University non-academics have been on and off strike for quite sometime. According Ministry estimates the lost working days amount to an unproductive expenditure of RS: 2540 lakhs or a quarter of a billion. The total operating budget for the university system is about Rs: 8 bilion. It is easy to blame the non-academics, but as correctly pointed out in an editorial in the Lankadeepa, many days of work were lost also due to students attacking each other and other miscellaneous misdemeanors. It is about time we put a ruppee value on these disturbances and attach a name to each loss–the name of person at whose desk the buck stops.
Anisha Gupta Senior Communication Associate School Choice Campaign School Choice Campaign is directly addressing parents through mass outreach programmes and organising their inherent demand for school choice. We are also taking school choice ideas and ways to implement them to all levels of the government through our political outreach programmes. CCS is also initiating school choice projects to test and demonstrate the scope of school choice.
 A comment by one of our readers in another thread prompted us to bring this sensitive issue for discussion.  This input (text and cartoon) is from is just to start the discussion. We not necessarily endorse it or otherwise. ___________________________ “Everyone has the right to education… higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit” – Article 26.
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.
It is almost fifty years after the schools takeover circular of 1961. Schools for the poor were always fully state-assisted. Elite schools then were administered by independent boards and funded through a combination of private benevolence and state assistance. Elite schools were elite because children of the elite attended those giving the schools many additional benefits. Ironically, almost fifty years after the free education initiative, things have not changed much.
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.