Last week TNL ran a good lengthy discussion on Grade 1 admissions with Premjayantha, the education minister, from SLFP, Maddumabandara from UNP, Bimla Dissanyake from JVP and the priest who looks like ET representing the JHU.
The priest kept to his one-track argument that thius whole thing is a conspiracy against Buddhists and Premjayantha and Maddumabandara tossed political footballs about who did what when. Bimal Dissanyake was the only one who seemed to talk sense.
Dissanyake started by saying anything we do at this point should give priority to the humanitarian issue of parents caught in the crossfire. From the chief justice down we are yet to hear anybody making a strong argument for a short term solution to relieve the burden on families. In response to the priest’s argument that this whole this thing is a conspiracy against Buddhists, he pointed out that Hindu schools too are affected and that we should refrain from throwing the religion card at the problem. We have had enough problems by dividing people over ethnicity in education, he said. He pointed out the silliness of giving a Ranviru the option of a popular school from his neighborhood when most ranviru’s come from Nikveratiya or some rural area with no poular schools. He gave some more practical suggestions as short term solutions to the problem.
Bimal Dissanyake talked a lot more sense making the UNP and SLFP fellows look foolish and the priest look like a Natzi.
But what happens to these JVPer’s good sense when it comes to the role of the state? They want the state to do everything. JVP-backed Students are rightfully complaining about the lack of facilities at universities. But they also want the state to give jobs to unemployable graduates, sell groceries , provide electricity, weave cloth, make steel etc. with a bureaucracy to oversee it all. Come on guys, apply your down to earth common sense to the rest of education, specially convey the message to your troops in the universities that unless our industries, our workers, and our government become more productive there is a limit to the public goodies that we can enjoy. If the students in state universities want more facilities they have to understand that the state has to cut back expenditures somewhere else. arlene farmer viagra