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Free Education in Sri Lanka

I saw in a recent article that the Sri Lankan government spends something around 200, 000 rupees on a single student for his or her primary education. But I think it’s much more than they estimate. Why I say so is that no one will ever get such an opportunity for 200, 000 rupees at a private college.

Let’s say a student is learning in an averagely facilitated college. Still he or she will get texts books and uniform material free of charge. There are serious problems in distribution of these stuff on time to the right people. But anyhow if a student has a burning need to learn I think they have a great opportunity.

I have gone to several tution classes during my school days as it is a common practice in modern Sri Lanka. But I have seen so many students who don’t need tution as they can do it by their own. Apart from the knowledge I got by following tution it gave me some sort of confidence. I think that’s why parents and students are looking into tution. But for some people it’s a fashion. That’s where most of them go astray.

When I finished my school days depending on my performance in Advanced Levels (GCE A/L) I entered University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC). It was a whole lot of opportunity. We had nearly 120 undergraduates. Computer labs which consist of nearly 40 machines were made available during the whole course. Of course there were shortages in facilities. But it was manageable. We had so many PhD lecturers. I think no institution or faculty in Sri Lanka has such a qualified staff. There were at least 12 – 15 PhD holders. There were very advanced digital labs for image processing stuff. Sony Ericsson provided a robotic lab, UCSC put up a very advanced large server room, they are handling the election results computerization. Most of all they developed a Sinhala kit which made Sinhala a default language in Microsoft Vista. We had libraries, hostels, a very good gym with carom, badminton, weights, chess and so many other stuff. We had around 4-5 cafes. Food was not yummy but very cheap. There were so many societies. Buddhist Society, Christian Fellowship, Unions, Science Society, Computer Society etc. There were all sorts of musical classes, dancing classes, drama workshops, carrier guidance units, counseling units, cheap photocopy and book binding places, gardens, study rooms, places for lovers. We had so many sports. Cricket, Elle, Basket Ball, Tennis, Martial Arts, Rowing, Swimming, Athletics, Foot Ball, Rugby, Net Ball, Hokey any sport you can imagine. There were sports meets inter faculty, inter university and inter national level. A grand Colors Night, Freshers’ Welcome (Freshmen’s Day), Going Down (The Last Day Calibration), cultural shows. We even had an arts theatre which screens films for just 20 rupees. That’s not all. The government pays something around 2000 rupees as Mahapola scholarship or as bursary every month.

Where on earth one can get all these for free? All I can say is ‘God Must Be Crazy’.

People who market private institutions can’t compete with any of the local government university in educational wise or any other wise. But they may have some good qualities which are lacked by local university graduates such as behavioral aspects. What I mean is if you go New York and eat rice by hand you may become the talk of the day. That social gap may be there since most of the guys in the local campus haven seen that alien world. But I’m sure they can grab that world if they are trained. I have seen it. The thing is general public doesn’t know all this. The private institutions take advantage of this and government body is not interested in marketing themselves. I believe there should be private institutions as government is limiting opportunities due to lack of capital. There are so many clever people who miss the opportunity due to some reason. I have so many friends who have come out of such places and making their names in the industry. So they play a great role but they can't just criticize everything (they can criticize what's wrong). If somebody is too simple then there is a big problem somewhere! (That's something I have experienced). Like so most of the people who have their kids in the private institutes or who are involved in those type of stuff just criticize as a habit without knowing inside just to defend what they do or what their children do (Not everybody does this. But most do).

We have a dark side too. There are strikes, fights, quarrels and everything. But eventually it all makes a very experienced grown man. Besides Science faculty of Colombo University does not involve in such acts. They have a very good non violent history in recent years. Because the government do all these some people in the university thinks it's a must to provide all these to them. That's where they go wrong and that's where they make the general public angry. Like they say you can't put leaches on the bed some of these rotten minded people who come from all over the country add black spots to the local universities. This happens due to the vast variation of different backgrounds of the undergraduates. If we take a private institution people are from a similar kind of a background as it requires some economical status to come to a place like that. So variations of the imagination or social status are somewhat narrower. So the problems are made lesser in those places. Like Hitler convinced a whole nation to follow a vision of unimaginably brutal some of these types of rotten heads become student leaders and activate their personal propagandas that make them big foots and eventually shattering futures of hundreds of their disciples. The Science Faculty of Colombo Campus was totally different in these affairs. Undergraduates were not easily fooled by these type of people. Most of the people who go astray due to this stupidity are people from remote areas who have not totally broaden up their minds to the world. They don't simply understand that they are being misused. Once they realize so most of them are too late. I have seen it so many times.

I saw step by step how guys from remote areas like Ampara, Monaragala, Nuwara Eliya etc. Coming out of the shell and making themselves respectable people in this society. Even people from war stricken areas like Jaffna, Batticaloa, Trincomalee got the opportunity to get rid of agony. Most of us got jobs even before we completed our degree. We have an industrial training (Placement) as a module in our degree. Most of the people are well paid.

According to the information I have shared here (They are my own experience. Not what I imagined or heard from somebody) free education in Sri Lanka is a golden opportunity. People who don’t take its advantage are crazy, stupid or blaming it just to cover up their incompetence. One doesn’t have to go to a university as it is restricted due to limited resources. But they better not blame the local body without knowing anything or knowing very little about what they are talking. Everything has pros and cons. At present some seem to find it a passion to condemn local education. I tell them it is a pure mean act of hiding their own incapability or it’s just an act of jealousy. They can do what ever they like but it is very unethical to provide general public incorrect statements and guide them to darkness. Thousands of hard working people in this country pay tax to keep this free education. We have a bankrupted government. All the big shots skip paying tax. The children of ordinary citizens in this country should take the golden opportunity of free education without spending their beloved parents money to make some big shots richer and richer. We are not pigs, cows or donkeys. Please do understand because the truth is out there.

It is FREE as in Freedom. Not FREE as in 'Buy one you get one free'. Somebody is paying for this. Who's paying? It's our hard working, tax paying parents. So get to know the truth and take the opportunity meant for you.

Please remember what they taught us when we were small and truthful. It's running all over this small poem. People who don't see values of free education, this small poem would leave them something to think over.

I have said all these and shared some of my experience just to make aware of anybody who does not know this. Please don't throw this opportunity away. I grabbed it. I had the time of my life. I feel it's my duty to promote it and make sure generations to come would use it for the goodwill of themselves and this country.

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