Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Heed retired dons’ words of wisdom

The Island, July 3, 2012, 7:44 pm

The well reasoned appeal in ‘The Island’ of 2nd July by a group of retired university academics of state universities on the proposed TU action by FUTA is timely, appropriate and merits serious consideration by all who have the future of higher education at heart. This group includes professors emeriti, vice chancellors and even a former chairman of the UGC ! Hence one cannot dismiss it as one aimed at ‘toppling the government’!! Broken promises and unmet deadlines have soured the relationship between the country’s intelligentsia and those at the helm of affairs.

There has not been even a semblance of common courtesy when meeting with or discussing matters with top officials of the Ministry of Higher Education by what has been reported in the media. The covert threats to the president of FUTA and his family have to be unreservedly condemned and has been done promptly by the media even editorially.

The discerning public too would understand that the academics have more than one reason to agitate in this manner. Their concern about entrenched political interference and total disregard for concepts of university autonomy have been echoed by the retired academics as well. Only those who blindly and faithfully follow the dictates of politicians with blinkers on would think otherwise-and most likely for reasons such as perks, privileges or personal gain.

Let us hope that the responsible authorities would respond to this appeal positively and meaningfully and do everything possible to defuse the tense and strained relations as what is at stake is the future of public education and state universities in Sri Lanka.

N. Amarasekera


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