University Students To Be Trained By Military
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
University students’ unions have voiced concerns over the government’s move to introduce a compulsory ‘leadership training programme’ under the military to all new entrants from this year.
The Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) says there were doubts over the government’s move, as military leadership skills could not be applied to civil society.
IUSF Convener, Sanjeewa Bandara told The Sunday Leader that university students had doubts as to why the government has suddenly decided to give leadership and disciplinary training to students at military establishments.
“We all know the crimes committed by army deserters and had they adhered to a strict disciplinary code, they would never commit the offences they have been accused of, which include robbery, murder and rape,” he said, adding that it was hilarious to see students being given disciplinary training by such an institution.
According to Bandara, students who were earlier sent to university are now being sent to military camps.
Bandara made these comments in response to a statement made by Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr. Sunil Jayaratne that students who qualify for university education would have to undergo leadership training at a military establishment.
Dr. Jayaratne has been quoted in the media as saying that the new scheme would come into effect from May 23 for the next academic year and it would be compulsory for all students.
The training programme is to be conducted by the military under the supervision of university authorities.
The military training is to be followed by a three-month English language course.
According to Bandara, the decision to send university students for leadership and disciplinary training is all part of the government’s move to apply military rules to most civilian aspects.
“Senior military officers have been appointed to head government institutions and when the cost of living problem increased, the government got the army to sell vegetables,” he said.
Bandara charged that the government could not take such arbitrary decisions without consulting parents and students.
He called upon parents to think twice about the government’s latest move.
“This move would cause many issues and we are opposed to it. Parents and students must stand together against the decision to send students to military camps,” Bandara said.