The universities are back in to utter chaos. Nothing to worry. Looks like we have a competent minister of Higher Education who knows university administration as the back of his hand. Why he does not put his theories into practice is the million dollar question. Was it George Bernard Shaw who said, those who can do; cannot teach?
Now we know why the poor people in the country (like Magi akka who sells kadala for the students of Horowpathana Vidyalaya and Haramani ayya who plucks coconuts) cannot speak good English. They have not been taught English via satellite.  Anyway, this looks like a worthwhile effort. When everything else fails why not try satellite medium?  ____________________ Digital talking books for the visually handicapped, reducing gender based violence through ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and teaching English to the rural populace through satellite technology are some of the programmes that are underway through the Partnership Assistance Programme (PAP) of the Information and Communications Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA).
By Chathuri Dissanayake and Isuri Kaviratne   As student clashes and student-management disputes increase in the State universities, the quality and standard of the local universities was being questioned with university academic activities being disrupted regularly and campuses hit by academic staff shortages. This week Rajarata University students launched a hunger strike demanding improvement to basic amenities such as hostel facilities and provision of lecturers and lecture halls. Last week’s clashes between Arts and Science faculty students in the Colombo University resulted in hospitalization of two students prompting the authorities to close the two faculties for the week. The Arts-Science student dispute in Kelaniya University ended with the Police arresting one student while the University of Visual and Performing Arts was closed for academic studies at the beginning of the year for nearly 100 days. These are few of the instances where university academic activities have been disrupted during the year.
After we have published the news item about Neasala, we have received some interesting photos from one of our regular readers who wish to remain anonymous. We publish only four of his photographs three showing the now defunct Siltulpawwa Nenasala and the last one a set of prospective users. A plaque says this Nenasala was opened on June 24, 2005.  Our reader writes… I see no logic why anybody wanted to have a tele centre at a place like Situlpawwa. It is 13 km from Kataragama, (on a very difficult road that takes 2 hours to cover that distance) in the middle of a jungle, with no nearby villages.
Once the renowned economist Milton Friedman said, “Let parents choose to educate their children wherever they wish at the taxpayer’s expense. The principle of this idea is simple and it said, “the state pays; parents choose; schools compete standards rise; everybody gains.” This shows that even the fathers of neo-liberal economic policies advocated free education but not what we have understood and are ready to protect sacrificing even lives. Sri Lanka had many achievements to be proud of and one of them is the high standard of education. According to statistics the higher literacy rate around 90%, is the highest in the region.
The young men and women you see here all are undergraduates, but please do not be misled that they have made their annual batch trip venue Isurupaya this time.  According to today’s Lankadeepa, which published this photo these people who underwent the Tharuna Aruna programme demands jobs from the education authorities.  Wonder who gave them the funny idea that the role of the education ministry to provide jobs for otherwise unemployable graduates.    

Assist special schools

Posted on July 4, 2007  /  0 Comments

As one who was closely associated with Education in the Assisted Special schools for over three decades and now retired, it gave me great joy to read in the Daily News of June 8 that the Government by a Cabinet decision has granted its approval to a memorandum submitted by the Minister of Education for the revision of the code of regulation of assisted special schools. The code of regulations for assisted special schools which has been first introduced in the 1930s is antiquated and outdated and needed revision for a long time. In view of this situation, the two principals of Ratmalana schools for the Deaf and Blind C.H. Gunawardana and K.
(02nd July 2007 – 00:05 S.L.T)  The government has no capacity to continue with Mahapola scheme says Minister Bandula Gunawardene, Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs. He said this at a ceremony held to donate Mahapola Scholarships to 642 students who have qualified to enter universities from Galle District. Addressing the gathering the minister said though there are cries to increase Mahapola grant it would not be possible to do so.
COLOMBO:Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad inaugurated the first of the 20 Nanasala that the Indian Government is financing at a cost of SL Rs. 13 million. Irrigation, Water Management, Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa was the Chief Guest. President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, also participated in the inauguration. The 20 Nanasalas have been carefully selected so that most of the districts in the Island will benefit from the project.
Is this saving ‘free education’ or using a section of university students to run errands for JVP?  Please note the timing. This is the first demonstration by IUSF for three years? Where was this IUSF for the last three years? Didn’t this threat to free education exist in the period between 2004-7?