Higher Education and Prospectus of National Development

2012-05-29 20:59:06

By Devaka J.Punchihewa

Prospects of peace has given the country an opportunity for new economic development, and created potential for the tourist industry, growth sectors like BPO, foreign direct investments. The massive drive for infrastructure development and agriculture gives the idea that the ruling government could have seized the opportunity to become more productive and more competitive in the global economy.

In the aftermath of 30 years of brutal LTTE terrorism, arises a historical opportunity to develop this tiny island into a well-developed society in the modern age. What was the secret of Singapore’s success? As Lee Kuan Yu mentioned, “There was no secret; we had no choice but to take a chance and sail into rough waters”. Political stability and good governance were implemented as prioritized concerns. But in Sri Lanka our political leaders ruined growth prospects simply by wasting foreign exchange on useless expenses as world renowned economist Joan Robinson (1959) commented “Ceylon has tasted the fruit before she has planted the tree”.

In contrast to Sri Lanka, Singapore adopted a development strategy of growth driven, purely pragmatic and adoptable to changing circumstances. Lee selected highly skilled professionals from various sectors as his cabinet. They were paid handsomely to make politics attractive to such professionals. And political leadership remained non-corrupt and so did the rest of the country. Apart from that Singapore heavily invested on its only resource at that time “Human resource” and focused on providing an “efficient infrastructure” for the country. The post war situation in Sri Lanka, is crying hard for that kind of attention by the government. It is quite evident that the university students’ struggle for the protection of Higher Education in the country will have a positive impact on this domain. If the trade union action is continued it will deteriorate the whole spectrum of the development dream put forwarded by the “Mahinda Chintana”. It should be noted that the government, largely the Ministry of Higher Education is likely to muddle up the growth prospects in the wake of widespread controversy generated by the trade union action by FUTA. Therefore an amicable solution must be reached if they want to save not only Higher Education but also the people's franchised government.

We are a poor governance in which corruption  has become a major constraint to the economic development for the last sixty years. Therefore corruption must be eradicated while good governance should be implemented without any delay. ‘Good Governance’ connotes the widest meaning but politicians in our country seems to be abusing it very often for political advantage. It encompasses the entire process of public administration, the processes underlying the formulation of public policies, and above all re-designing the various instruments used to realize the concept of a welfare state.

The government and the high profile political leadership must understand that corruption undermines revenue collection capacity, contributes to fiscal weaknesses and causes macro-economic difficulties. As a result, Sri Lanka has reached the level of Rs 5 trillion worth of massive outstanding loans by the government. Accepting bribes  is common by some politicians, public officers specially highlighted in Controversial Hedging deal but no action had been taken instead the Supreme court decision was reversed and the discredited secretary is yet in the Treasury. These malpractices must not be tolerated or repeated by any political leader who really loves this tiny nation.

The writer is a senior
lecturer, Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce,University of
Sri Jayewardenepura.

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