Educational and Corporate Restructuring
EDUCATION: I agree with the article by Lionel Wijesiri in the âMoving
Fingerâ titled âWhen youth are not taken seriouslyâ (DN, June 12).
School curriculam needs to be revised
Ever since independence, our education system has been forming a
nation of which its elite followed that which was reminiscent of the
former colonial era âone which was for the highly privileged elitist
colonial classesâ. Our nationâs elite forgot, or did not realise that
Sri Lanka could not survive on mere intellectualism and the
high-mindedness of the likes of the by-gone era.
The prime purpose and focus of education should be towards the
enhancement of the nation and community, rather than for individual
exaltation. It should produce humility and a greater awareness towards
nation building and a commitment to all.
As Wijesiri put it, âThis suggests cooperative learning where the
efficient helps the less efficient to the benefit of both rather than
either tracking (where the quick advance at the expense of the slow) or
large, understaffed de-tracked classes (where the slow advance at the
expense of the quick). The goal is not to level down but to secure âan
aristocracy of everyoneâ in which excellence is the common denominator.â
Wejesiri also says, âIf we are to rejoin education with liberal
citizenship we have to take âliberalâ education seriously. Liberal arts
education and civic education share a curriculum of critical reflection
and autonomous thought.â
Most of the leading schools in Colombo have operated on a different
scale from the rest of the schools in the nation. Unfortunately they
have produced a class of those of priggish behaviour. All this will be
fine if we were a richer nation where then all these little nonsenses
could go towards meaningless job-creation for the less gifted and less
But as a nation with an ethnic war on our hands, and more recently
with the ravages of the tsunami, we do not need the asinine of the elite
classes to create divisions in the facets of our society.
While we need our intellectuals and entrepreneurs, and those that can
bring foreign exchange into the country, and by no means should they be
discouraged, there has to be a system where they can be utilised for the
benefit of all. Our government should revise the curriculum in our
schools to suit what is more meaningful for the country.
Students for example, for extra credit points, could be sent to
learning camps of the farmer, the fisherman, the slum-dweller, the
estate-worker, the tsunami victim who still lives in tents, work in
public day-care, handle work of maids, gardeners, labourers and so on.
We need to teach our people the value of common labour; the value of
acceptance of all race, class and caste in our country; the value being
There should be mandatory laws in place for local and foreign
companies and corporations, big and small, to spend some of their
profits in an alternative form of taxation, e.g., on environmental
Companies could sponsor projects to build fountains, decorate
roundabouts, clean restrooms, clean landfills, handle garbage collection
and disposal, provide computers to schools, and so on.
Signs could be displayed showing the company or people involved with
the project. This is one way for these companies to see where exactly
some of their tax rupees go and to find out whether there should be more
privatisation of government schemes.
Mandatory laws should also be in place for enhancing company
interactions within each concern, however small, where the ownership and
top management do not intimidate the lower worker. And rather than
management having a top-down approach, worker feedback is encouraged
from the lowest levels.
Worker appreciation could be shown by providing moral boosting
activities such as company parties and family picnics, where all
interact from top management to the worker at the lowest level, worker
training, annual pay-bonuses and award giving - all following a common
and uniform policy.
Job-creating enterprises for the lowest of jobs need to be encouraged
We have a nation of chauvinists who are unwilling to see beyond the
niche of their own social set? whether it is in Sri Lanka, or those
outside Sri Lanka. Though few, these chauvinists tilt the monetary
scales of the nation, creating severe imbalances which have created
severe tensions in both class and ethnic situations. We are a democracy
gone wrong, a democracy without a soul.
We cannot follow the democracies and educational systems of countries
like Singapore, which does not have a peasant population, or most of
South East Asia, which have petroleum reserves, nor follow the United
States or Australia, which have enormous monitory reserves due to their
newness as nations and their foresight into accepting immigrants, toiled
hard and/or brought over to these new lands as essential assets from
their old countries.
We need to follow our own system based on our own historical past,
specific to our nation. We are a nation of which the main source of
income could be in our citizens. An immediate re-establishment in our
education curriculum and corporate restructuring is needed to provide
more meaningful and valuable insights to our people, which should soon
help us spread our wings of success as a nation.