Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Free education...

Days before entering university and as I sit in front of my computer, I am thankful for free education. It is perhaps the single most reason that Sri Lanka has managed to stay float.. albeit not very successfully but still we are buoyant.

The problems in our country as far as macro economic planning etc. is concerned has not been the failure of the education system. Yes as far as employability and the tech "savvy"ness of our graduates goes there is plenty to find fault with, but we have covered the basics at least they have been given three or four years of higher education which would serve them in good stead in the future.

I have often heard and seen in the blogosphere and in society itself certain people being critical of free eduction. Why should we pay for some one else's education? I went to a private school I don't reap the benefits of free education etc.
( A Sri Lankan university; not cutting edge but it does the best it can.)

These myopic assumptions influenced by extreme right wing conservative politics do not portray a holistic picture of the benefits of the Sri Lankan education system. If you go to a supermarket the girl at the cash register learnt math because of free education, if you go to a police station the policemen were educated because of free education, doctors and nurses in hospitals judges and magistrates in our courts were all educated because of free education.

The wheels of industry and commerce keep turning because of our free education, though many capitalist businessmen are quick to argue towards the contrary their businesses and industries are well oiled with man power sourced from the Sri Lankan educational system.

Today we live in an era where the largest earner of foreign exchange in the country is foreign remittances, all the Sri Lankan manpower employed abroad are products of free education.
The objective of my post is to point out that free education has far more far reaching consequences and benefits that what just meets the eye.

We have excellent social welfare and health facilities that have steadily improved over time and is perhaps the only aspect of Sri Lankan life that we can be proud of. Though I am not entirely opposed to the idea of private education, I feel it is pertinent to protect and nourish free education as it is one of the few policies that has served our country well.


  1. Well..i agree with you Bawa.I am totally with free education. But the point of the argument is that when it comes to higher education(university level), a lot of deserving students are left out. ( the cut off marks, quota systems etc..) In general terms we can agree that free education in Sri lanka has done a great benefit to the country but when it comes to higher education only a handful of deserving students are given that opportunity. And we have to mind the fact that the gov cant accommodate all the students who get through ALs. Private entities must be allowed to tap into this vast pool of human resources. We have witnessed through our own eyes how the competition it has created had boosted the quality of the local university degrees which were once thought to be utterly outdated and unmarketable.

  2. I agree with u tht private universities should be allowed... but with heavy regulation so tht we dnt have something like the Ragama PRivate Medical School where even kids w/o O/L were allowed in.

  3. Well said. free education has the power to free the massess from self induced opression and otherwise.

    although, the government is not efficient at providing adequate reforms to ensure that education standards are upto date and ensures our students are equipped to met a competitive world base on their free education.

    but it seems that only the lucky few clever enough to enter campus and excel in the medical/ engeneering/ scientific fields are truly geared for success.

    there is a lot of improvement that can be done to improve our situation.

  4. Free education is probably a good thing. Certainly the system that existed prior to the 1960's was far superior to the present.

    Government interference in education, in schools and the universities has resulted in a huge drop in standards since the 1960's.

    If you meet an University of Ceylon graduate (and i'be met quite a few) there is a huge difference between them and current graduates.

    At one time the University of Ceylon was considered to be on par with the University of London and accepted worldwide.

    Post independence governments have ruined education, along with everything else.

  5. i agrees with skull upon this matter. me and u BAWA, are the lucky bunch. but what about the percentage of students who are not so lucky? Now they have to pay great sum of money for foreign universities to get hold of a degree and others who are not so financially fortunate are left alone. so my point is that govt. should allow couple of foreign universities to operate in country subject to certain regulations and they should allocate more percentage from annual GDP to provide more facilities to the centers of free education such as schools and universities then more people can reap the benefit of free education. Entry of foreign universities will enhance the competitiveness among the local uni's and then they'll bring their best to create the best academic professionals thru their institutions. if govt can implement such programme they can face accusations of some political groups who make use of this for their advantage to caste their narrow ideologies upon rural people.

  6. I agree with DRG on one point foreign universities should be allowed to set up campuses here.. but subject to strict regulation.
    As we all know third world countries have become a dumping ground for everythin, education is no exemption, we should have the legal framework in place before we open up to private/foreign universities and they should offer a certain percentage of their seats on a scholarship basis for local deserving students.