On Education

A long overdue and something I’ve been wanting to write about for a while now. I did a quick search through my posts, because I have a very failed mechanism of keeping track of what I write. (and apparently I’ve written posts like this also, haw) But turns out I haven’t written a rant an essay on “Education” specifically, (I did write one on Tertiary Education in SL for Dummies in case you want to have a lookie) and Yudhanjaya beat me to it. While I completely agree with all that he has to say and also learnt quite a bit on things I am otherwise less concerned about, this post is primarily driven by the traffic-makers sitting in front of Open University, Nawala for “xxx” number of days in a supposed සත්යග්‍රහ (I don’t know how you get the other piece in Sinhala nor do I know the direct translation of the same). The translation would be something on the lines of the little demonstration gimmicks that Gandhi tried and our local students are failing at attempting. Also, please note that I have nothing against Gandhi.

*dhoti moment*

Screenshot-ted off Yudhanjaya's Facebook profile. Yes, he is a sweetheart and let me do so.

Screenshot-ted off Yudhanjaya’s Facebook profile. Yes, he is a sweetheart and let me do so.

Before ranting speaking further on the education situation let me just give a little insight on where I “come from” with regard to this university business. I read for my first degree in India, yes Mommy paid for all of it (and I found out about the scholarship scenarios only after I paid my fees, meh) and will hopefully read for a Masters degree or something on those lines in a local university, soon. (These mind you are paid for as opposed to undergraduate degrees)

If you are not from Sri Lanka and happen to stumble upon this educational post, I would advise you to read the very informative page on Wikipedia over here. But if you are too lazy to read that, let’s narrow it down to education in Sri Lanka = free education. But of course, if you want to educate your child in a private institution, no one stops you from doing so either.

How (I think) the System Works 

I once spoke a little bit on the tertiary education system scenario as linked above, but that is of course more subjective than this one and for want of a better word, very silly. We are all allowed are silly opinions online noh.

  1. Cream of the Crop
    Those who do get into local universities, are definitely the cream of the crop. Please do agree to disagree or disagree throw tomatoes in my face if I am incorrect, but for someone who doesn’t get into local university or does not make any attempt to do so, it sure does seem like it! Given that ALs are ruled by this Z-score premise, which I only “know of” but do not really “know of”, the chances of getting in to local university, especially if you are from Colombo, are pretty slim (to none).
  2. The Science Kid
    The Z-score scenario works something on these lines afaik, the stream of hierarchy for Z-scoring, highest to lowest :
    a) Science
    b) Commerce
    c) Arts
    This means, a science could have passing grades and still get into local university as opposed to an arts student who has average results.

    But that is not the problem here. 

    The problem here is when the passing-grade science kid sits on a wooden benches, which were actually reserved for the average-results arts student. But since university selection is done on Z-scores et al, this is inevitable and the next thing we know, we have more non-arts-stream lawyers coming out of university. Haw.

The “Private-University” Student Perspective

As per traditional beliefs, I’m not allowed my opinion on this subject as I was a “private” university graduate. I frankly think this is silly because while I do not know how “your” education system in local university works, what I do know is that we are both in university for the same reason: education.

This is also why, I don’t understand ridiculous protests by students, demanding all sorts of nonsensical things. In university, though we paid into getting ourselves into what we did, we ironically had more rules than most of the university students here. Completely disregarding the fact that I was in a South Indian university and this called for a dress code of “long covered Indian clothing”, we also had to abide by a 85% attendance percentage attending classes six days a week 09am – 04pm (till 01pm on Satudays) for three years. Failing to comply means penalty (in cash yes, because education is a lucrative business). For me, this was an extension of school and far more disciplined. The latter was especially surprising given that my school was fairly compulsive on discipline. In retrospect, I’m quite happy about the relatively-rigid training as today, as I think the discipline is what helps me hold everything together.

But when I see the sort of protests university students find themselves in, I am quite curious as to what sort of secondary education they were subject to. I’m not criticising schools here, it’s just disappointing to see the values set out by your schools so easily forgotten (after fourteen years!) once you step out from it.

What’s more interesting is also how there are also local university graduates whom I am very good friends with and have worked with, who are simply wonderful people and were definitely smart and worthy of the education they received. While I do agree on each institution: school, university, workplaces, religious congregations – having their fair share of troublemakers and rebels who are responsible for the downfall and negative publicity of the entire community, the ratios over here (to an outsider) seems inverted.

So what does all of this horse shit mean to me? For a country with a supposed literacy rate of 98.1%, we not only display primitive behaviour fighting for causes that are ridiculous but also have become successful in creating a generation that is either aggressive or apathetic (as myself).

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