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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why ridicule the armed forces?

The Island

The letter from Uswatte Aratchi which appeared in today’s edition of your journal is firstly a weak argument on behalf of University Teachers clamouring for higher pay, and secondly a poorly disguised manifestation of his own antipathy to the present government.

To start off he admits that a drill sergeant can do a better job in teaching than a university teacher. That statement alone defeats the crux of his rather poor advocacy on behalf of university teachers.

There is no gainsaying the fact that university teachers are a critical medium through which transfer and development of knowledge and skills between generations are expected to be conducted. The poor quality of university graduates, especially those from the Arts Faculties is a telling indictment on the quality of teaching in our universities. Apart from possibly the Jennings era, Arts graduates from our Universities over the past five decades have been generally of a poor standard so much so that most Arts graduates are unable to compete with  even  GCE (O/L) level standard products of good secondary schools in securing employment.  The teaching staff of our universities have to take direct responsibility for this sad state of affairs. It is beyond comprehension that they are clamouring for higher pay when their performance is abjectly unsatisfactory.  It must be said however that our Medical and Science faculties do produce excellent graduates who can hold their own anywhere!

 A reasonable salary increase for them cannot be denied but within parameters encompassing island wide salary structures. Uswatte Aratchi also attempts to make a puerile comparison between University teachers and Army officers. The Sri Lankan Army has sacrificed life and limb to defend and protect the sovereignty of Sri Lanka. The role of University Teachers is of little significance in the overall national security context and it is in extremely poor taste to attempt to ridicule the noble work of the country’s armed forces.

Hugh Karunanayake
Sydney Australia