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Humanity, now 7 billion strong

Humanity has crossed an important threshold by registering the entry into this world of its seven billionth member. That is, the world's human population has not only reached an important landmark but is growing steadily. We cannot look negatively at this number, irrespective of where on Planet Earth we are, on account of the invaluable asset a growing population would constitute, particularly if cognizance is taken of the growing younger segment of current humanity.

It is not entirely from a utilitarian angle, however, that a bourgeoning population, both locally and internationally, needs to be considered. More youthful hands, in particular, would mean a greatly strengthened local work force and carry the implication that our human resource base would be greatly expanded, enriched and strengthened. In other words, our economic prospects would be brighter on account of our growing numbers.

There is no question of our expanding local population proving a plus rather than a minus in the future, therefore, but we need to sustain and strengthen our educational and skills development programmes and projects to get the best out of these additional members to the national family, in terms of enhanced material productivity. But a growing population is a blessing also because increasing life is in itself something sacred and wholesome, provided such life is improved qualitatively. This aspect of population growth is as vital as the more obvious economic and utilitarian dimensions.

Steadily growing humanity is a concrete pointer to the continuity of life. Life is 'going on' and very vibrantly so and this is not the least reason why we welcome into our midst our seven billionth member, with open arms. The continuity and proliferation of life has to be celebrated and we hope the world community would increasingly view population growth from this vital perspective too.

This perspective, however, in a way, is as old as humanity itself. It is there, for instance, in the scripture and sacred texts of most of our religions. Reverence for Life is an integral part of almost all of mankind's religious doctrines and we would not be saying anything particularly new by stating that life must not only be perpetuated but preserved and reverenced.

These gems of wisdom need to be recollected and reflected on and acted on as we reach this important landmark of registering the birth of humanity's seven billionth member. The need to look at this most memorable event from the perspective of our religions asserts itself more on it being impressed on us by some authorities that although we are progressively growing in numbers, some five billion humans are today without social protection and other safeguards against the hazards of living. This is a fact that is difficult to countenance at a time when we are faced with proof that life is continuing and flourishing luxuriantly.

Mankind, it seems, is yet to make up its mind as to how it should get on with fending for itself and feeding itself. All this has to do with our economic systems and development models. As we write this commentary, most of Europe is grappling with an economic crisis to which no simple answers seem to be forthcoming. Today, the question is how the weaker Western economies could be saved from collapse. Needless to say, the majority of these countries would be faced with a welfare crisis because fending for the old and helpless would emerge as a major challenge.

Accordingly, mankind needs to make up its mind once and for all, on how it would be feeding and caring for itself, while it perpetuates itself. What development models should it opt for, in view of the fact that 'market reforms' are not living-up to expectations. Besides, how could bridges of unity be built and strengthened among mankind's different segments? These questions need to be grappled with as humankind moves into the future.


 

Suggestions for development of higher education in SL - Part I

Universities should be an integrated system of Higher Education. To this day universities are recognized as independent, autonomous, self-contained institutions, academically free and having no duty to link themselves with other institutions. With the introduction of industries, science and its application, technical colleges and vocational institutions will be needed in great number in Sri Lanka. They should come under Higher Education as in Japan, Egypt, Brazil and England Universities,

Full Story

The Human Dimension

Who is in your boat?

Too often, we get the wrong people into our boats. For many reasons. Often, it is bad judgement, at other times it is misplaced trust. And then once they are on board and we get the true picture, it is often too late to take remedial measures. What can we do to make things right - or better still,

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Safe driving on Expressways

Driving on expressways is easiest and comfortable. Drivers travel at a much higher speed than on normal roads. Drivers who have never driven on the expressways will find it a new experience. Accidents on the expressways are due to driving at high speed without considering their safety and that of other road users,

Full Story

 

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