Should education be a commodity?

20 April 2012 09:06 pm - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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When we talk about private universities, the concept of free education is not there. Be it private medical colleges or some other private colleges or universities. The problem is whether they are a boon or a bane to the free education system. Some people remonstrate that through the privatisation of education the quality of education dwindles. And then anyone would be able to buy any education qualification just by oiling the palm of some authority, which is alleged to happen today. Another thing is although we say that we receive free education from the government, our parents have paid for it. In other words that money is the money of people who pay taxes to the government.
Then it is the quality of education that is imparted to students in those private institutions. It is a public secret that their main target is to get money from the pockets of people. Moreover it is said that some so called professionals in those private institutions are not very well adept at the subject or the field they teach.
On the flipside there are mileages too. Some prefer private institutions because as in the advertisements it is a faster way of securing a degree or a qualification than waiting in the queue of students who wish to enter local university. Presently anybody after ordinary level can start their higher education journey without pursuing advance level which has become a fad nowadays. Then after completing their higher education they “gallop” into the job market quicker than our students who study even till that time.
Then another major issue arises. Why does the government allow those private institutions to be implemented in Sri Lanka? Are we not sure about the quality of our free education? Do those private institutions have something more, in addition to what we possess?
Besides, there is another reason. Although many students face GCE A/L only a minority of students get the opportunity to enter state universities. And another section can enter into national colleges of educations, sometimes willy nilly.  And this group includes students of sundry stratum of the society. And it is the same with the students who do not get the chance of entering state universities. So what happens to those students after A/L if they are not able to enter a state university? Is it their fate that they should stop following higher education since they did not stand a chance to go to a university? In a scenario like this private universities gain much consequence in the education field. Can’t the other students who did not go to a university follow their higher education given their private wish to pay for what they learn?People who remonstrate against these private institutions know the fact that there are only a limited number of occupations available within “a limited area”. I mentioned as a limited area because naturally a person would like to get a job in the proximity to his dwelling place. And when those limited number of occupations are displaced by those degree holders from private institutions, the state sector graduates naturally lose the chance of entering the job market. In a nut shell, they become unemployed. Think of the situation that would prevail if private institutions were not in Sri Lanka. Where would all the rest of the students go to? What happens to their future? Can’t they seek higher education?
In some cases though a student passes A/L with flying colours, due to the competitive bottle neck entrance to the universities they are left out. Therefore if private colleges or universities are to be eliminated from our soil many issues need to be addressed. If we are to raise our voice against those private institutions we must be assured that our local universities boast all the state-of-the-art facilities to every single student who passes A/L. And the professionals who teach should get the chance of updating their knowledge up to date. And there should be a good salary increment scale. Then another reason for the decline of the quality of education in state sector is the exodus we witness nowadays of professionals looking for greener pastures in private institutions here or abroad. Though the private institutions charge exorbitant prices for what they offer on the other hand teachers or the lecturers are offered handsome salaries compared to what they did get previously. And some universities do not have physical resources like classrooms enough for the number of students they have got enrolled to the university. But one thing is crystal clear. It is that the government, be it any political party, spends a huge amount of money on education. But when there are not enough physical and especially human resources in state sector, is it not natural for the students to resort to private governed institutions due to the efficiency of those institutions.
Anybody can claim that if we allow private institutions to take control of our education that we are selling education. But if we are to stop selling education there are issues at our hand to be solved as mentioned. Be it a private medical college or another private degree awarding college, we should offer education for all the students and those who wish to seek education. Just think if a problem emerges in a university due to any event, may be a clash between two groups in the university,  the university is closed for days. Then what happens to the others students who were not involved in that matter? Some students come to universities not with the idea of studying and getting the degree but for various other unimportant reasons. Does anyone like to get old just by passing their valuable time doing nothing? However an ordinary university student at least spends more than three years in the university, not because of the length of the course that he or she has chosen but due to various trivia. Moreover, when something is given freely it has no value.
It is the responsibility of all the citizens to question the reliability and the validity of whatever the qualification offered through private universities. Whether they are real professionals or bogus ones? If there is any fault then rectify the cases with hundred percent transparency. And it is incumbent on the government to assure the quality of those institutions. Then we would be able to answer the question whether the private institutions are a bane or a boon.   
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  • Mawahib Sunday, 22 April 2012 06:36 AM

    If all the children are educated and if their brains open there will be no place for corruption Government and there leaders So This Government should stop the free education then only you can read about the rapist and drug dealers in the lanka News or other

    gajaya Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:32 AM

    Free education is a blessing if it will be freely (in a free manner) accessible for anybody who really need to receive it.. But, in Sri Lanka, does every citizen of Sri Lanka has the equal opportunity to have this blessing? Aren't we just blindly following the colonial frame of an education system. All developed countries and major developing countries have changed and adapted more viable frame works in providing education. Its not the money that matter but the opportunities.


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