COLOMBO: President Mahinda Rajapaksa affirmed his commitment to provide equal educational rights and opportunities to all, sans racial, religious, castes or other prejudices. President Rajapaksa made this affirmation on Tuesday when he presided at the annual 2005/2006 prize giving of his Alma Mater, Thurstan College Colombo, to distribute prizes and special merit and skills awards to the winners. “I have allocated Rs. 70 million in the last budget, a sum never allocated in the past, intending to provide quality education to all, based on the premise that it is the onus and obligation of the Government to do so,” he said. The President pointed out that teachers always seek transfers and strive to serve in urban schools where all facilities are provided.
This unedited and apparently amateurish video clip available in You Tube shows Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President speaks to a group of villagers and teachers at Mahavilachchiya on the issues related to school education. Gives a good idea about the type of problems at the village level. We will be glad to know how or whether the things changed after this discussion. http://www.
Universities, from Nalanda in present-day Bihar to those in Bologna and Harvard, emerged from religious contexts. It is therefore appropriate to look to religious context for guidance on how to reform the university system. The solution to our problems lies in the bringing of upasampada from Thailand (Siam) in the 18th century and from Burma (Ramanna and Amarapura) in the 19th century. The problem Sri Lanka’s universities no longer qualify to be called universities. Some say the cause is students; others say it is political interference.
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.