Citizens' Mail (23.01.2019) | Daily News


Citizens' Mail (23.01.2019)

Change university curriculum to produce industry related manpower

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that he will advise Minister of Higher Education to change the university curriculum to produce manpower needed for the industries. Prime Minister said this during inauguration of a new medical faculty at Sabaragamuwa University.

We have to think of this subject very seriously.

Most of the students coming out from our universities and technical colleges are very good in their theory knowledge. But their practical knowledge is very poor. This is not their fault. It is the fault of their teachers and curriculum.

Consider our technical and engineering courses. They do very little practical work. They spend less than 15 percent of their time for practical work. Balance 80 percent is for theory.

When these students do practical work, they do in groups. There are five or six in a group. Clever students will do the practical and others will watch. Weak students do not actively participate.

They will spend about two hours to do the practical. They will spend about five hours to prepare the report for the practical. There report will have about 20 or more pages. These they copy from some other report or from the internet.

Marks are given for the report. Not how they perform the practical. Students therefore spend more time to prepare the report.

Engineering and technical students spend very little time in laboratories and in workshops. If you go to any university or technical college, the labs and workshops are closed down most of the time.

At the examinations most of the marks are given for theory papers. So students will ignore their practical work. How many of our teachers can conduct a proper practical class.

When you compare the knowledge of engineers of Sri Lanka with other developed countries, practical knowledge of our engineers are very poor. Theory knowledge is very good. They are not creative.

This is the fault of the system. You cannot blame the teachers for this. According to existing systems, we expect students to obtain very high marks for theory. But their practical ability is just ignored.

That is why we do not manufacture things in Sri Lanka. We import everything. Our engineers and technical officers are not practical.

See the way our engineers and technical officers are dressed. Most of them are very well dressed with a neck tie. Even in schools students do very little practical work. About 40 years back we had practical exams. All are now cancelled.

We have to change our curriculums. We have to change our systems. We do not want theoreticians. We want people with practical knowledge. Not bookworms. We must respect and recognize people good in practical work, people who can work in factories. We must respect masons, carpenters, electricians and mechanics. We must respect skilled people. We must introduce this culture.

We thank the Prime Minister for his proposal to change curriculums. But this should be done carefully. We must give more prominence to laboratory training and workshop training. Just training students in theory classes is not enough. You can put 100 students in a theory class. Individual attention is required in practical classes. No use of students who cannot do something practically.

Our curricula, systems, teaching methods and attitudes should change accordingly. Our teachers should know the importance of practical knowledge. Theory knowledge without practical knowledge is not useful.

D. Weeratunga


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There is 1 Comment

I fully agree with the writer that our engineers lack the practical approach and communication skills. It is partly the fault of our parents who dissuade their children to dirty their hands. As students they must orientate in engineering drawing, dismantling and assembling machinery,constructing working models etc, to develop their innovation and conceptual skills. Graduate engineers must work for years on the Drawing board and Construction Projects to get hands on experience in engineering as done in the U K. The best experience a graduate could obtain is working for the Private sector and not the Government service.

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