Education: The only way forward for our politicians - EDITORIAL

13 June 2014 08:00 pm - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


The standard of politics has declined so much in Sri Lanka that we must seriously consider the need for high educational qualifications for those who wish to enter politics at parliamentary, provincial and local council levels.

In most other important fields – ranging from medicine to engineering – anyone who wishes to practise needs to have a degree from a recognised university. Whatever the criticism against him maybe, Opposition United National Party Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe recently pointed out he was a graduate of the Colombo University. Graduation or higher degrees are not status symbols but an indication that the person concerned has a deep understanding and insight on the area concerned.

After independence the first D. S. Senanayake government comprised giant figures including S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, T. B. Jayah, J. R. Jayewardene, Sir John Kotelawala, G. G. Ponnambalam, Dudley Senanayake, C. Sittampalam, George E. de Silva, Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, H. W. Amarasuriya, E. A. Nugawela, Sir Senerat Gunewardene, Sir Lalita Rajapaksa and C. Suntharalingam. With so many Knights it was like a Hall of Fame. All of them may not have been graduates but they were veterans with vast experience and made an immense contribution for the common good of all the people and the development of our country. That is why they are remembered with deep gratitude today.

Some 60 years later the quantity or the number may have increased to a world-record level of about hundred today with even political observers and analysts not being aware of who is doing what and knowing only the names of Ministers holding major portfolios. But the quality and the educational qualifications of the politicians have gone down so much that most analysts today often refer to the criminalisation of politics and the politicisation of crime.

While other fields such as medicine and engineering, architecture and law are important, the decisions taken in the political field often affect all the 22 million people in Sri Lanka. For instance, if the Cabinet decides to raise the price of bread to Rupees 70, all the people of our country will be seriously affected. That is the main reason why many independent political analysts who wish to see a restoration and revival of the standard of politics in Sri Lanka are calling for a graduate degree to be among the qualifications required. They say that we must at least start with parliament and then go down to provincial and local councils where nominations cannot be given if there is no graduation.

The legendary Nelson Mandela regarded as one of the greatest statesman of the century, has said education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. The famous American broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite has said whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation. Even radical figures like Malcolm X, though often associated with violence, has said education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.

With most parties insisting on political reforms, including the abolition or major amendments to the Executive Presidency because of the national and international crises we are facing, it would be prudent to insist that political science is a compulsory subject for politicians.

  Comments - 4

  • Renu Saturday, 14 June 2014 12:40 PM

    We have now Not Knights but Kudu Silvas,Rataran snachers, illicit ethonol dealers, rapists,muderers, gamblers, ganja GROWERS . sO IT IS UNIQUE. UNLIKE 60 YEARS AGO AND VERY ABALY LED

    Dr Najimudeen Saturday, 14 June 2014 01:16 PM

    The politicians no need to have higher qualifications. The best prime minister was D.S.Senanayakke and the best president was R.Premadasa. Both of them were not academically highly qualified but they were very remarkable. In fact most of the damages to the country were done by the highly educated people like SWRD.Bandaranayakke and JR.Jayawardane

    Shanthi Peiris Saturday, 14 June 2014 01:33 PM

    All political parties, specially the ruling party should thoroughly screen their candidates and make sure they have no criminal record before they nominate such candidates for future Elections. To turn the corrupt lawless Banana Republic back to former Democratic Sri Lanka and recover the lost respect of the International Community, introduce legislation that no one with a criminal record could hold public office. We all know this is very difficult as the Legislature will see only a few could remain, but have no other alternative. The situation the Country is facing today is mainly due to a corrupt, crazy bunch of Jokers with criminal back grounds ruling the Country.

    Rohan F. Saturday, 14 June 2014 02:14 PM

    Sri Lanka's politics became most corrupted under current regime. As long as crooks, thugs, thieves and cheats govern our country there will be no peace, prosperity and progress in our country.
    Sri Lanka's economy , finances, infrastructure and development should be managed by a a board of Qualified directors. Not by corrupt politicians.

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