University education is a subject much talked-about by all Governments that have been in power since independence. The number of students qualifying for university entrance is always greater than the allocation available at present. It is impossible for the government to provide University Education to all who qualify.
Most students, who have been graduated from State universities expect job opportunities from the State sector. It hasn’t been possible either, other than for the medical profession. Very soon there would be a saturation of doctors who could be employed by the government.
Students show violent attitudes and demand for facilities which at times are beyond the administrative perimeters of the universities, such as accommodation. This is the one and the only country where politicians induce students to protest against establishing private universities. In most countries, the level of education is higher in private universities in comparison to their State counterparts.
There is student militancy in the government universities but we haven’t witnessed any in the private campuses. This shows the private undergrads value their educational activities over political rivalry.
Due to these activities by students’ movements and university administration, propel qualified students from the affluent class to seek education in other developed countries. The other students, after successfully obtaining their degrees from foreign-affiliated campuses are recognized by certain professional bodies; mostly through influence but not on merit. If the parents can afford to send children for overseas education, it is their discretion. but the country loses the much valuable foreign exchange.
Allow the private sector to offer seats for the less privileged students to obtain a degree that is equivalent to those of the State universities. A solution to this, is to have a common examinations conducted by the State universities or by the examination department. Government schools have facilities for students to choose GCE O/L and A/L in the English medium which is also conducted by the department. Students from all over the world sit for the London O/L and A/L as it is conducted by a Private Institution in London, and not by the UK government.
Universities in Sri Lanka were amongst the best in the world until the1970s. But now the Sri Lankan campuses are not even in the list. Who is at fault? It is the successive governments and politicians. It is the younger generation that loses its future. There was a time when students of State universities had been graduated at age of 22 – 24. Now it has moved up to 29. Those who obtain his/her degree from foreign universities may or may not return to Sri Lanka. Again it is the country that stands as a loser.
Encourage Private Sector to open more universities. Government could provide students with loans at low interest rates through State Banks and to be paid back in 60 months; possibly after graduation. This system is adopted in most developed countries.
There will be protests by certain student movement groups with a slogan “Adyapanaya Vikunang Kanawa”. But the children of most politicians study abroad. Because they can afford for it.
Of the approximately 10,000 schools in the country. only around 800 have science labs. Politicians do not encourage for more schools with science labs. Some village schools do not even have drinking water or sanitation. They do not allocate money from the decentralized budget to help the masses but always voice for political gains.
The Government is on the right track to allocate funds for fertilizer and school uniforms. Now let us take a step further by offering low interest loans to students who were deprived of State university admission to obtain a degree of their choice to continue at private universities; especially in the fields of medicine, engineering, law and so on. Even at this late stage, if the country is to keep pace with the rest of the world, bold decisions have to be made and left-oriented ideologies kept with the Leftists.