|Friday, 18 July 2003|
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The protection of children from abuse has been a subject that has been given wide publicity in the last two years or so. We have read and heard of many cases where the Child Protection Authority has stepped in and taken abusers to the Law.
We applaud the powers that be for the work that has been done.
However, I find that there are blatant instances of child abuse being carried on to which the Authority seems quite blinded. For instance, there are many eating places within the municipal limits of the city of Colombo that are openly employing minors, boys under the age of 14, and sometimes even as young as 10 and 11, to do cleaning up work.
A more saddening sight are the many children and toddlers who are being used by adult drug addicts to aid them in their begging in the streets and public conveyances within the city of Colombo. On July 9, I was travelling to Fort from Mount Lavinia when a strip of a boy, no more than 10 years old, boarded the bus close to Dehiwela Junction with a tambourine to beg!! He was obviously in the employ of an adult, and needless to say he collected a very large sum of money.
After all who is the person in this country who will not be touched by the innocent, tired, harassed face of a little child? This is not an isolated instance, I have seen this many, many a time even in broad daylight!
Please, will the persons responsible for curbing this crime take some effective action to protect these tiny tots, and to bring these unscrupulous adults - be they parents or otherwise - to task.
PASTOR AJIT PERERA, Wattala
This refers to a letter by Ranjan de Silva (DN June 23). It is true that every year a large number of our students go to foreign Universities spending valuable foreign exchange as our universities are not in a position to accommodate them.
Education is an investment. We must give every assistance to those who want to do higher studies.
Further our universities are no more seats of leaving. They are stinking with corruption. Lecturers and professors do not teach. They do not do any research.
The students' councils controlled by the J.V.P. have become so violent that no decent parent want to send his son or daughter to such slaguther houses. These students do not know the value of education. They have proved that anything given free has no value. Therefore a private university is a good proposition. Competition is anyway a good thing. Universities are no exception. Let us try it out.
I suggest that the proposed private university should be managed jointly by the Government and the private sector through an independent Council of Management.
Government can allocate land and can offer infrastructure facilities and should have some say in the Council of Management. Private sector can bring in a part of the capital needed and management efficiency. As in other countries, English should be the medium of instruction.
It should be open to all on a fee paying basis, but at least 5% of all seats should be kept for excellent students who should be given scholarship full or half. Encourage foreign students also to study here (after paying fees of course). After all, the literacy rate in our country is far superior to that of other countries in this region. It is our strength and that should be made use of.
Let us promote a first class university. Let our country be the centre of higher education in the SAARC region.
Our country will benefit immensely by this. Faculties such as Medicine, Business Management, Agriculture and Water Management, Information Technology and Buddhist Studies (for which this country is world famous) should be started first.
This proposal should generate a lot of job opportunities. Advertise and get good students, students who are good academically as well as those who are good in sports and extra curricular activities. Train them to be the future leaders. No ragging. We need value for money. More revenue to the Government. An internationally acceptable qualifications.
Let our children walk to the future with a clear vision.
This proposal will eliminate all the University Agents who are advertising in the papers now, asking students to join their universities in unknown destinations. By opening a private university, free education will not be ruined. In fact, it is suggested that a scholarship scheme should be implemented for clever and exceptionally good students every year.
We must train leaders for our country in this university. The students passing out should be a happy and a contended crowd who should respect human values who take part in sports, social work and public speaking. They are true leaders indeed.
R.M. KARUNARATNE, Kandy.
A number of countries are having projects to explore space. Why don't they all get together and build an International space ship, just as the International Space Station was built?
The space ship should be capable of going to the moon and back. It should have a crew and carry cargo. Over a period of several years raw material to build a moon base can be transported to the moon.
The space ship on its return journeys can bring back any valuable materials from the Moon. The space ship should use new technology i.e. the anti-matter force field to take off and land.
Once a Moon base is established, a space ship capable of reaching the planet Mars can be built.
LIONEL J. SENEVIRATNE, Mt. Lavinia.
A child was admitted to the Kindergarten (now, grade I) of the village school (or, for that, matter, a primary school in the town). He studies up to standard five (now. grade five) and joined a senior secondary school. There he continued his studies up to the Senior School Certificate (now G.C.E. Ordinary Level) examination, and since his desire was to enter a university, he joined a school/maha vidyalaya/madya maha vidyalaya/college. where the university entrance (now G.C.E. Advance Level) classes were being held.
After two years of study, he succeeded at the examination and entered a university. There he pursued his higher studies (Arts, Science, Engineering, Medicine) and after obtaining a "degree" he becomes a high official in the government or mercantile service, a Professor, a Doctor, an Engineer or even a Sangeetha Visharada.
Now, the maha vidyalaya, madya maha vidyalaya or the college from where he entered the university recognizing him as a distinguished old boy.
This "distinguished old boy" himself acknowledges the new "status" imposed upon him and conveniently forgets to give due recognition to the school where he had had his early education and priming for his present glory.
WIMALASIRI DE MEL, Moratuwa
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