A free education that grants the freedom to protest
by Daily Mirror Editorial
Dec 1, 2011

With the pandemonium at the Rajarata University that saw the Vice Chancellor being locked up in a room at the Puliyankulam Medical Faculty by a set of students, there arises a very rational question as to where the country's education is heading.

Among many countries where education is a paid privilege, Sri Lanka stands out as an exception where it has not only been made a right of every child but also being provided free of charge. Thanks to the yeomen service rendered by C.W.W. Kannangara who made sure that education was not restricted due to reasons such as one's caste, ethnicity and social status, opportunities were made available even for the youth from the rural areas to come to the capital and reach higher positions in different spheres.yet, the ungratefulness had been the norm of the majority who not only misuse facilities that are given free but also go to the extent of taking things for granted. The current state of education is an exact portrait of this ungratefulness, which, if not remedied immediately, can last in drastic consequences.

The incident places the education policy-makers in a bad light, who seemed to have got their priorities wrong in deciding on the values and qualities that ought to have been instilled in the students through the syllabi they set. Instead, their policies have not only failed to achieve the expected targets but also they had ended up producing book-smart thugs instead of street-smart intellectuals with a conscience. No doubt, the Rajarata University has been having many issues for the past decade which often drew the students all the way to the Lipton Circus to vent out their grievances. Perhaps their past records at Lipton Circus must have told them that it is no more a salubrious place to protest against the so-called injustice, given the tear-gas and water attacks they had to endure in the previous instances. Sadly, their intelligent brains had been unable to grasp the simple logic that resorting to a more diplomatic approach in presenting their problems could have brought more fruitful results.

If the students had the audacity to keep the head of the university locked up for three hours, it gives very little hope that they will adhere to the ethics of their respective professions if and when they are graduated. Their lack of discipline is not only sickening but also brings disgrace to the students who detest violence. On the other hand, the authorities too have a role to play in ensuring the smooth run of the education system. Their focus should be on rectifying the situations that make the students show their fangs. Yet, none of this justifies the manner in which the students used force at the university on Monday. The days parents advised their children to look up to the university students as role models will soon become a thing of yesterday. Had Mr. Kannangara foreseen the current state of affairs he would have thought twice before making education available to all. It is high time the brainy youth stopped disgracing the man who brought them there; after all if not their violence and animal instincts that are in action, their ungratefulness needs some curbing.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka