Students taking a break from studying and monks taking a break from meditating. Are schools being shut down? No, they’re opening new ones. Hell, it’s a change. Let’s take a day off.
This is a brief response to Morquendi’s post on private education. For the record, he’s not a dumbass. I’m also selectively quoting a blog, which isn’t legally specific language. I do think some of the general arguments can take some criticism. Here’s a relevant excerpt:
“The World Bank suggested that private educational institutions be granted degree awarding status. There are many private colleges in Sri Lanka at the moment which offer American, British and Australian degrees but none of these are recognized by the University Grants Commission which is the highest authority on all matters pertaining to Universities in Sri Lanka.
What should’ve been suggested was that the State University network be developed and expanded to accommodate more students and offer a better variety of subjects. But the WB’s solution was for the Government (or other private educational institutions) to set up universities where you get in because you can pay, not because you have done well in your 12th standard exams.”
In short, the World Bank is telling us to grow up and move out of the house, while the protestors are clutching furiously to the government’s tit. I think the main protestor attitude is captured in this line – “What should’ve been suggested was that the State University network be developed and expanded to accommodate more students and offer a better variety of subjects.” OK. Good idea. I’d also like to build an elevator to space like Arthur C. Clarke said. How do we do it? Who is going to pay the teachers? Who will build the classrooms? What Morquendi is proposing is a magical system of handouts, where money flows into the Universities like manna from the heaven.
In more detail, this is Morquendi’s Take:
Upgrade existing universities. Increase the amount of English classes that the students have to take. Get English speaking students involved in teaching the language to their peers.
Open a dozen new universities in the provinces. Have more seats so more people can go to university. Especially the youth from the provinces.
Protect the Free Education system. At any cost.
Education is not a commodity. It is a right.
That’s a nice slogan, but it’s just hot air. How are you going to pay for 12 new universities? Professors salaries? More seats? Shouting ‘Education is a Right’ is easy, but actually educating people is hard and it takes – god forbid – money. Now, there are about 77,000 students that don’t get into Uni. Oh, and the 14,000 that do often pay for tuition classes as well. Private Universities would take some of the pressure off Public Universities and actually result in more places for students, expanding opportunities for everyone. What other disasters would Private Universities wreck upon Sri Lanka? Let’s see…
[Private Universities] will primarily teach IT and Management. There will be little space for people who want to learn the arts and humanities. We will be turned into a country of small scale entrepreneurs and nerds. (Yes yes I know all this talk is about private ‘Medical Colleges’ being set up but don’t take it seriously. It’s all about IT and Management)…
Everyone out of the private universities will speak English and the people who pass out of the State run universities with an honors degree in Management but with only basic English skills will have to go back to the farm.
So, his final argument seems to be that we should ban private universities because they would work. They could actually produce English speaking, capable graduates. Truly, it would be an absolute disaster if entrepreneurs and nerds started creating new businesses and jobs all over the place. Take to the streets!
The general protestor line of argument, put into comprehensible form by Morquendi, short-changes the country. To summarize, Private Universities would threaten the admittedly mediocre Public Universities. We should ban the Private Universities and build more Public Universities. In short, the creative solution they offer is Universities in the Air. They don’t exist, but at least they’re free. There is no plan or method to fund these imaginary schools, it’s just rhetoric to beat a good but compromised solution over the head. Protestors seem to assume that the government is some magical nanny with Universities falling out its ass. It’s not. I don’t believe in the government and I don’t believe in the tooth fairy. I believe in people, hard work, and choice. I don’t believe in magic.