|Monday, 2 June 2003|
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Much has been said over the past decade or so on the subject of the present impractical university system and also on the swelling cohorts of "unemployed and unemployable" graduates being churned out by them. In a nutshell, the problem is described to the public as follows.
A graduate from a rural background lacks the common sense or maturity to function effectively in a private sector or office setting due to lack of exposure to such surroundings and lack of fluency in English. The more urban student who had that coveted exposure, on the other hand, was denied admission to the university because of the district-quota-based selection system. If you happen to be an urban graduate, a member of an almost extinct race of man, you have the potential to go far, but may still have difficulties, the nature of which, it is my aim to discuss.
The aim of my letter is not to offer another hackneyed discourse on the subject of what should be done about the "unemployable unemployed". On the contrary I will attempt to show another facet of this situation from the point of the employed graduate.
I have been a student at one of the leading universities of the country and have also served in a number of leading private firms in the country. My experiences have repeatedly revealed another problem that is well known but is hardly ever discussed. It seems that in the private sector the majority of positions in top and middle management are occupied by individuals with two digit I.Q.s and negligible education. The stereotypical school athlete who although possessing neanderthalic attributes, managed to get employment in a private firm and gradually worked his way up to the top, not by dispensing brilliant ideas and initiating revolutionary new breakthroughs, but by simply and routinely providing the muscle when needed. Imagine this scenario.
Would such a person welcome in to his organization, a clearly more educated and intelligent person? Would such an employer welcome new ideas and suggestions by the new person? Would the employer even have the confidence to discuss one-on-one, the intricacies and possibilities of some new proposed venture?
If asked by a confidant, the employer's answer would be a resounding "hell, no!!!" Actually, he would make the job hell on earth for the new employee.
This sort of open or covert hostility against the educated is extremely widespread and is at its worse when the employee is female.
A more encouraging phenomenon has also been noted however. The newer more progressive and adaptable organizations are recruiting the brightest and the best so I can predict that the days of the Neanderthal are numbered.
VERNON GOMEZ, Nugegoda
Crimes in the country are going on unabated. People are being murdered, women are being raped and worse still small children are being sexually abused on the spur of the moment or pre-meditated. Some among us who seem to be more concerned about these happenings than the others are prescribing a remedy and insisting that it be taken. That is: to bring back the death penalty. But will the death penalty bring the desired result?
I do not think so. We will only be adding one more crime of state murder to the crimes that are already in existence. Two wrongs do not make a right.
Some people are adducing statistics from other countries. This is nothing but deceiving ourselves.
If crimes have abated in the countries where the death penalty is in force for decades, then over that period of time crimes should have entirely disappeared in those countries. But it is not so.
The remedy for the reduction in or eradication of crimes is to take action to prevent the crimes taking place and not to commit another crime by killing the person who had committed a crime. Is it the blood thirsty spirit in man that is making us to call for death penalty?
Criminals and those who plan out crimes, as it is today, seem to be having some sort of self-confidence and not fear of the death penalty, as they are certain that if they have the money, power and influence at the right places they can get away with any crimes.
Authorities can be bought over, incriminating evidences destroyed, witnesses can be turned to their side by threats or gifts, and even the victims can be made to retract their complaints by threats or persuasion.
It is not unknown that criminals of influential groups or position enjoying all comforts in the jail, including wine and women! Why won't crime march? Will the death penalty prevent it? We are only giving the Government, that should put an end to this state of affairs, an excuse and escape by insisting that death penalty be brought back.
They will gladly do it. Because, they can say thereafter that they had done the utmost to do away with crimes but the crimes are going on and what can they do?
The people who are agitating for the death penalty would, then, go on reverse gear and suggest that the death penalty should be carried out in the open as in the days of old to bring more fear in the others who would witness it. And if that also fails, as it would, they would suggest that not only the criminals but their close kith and kin also be hanged to bring more fear in the minds of the other people about the crime. There will be no end. And we will become a very uncivilised nation!
To prevent crimes from the country we cannot go about like the kattadiyas treating a person suffering from a mental disease by chanting mantrams, sacrificing animals and beating the patient mercilessly almost to death and achieving nothing but making the disease worse!
We must go to the root of the cause, the source of the fire as it were. Moral, spiritual and cultural values which we had abandoned over a long period of time have to be restored and not the death penalty.
Those who agitate for the hangman's noose should pause and think what they would say and do if one of their dear ones for some reason or other were to be hanged for some crime or other.
ARUL Colombo 13.
I drew the attention of the Examinations Department some time back through the columns of the 'Daily News', on the necessity of providing instructions, guidelines, etc., in respect of examinations conducted by the Department, in the English medium as well. Up to now only the Sinhala and Tamil languages are extensively used. But ironically the names of the candidates are to be furnished only in English. I am referring to the GCE (O/L) and (A/L) and the Scholarship examinations. That being the case the Department could stretch a point by giving an English translation of what it is now giving in Sinhala and Tamil.
There are clear indications that the Government is moving slowly but surely towards making the English Language an important link language with the idea of perhaps making it a compulsory subject at future examinations. In this backdrop it is but fair and reasonable for the Commissioner-General to seriously consider giving the English Language a place in the workings of the Department with particular reference to the aforesaid examinations. This extra bit of work will be of considerable help to the various school authorities as well as to the personnel preparing Entry Lists and attending to other pre-requisites preparatory to the examinations.
I certainly hope that this very important shortcoming will catch the eye of the Commissioner as well as the other senior officers of the Department.
J.I. ROSAIRO, Wattala
The private tuition classes are increasing very rapidly throughout the country. The students pay very large sums of money as tuition fees to the class teacher. The work is going on very well. Most of the classes are conducted in rented out buildings where there are no proper ventilation, toilet facilities and at times the environment is not suitable for a school. With all these uncomforts the business goes on very rapidly and smoothly.
There is a very good coordination and understanding among the students and the class teachers under all these circumstances. Why? What is the reason? There is not even a minor misunderstanding. The secret is the children pay a heavy school fee to the institute. Today the parents pay the Principal or the Head-Master a tidy sum on the pretext of school-building fund or donation for the welfare fund of the school or the college where the parents want to get their child admitted.
Sometimes through reliable brokers which covers both parties. Such gratifications are unwritten.
The second stage is that no sooner a child returns after school he or she is compelled to attend the tuition classes where once again the parents pay through their noses.
Where discipline is concerned the children of two rival schools involve in a minor issue and the hero of one school sets up the innocent children of his school, then walk into the opposite camp and start assaulting the innocent children of the school, damage the furniture or even the building. Some time back the Vice-Chancellor of one of the universities discovered a heap of stones, bottles, clubs etc. at a corner of the campus premises.
The Principal of Hartly College of Jaffna was man-handled and was taken away to a remote area and was beaten. This is the attitude shown to the head of a leading education institute. We can quote many pathetic incidents of this nature in everyday life. Lovers barge into other schools and kill their loving ones.
During the Colonial days one could see the highly disciplined student and guess from which school or college the student come. The children were very well disciplined, they obeyed their teachers, and respected them. They respected their parents, elders and even the clergy. All those human qualities have gone down the drain today. Anything given free has no value. The free education, free uniforms, free books carry no gratitude at all. In the event of the above circumstances, free education should be abolished and levy a nominal fee from kindergarten upwards.
H.G.P. JAYASEKERA, Moratuwa
To all those who are so vehemently opposing the death penalty I ask whether they are also against war, like the kind that the Bushes and the Blairs have unleashed out on Iraq, Government and the LTTE, and many other calamities of violence and destruction perpetrated by terrorists, militants, and even governments upon one another?
After all, war, whether justified or not, whether it will cause a deterrent for further violence or not, whether it is a pre-emptive action against possible violence and terrorise or not, still causes death and destruction amongst multitudes of innocent beings as has been clearly visible in the recent past.
L.J., via e-mail
Among the many letters published in the press recently on the death penalty in Sri Lanka, the most plausible have been those which advocate its re-introduction only on a referendum in favour of it.
There is a glib adage which says: Vox populi, vox Dei - the voice of the people is the voice of God - which certainly should have some bearing on the issue.
E. FERREIRA, Galle
Live content and you will be King,
- Ruba Vivekananthan
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