resumes for interested parties to look and call for interviews. Obviously I asked this guy why has he not been in related gainful employment from the day of getting his degree, and wait so long! He has even worked in Fisheries in the Maldives. Was the latter because the remuneration was better than he could gain by apprenticing with a Dairy Farm Company?

I was not able to in the short time to ascertain the answers to these questions, as I am flummoxed that if he has searched for a job in the private sector and NOT been able to secure one, by now, UVA WELLASSA has failed him.

I have a high regard for graduates from UVA WELLASSA as the University was set up to have degrees in fields that can directly lead to a worthwhile and productive employment. I am in two minds whether to send this blog post to the VC there, so he can understand the problems facing the students who leave the University.

I told the boy, that I believed it MUST be the responsibility of the UNIVERSITY to use their contacts like after placing him in an internship, to also place him in a job for a year of apprenticing, which is ESSENTIAL to get the next job, and step on the ladder of FARMING as a career both essential for Sri Lanka, and hopefully beneficial to him as a lucrative career in the future, once he has mastered his art and skills to be productive.

This is another instance of ‘public’ foolishness to go behind a politician to get a job, and when even the letters have NOT worked, keep on pressing hoping to succeed. Is it due to the perception that Govt. job at all costs is the only goal, and to hell with the Private Sector? 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Condolences – How about it being timely for a change?

In the Sri Lankan Parliament, condolences are taken up on the last sitting day of the week, and the chamber is very poorly attended, and the family of the person, usually an ex-MP who has passed on, come to listen to the condolences from all sides of the chamber, as party political differences are set aside on these days, to pay tribute to the deceased!

The trouble is it is too long deceased. Often the condolence is for an MP who has died over a year previously. How ridiculous can that be? Kalpanakarananna what an anachronism that is. This happens when tradition takes over from common sense, and we are enslaved by tradition, not realizing that tradition is all cockeyed.

Contrast that with the wonderful tributes given in memory of Charles Kennedy the previous leader of the Liberal Democrats, who died the day before yesterday, and the condolences were heard in a packed House of Commons, just after Prime Minister’s Question Time!

We in Sri Lanka are very quick to dismiss anything English as being peculiar, but think of no better time, just after the death of the MP, long before even the funeral service, which will only be attended by very few close friends and family, that the House takes time to give ALL those who wish to say a few words of condolences to do so. The son of the MP only 10 years old was in the visitor’s gallery to hear the eulogies for his father from those who were from opposing camps in the House of Commons.

Frankly should we waste our time attending funerals and funeral houses, sometimes having to travel miles to do so, and take the best part of a day, from a very tight and busy schedule when these self-same politicians who do this funeral round, can eulogize instantly in a short period in the Parliament Chamber, where Hansard will record what they said.

It should be all about prioritizing life, doing what is important, and recognizing people when they need to be recognized, and NOT when you set a time for this tribute.

Kalpanakaranna is the order of the day, and determine that it is high time, that useless practices are scrapped, and sensible alternatives adopted for life and death! Only then will society grow up from a slumber of enslavement, where reason for certain practices are NOT questioned, but followed BLINDLY.

When will Sri Lankans really open their eyes and see fraud for what it is, and politicians for who they are, and boru show for what it is, and lead a life of sense and sensibility?

Imagine how you can remember a man who has departed this world so long, that when you are asked by his family to say a few words, you are at a loss for what to say! A word of condolence a day or two after the death will come more easily to the mind, and the instance related in a more human sense, reminding us of the uncertainty of life, and the real need to express our loss in words that are truly personal and not contrived for an audience, where speeches are written for you.

Time for another time out, change the rules, and replace outdated practices with novelty!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

CA Sri Lanka getting a taste of its own Medicine

As a UK Qualified Chartered Accountant, who had to completely depend on my monthly income as a Student Trainee Accountant to live, I have been a critic of the CA Sri Lanka, and its practices vis a vis its students for a very long time. CA Sri Lanka uses false advertising practices to entice students to enroll with them, without coming clean on what the students can expect and the chances they may have of survival through to qualification and admittance into the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka.

I might add that I never applied for reciprocity to get admittance into the Sri Lanka Institute as I would then be a party to this crime, and would not be strong enough to affect any change from within. I have had very constructive debates with my father who is one of the oldest living Chartered Accountants in Sri Lanka, and who has NOT had any recognition of his contribution to employing, preparing and encouraging future Leaders of Sri Lanka, many who now occupy the highest positions of Government, Commerce and Industry in Sri Lanka, over this very issue! 

It is therefore with interest that I just read another article by a recent student who is articulate enough to further elaborate another aspect of deficiency of the Institute by incongruous rules built into the Student Training Contracts, so as to effective enslave them!

the CA Sri Lanka elected officials had better take heed to these warnings sooner rather than later, if they are NOT to face a class action lawsuit that will put all these partners in big audit firms in jail for infringing on the human rights of the people they purport to assist!

As a Chartered Accountant, I can firmly say that the training and potential training can give an individual what it takes to lead any Organization or even any Government anywhere in the world. It is therefore necessary that the people who enter this field are selected on all round capability and rewarded in a way to maximize their productivity to our society  as they can contribute immensely to the development process of Sri Lanka, and the short sighted failures of society namely the Partners in Large Firms who just vegetate there as they will not be able to find employment anywhere else, are left to Lord it over CA Sri Lanka, and determine the fate of thousands of the best in Sri Lanka, and possibly suppress the creativity and talent of those who enter the training period, by their very actions, aimed merely at protecting their turf and their income.

This is NO DIFFERENT to the JVP unions who have resulted in some extremely promising companies closing down and leaving Sri Lanka, due to their selfish practices, only thinking of their personal well-being instead of the greater good of the Nation, the recurring topic of this blog.

     Let us hope we finally are able to attract some true leaders to the CA Sri Lanka for        change!