Justice minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe hopes that all educationists will consider recommendations of a select committee on higher education headed by him in a spirit to uplift the standards of education without resorting to vituperative culture which has ruined our values and norms during the last few decades.
We should not forget the fact that the victims are nobody else other than our children who are bound to take over the future of our country, he said in a media release in response to the critique over the PSC recommendations on higher education.
Rajapakshe also said that most of the university teachers who testified before the PSC admitted the position that he explained and regretted not rectifying the malady.
We did everything with good intention believing that those who are responsible for this unfortunate situation will take remedial measures, he said.
His statement in full:
"I stated about the Sri Lankan universities in the “big focus” program telecast by Derana TV on 1st of August in which I said that in our university system, a senior professor has to teach only 5 hours per week whereas a senior professor of a UK university is obliged to teach 35 hours per week.
It is not my opening, but the fact submitted to the Special Select Committee of Parliament which looked into the opportunity for the expansion of higher education in Sri Lanka. The committee was composed of university professors, doctors, medical doctors, lawyers, bankers, teachers etc. representing almost all the parties in parliament. But our deliberations were apolitical and harmonious. It is not a matter of petty politics, but a case of grave national interest.
I was the Chairman of it and we incorporated the facts submitted to us by experts in the field of education including the UGC, Ministry of Higher Education and the institutions both State and Non-State.
In my opinion, there is nothing for any educationist to be desperate for, it is an opportunity to explore the necessary reforms for the well-being of our younger generation. As one professor challenged me as to whether I have been to a university just to escape from the rain, I emphasized that I have never been for that purpose, but I have got my LL.B degree from University of Colombo, M.Phil. From University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Ph.D from Colombo University (on Constitutional Law) Ph.D from University of Kelaniya (on Buddhist Philosophy), Diploma from Freiburg University in Switzerland (on Conflict Resolutions).
I have already published 34 books covering a wide range of subjects which includes the subjects of law, banking finance, mass communication, Sinhala and English literature which are being widely used by our universities and members of the legal profession, judiciary and law and mass communication students.
I was an examiner of the Law Faculty of Colombo University and marked answer scripts of graduates and post graduate students and a supervisor of research of post graduates. I was a tuition teacher for all 12 subjects of law degree at one time. I have argued in superior courts on educational policy matters.
I have been the minister of education and higher education and government policy decisions are not taken by the subject minister alone, but by the cabinet of ministers who are collectively responsible.
I don’t want to come down to a low level of challenging the qualifications and expertise of the said professor or doctor who is not known to me. Our university professors known to me are very dignified in the expression of their opinion as well as the conduct of themselves. Most of the university teachers who testified before our committee admitted the position that I explained and they regretted not rectifying this malady. We did everything with good intention believing that those who are responsible for this unfortunate situation will take remedial measures.
This is not a trivial matter where we should waste our time in arguing on-flippation as our younger generation is facing a gloomy future due to non-adherence to a futuristic State policy. But it doesn’t not mean that I am scared of arguing with professors, if it is warranted, I have no hesitation.
The only question before the people is whether the servants who are depending on public funds give their priority to themselves or to the common cause of the people. I hope that all educationists will consider our recommendations in a spirit to uplift the standards of our education without resorting to vituperative culture which has ruined our values and norms during the last few decades. We should not forget the fact that the victims are nobody else other than our children who are bound to take over the future of our country."