â€œConversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.â€ said Oscar Wilde once. Going by what we see in Daily News, all we can say is Conversation about theÂ education is the last refuge ofÂ every unimaginative minister. Yesterday we read Prof. Warnapala taking a pot shot at the education system and today we read Dr. Amunugama doing more or less the same thing. The mystery is why these gentlemen who clearly see the problem not doing anything about it. Isnt’ it what they are being paid for? (Sorry we forgot now they are paid only 50% of it!)Â
Anyway, like any other citizen of this country Ministers too, are free to express their opinions on anything under the sun. Let us see what good Doctor Amunugama (PhD in Sociology, if we are not mistaken) has to say about education.Â
KANDY: An urgent need to change the education system to suit modern world trends is felt today more than even before, said Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama.
The Minister was speaking at a meeting at Kandy Udispattuwa Weerasekararama viharaya to mark the award of scholarships to students of needy families by the Japan – Sri Lanka Cultural Exchange Organisation on August 5. Dr. Amunugama who described the education system as a fraud and force perpetrated on the people, said a country could not be developed by stressing on the teaching of history and other arts and commerce subjects only.
Dr. Amunugama said “the education system is an illusion. It only stressed on the teaching of arts and commerce subjects. We cannot develop the country by doing this. If the country is to be developed we should teach modern science through the education system.
We should give top priority to information technology, science, international languages, mathematics and such subjects. For this there should be a wide ranging reform of the education system.” Dr. Amunugama said there was no doubt that children should know history and other arts subjects. But that alone would not open the gates of the modern competitive world to our innocent children unless they keep abreast with new technology and science.
Dr. Amunugama said the young generation of today were an intelligent lot with creative talents and ideas but their minds were being blunted by the present education system.
What is the point of using a colossal amount of State funds on education if the results gained was naught. Dr. Amunugama asked. “It is therefore our bounden duty to bequeath a modern educational framework which could conquer the world to our young generation.”
“It is parents rather than the Education Ministry or teachers who should decide the future of children. There is a public upheaved about school admissions today. Whatever it is the Children’s education should be entrusted to their parents rather than officials.”
Most undergraduates today were interested in demonstrations and protest campaigns rather than their education activities. Once they held a protest demanding water and police dispersed them by using water canons.
Dr. Amunugama said during a recent inspection tour in the Biyagama FTZ he was told that jobs with a monthly salary of over Rs. 40,000 were going abegging for want of engineering graduates. This clearly showed that children should pursue modern subjects. Dr. Amunugama said late Anagarika Dharmapala was one of the first Sinhalese to visit Japan.
Anagarika Dharmapala who visited many Buddhist temples in Japan including Beganji Viharaya in Kyoto later visited India with two Japanese Bhikkhus to witness the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi and set up the Maha Bodhi Society. This caused a Buddhist revival in Sri Lanka.
This religious link also helped consolidate and nurture friendship and close relations between Japan and Sri Lanka. Japan is a longstanding friend of Sri Lanka and we should also remember that Japan was our biggest donor.