Justifiable? The Protest Against Private Higher Educational Institutes in Sri Lanka

(Disclaimer: These are questions and thoughts that I jotted down after reading through and listening to numerous debates/discussions on the issue. I personally hold neutral and undecided views on the issue)

1. I'm still struggling to grasp what the issue is supposed to be as illustrated by the poster such as the one in this picture. Do the protesting segment of state university students feel that the opening of private higher education institutes are a threat to them getting jobs? Badly run? I'm still confused on the issue at hand. What is the argument for preventing them and why is this not raised to other institutions that already exist such as APIIT, Royal Institute, ANC etc etc?

2. The issue of health and education being 'sold' - some thoughts on my end. Yes in utopia (ideal world) they should not be commodities but lets be fair and practical with capitalism it is difficult to do so. When there is a free market economy, profit becomes key (I am not saying this is good or bad) and competition is key.

3. The issue here as far as I can tell is that since State Universities are free, they don't compete on the same playing field as private universities and thus don't need to be competitive. This results in them becoming lax about their quality since they are guaranteed students and problematic since due to access there are students who have no option but to hope for education in State funded uni's since they cannot afford any other option. This could lead to anger and frustration when the realize they get a sub standard level of education that is not competitive in the work force against private degrees who are forced to maintain their quality due to demand and supply and they need to be competitive to remain in the game

4. This could lead to already frustrated students who have struggled to gain a place in local universities (struggle through O/L\'s in poorly funded state schools, struggle to be one of the few who gain enough A/L's to enter the Universities, go through strikes etc etc) in being told they are not competitive enough. This can be then construed into those who get a private education 'buying' an education (not saying this is not fair or right BUT is a valid perception)

5. Are there general standards all educational institutions (private or public) subject to under the Ministry of Education to prevent cases and accusations like that of SATIM (which appears in some comments on this thread) taking place? I've heard of similar issues (not verified) surrounding otehr institutions including the Colombo Institute of Research and Psychology

7. I think we need to also alongside this address the real issue of classicism that exists in our country that denies people opportunities and chances. It breeds anger, resentment and fury and makes for very ugly scenes (as we have abundantly on social media). We need to consider reforms for State universities to improve their standards and options (loan schemes, needs-based scholarships, academic scholarships etc) within private institutions that allow those who lack opportunities to get them.

8. As tax payers yes it is hugely frustrating to see money being wasted in such a manner. But the blame does not lie with the students alone - let us not forget the system and years of injustice that have bred and created them. A great read to see the 'other side' and why students would buy into and believe these issues is The Ginirella Conspiracy by Nihal de Silva.

Just some thoughts on my part. Curious to hear from others and their perspectives on the above (minus insults and attacks of course) 


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