by mathawaada (mathawaada.blogspot.com)
Growing up, I’m sure your parents kept telling you that you have to finish school with good grades, get into a good university and land a good job. Well that is the usual stuff they tell you to define success in life. Education is a basic human right, something that all humans are entitled to. But most of the time, something as essential is not absolutely free. Here in Srilanka, some of us are actually blessed with a free education system, funded by the government, which really means that we are paying for ourselves. Anyway, that aside, the ‘government’ education system provides for thousands of children all over the country.
It goes from the primary’s all the way up to the universities. The problem with the government system is that, when it comes to higher education system, placing is limited and the quality is not adequate when compared on a global scale. This is not to say they are incompetent, but rather lacking in skills that someone who studied abroad would possess. The seating is limited, a quota a places is given to each province and entry is gained by sitting for the local AL exams, and scoring above a given target.
Now that we have established that, lets move onto the other options a Srilankan student has. Another option is to go abroad, note that these options are in no particular order. Students either go to foreign universities by choice or because they have no better option. The problem with this is that some who go don’t return, leading to a brain drain and to ad to that a large amount of money leaves the country as well. An estimated 80000 people leave the country annually for higher studies, so if each spends a low average of 2 millions rupees, that’s a whopping Rs. 160000000000 which goes out of the country.
There are some students who are unable to go to a foreign university because of financial limitations and not able to enroll at a local university because they haven’t done the local AL’s, instead maybe the London AL’s. The only option this person would have is to get maybe a professional qualification like CIMA and maybe hope for a good job with that. But since recent, there are Srilankan institutions which are affiliated with foreign universities that allow the students to study in Srilanka and receive the same foreign degree for a fraction of the cost.
This has opened up an avenue for thousands to pursue their dreams and gain a proper higher education in their own country, thereby keeping the money within it. In logic, it is a great concept which will help the country in the long run. But has recently been met with much hostility from those in the government run system. These individuals are calling for the closure of these institutions saying that they are decreasing their chances of getting a job. They say that instead of wasting money of foreign degrees, the money from that can be used to ‘expand’ the government system.
But then comes the point of expanding the government system? The government system first needs to improve the quality of its output then consider expansion. Education is a right that everyone has, just because it hinders the chances of another, that another has no must not try to take away the right to education of that person. The reason the person educated under the foreign system may get the job is because he is better than the other candidate from the local system. It is a blatant way to say it, but it is reality at the end of the day. So instead of trying to shut down and wasting their time threatening other institutions, should they not be using that time to push for reforms in the current system to improve it.
It does seem the logical thing to do, if someone is better than you, must shouldn’t just try to eliminate that person, you have to work hard and get better than him. In all,education is every one’s basic human right no matter what.