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Editorial - Closed until further notice

22 August 2012 06:30 pm - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The two-month-long strike by the university academics over a few demands kept the students on tenterhooks.
Though one of the demands put forward by the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) -- the salary increments-- was granted by the government, the academics said the strike would continue in order to attain their broader demands to find solutions to the problems prevailing in the current university system.  
In addition to the pay hike, the FUTA also demands that a six per cent of GDP be allocated for education. Depoliticising the universities and facilities to admit their children to schools are also in its list.

Things took a new turn when the Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake on Tuesday ordered that all the universities (except the medical faculties) be closed with immediate effect. With no speedy recommencement of the  academic activities in the horizon, the situation has trampled the hopes of many students who placed their faith on the tentative timetables and punctual lecturers.



The strike, which is no doubt gathering momentum, has been made a struggle of national importance. However, the brains of the country who try to validate their idle-mode on the grounds that their demands need to be urgently met, have failed to justify the inconvenience they cause the students. Their long-term demands that are supposed to be for the benefit of the entire student community, have conveniently ignored the immediate requirements of the latter. What hold them back are a dose of optimism and the unavailability of expensive options when it comes to finishing their higher education.

On the other hand, the government with its misplaced priorities has turned a sleepy eye towards the dilemma of the students, whose aspirations are held for ransom. The Ministry of Higher Education, that needs to  give precedence to the students’ welfare over everything else, does not seem to give in; nor do the university academics for that matter. Hence it is crucial that the two parties do not sandwich the helpless students between their unbending obduracies.

At any rate, the demand for the increase in allocations for education should not be a ploy to hit the public nerve in the lame attempt to pull crowds.  Then again, the government should have known better than to spend increasing amounts of money on defence after the war when ideally it should focus on fending the future.
Justice for the students who were forced out of hostels and libraries on Tuesday should not be delayed.  Minister and the top officials of his institution should see that these hapless students do not become an elderly generation of undergraduates.

A free education cannot and should not hold its beneficiaries imprisoned.
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  Comments - 2

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  • Shanel Thursday, 23 August 2012 04:22 AM

    Though it was ordered on Tuesday that all the universities (except the medical faculties) be closed, some selected postgraduate courses are being conducted in certain universities. Sad and unfair to those other students who are affected!

    Donald Thursday, 23 August 2012 05:47 AM

    Very good article. FUTA is bragging on future of education when the cry of the hour is educating the present students.


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