This letter to the editor is from a Jamaican newspaper. The content, however, is very relevant to us in Sri Lanka. The Editor, Sir: How can we, in clear conscience, begrudge a few million dollars more for pre-tertiary education when we have chronically neglected quality education for so long while we splurge on far less important matters, waste and corruption? Moreover, our poorly-managed economy does not offer parents, particularly the many poor ones, employment opportunities enough for them to afford school fees of thousands of dollars, on top of the daily lunch, transport and books and incidentals. Education cannot wait until our fortunes improve; it’s a burning priority and must be accepted as such by all governments.
May 24, Colombo: Sri Lankan graduates have again started agitations seeking employment in the already swollen public service despite the promises by the government to grant them employment immediately. Around 200 unemployed graduates started a protest in front of the Sanath Jayasuriya stadium in Matara amidst chaos vowing to continue their campaign until employments are granted. Unemployed graduates of the Central Province have also launched a similar campaign for weeks. The Minister of Education Susil Prema Jayantha answering a question raised by an MP said to the parliament on Tuesday that 10,000 graduates would be recruited to the public service before the end of June. They include over 7,000 teachers.
In Sri Lanka, pundits never get fed up reminding us the new subjects that ought to be included in the syllabi, from History to Disaster Management. Surprisingly none ever said the children should be educated about their own reproductive systems. As students we all learnt about eyes, ears, digestive system, circulatory system, pulmonary system and what not, but some of the vital organs of the body were completely ignored as if they did not exist. These were rarely illustrated in Science text books in Sri Lanka. Even if they were illustrated, the science teachers hardly bothered to get into the subject saying no questions about them would be asked in the exams.
Since we have discussed ‘Digital divide’ in length, let me share this concept note from my electronic annals. This is an idea a private sector IT company had few years back, but due to various reasons never implemented. They suggest a method to convert the TVs to Internet enabled PCs as a way to bridge the digital divide, using something called a ‘set top’ box. Central Bank Consumer Finance survey 2004 had found over 75% of the houses have TVs while the PC penetration level was much lower. (Specially in rural areas it was like 1-2%) So converting TVs to PCs makes lots of sense.
By Sean Coughlan BBC News education reporter Google is to ban adverts for essay writing services – following claims that plagiarism is threatening the integrity of university degrees. There have been complaints from universities about students being sold customised essays on the internet. The advert ban from the Google search engine has been “warmly welcomed” by university authorities. But it has angered essay writing firms which say this will unfairly punish legitimate businesses. From next month, Google will no longer take adverts from companies which sell essays and dissertations – and the internet company has written to advertisers to tell them about the policy.
‘Digital divide’ may be a term which came under the spotlight quite recently, but what meant by it existed in our societies for centuries, if not millennia. Significant differences between banks of knowledge possessed by different sections of society were visible probably since medieval times. The ancient Hindu society was an ideal example. In that society, the supreme right not only to protect and nurture the knowledge but also to generate the same, to some extent was solely on the hands of the Brahmins. That was how they, not the Kshathriyas – the rulers – or the Vaishyas – the rich – formed the most important, most powerful and the most honoured layer of the society.