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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

and a happy couple they make, Not!!!

The debate about private unis in SL is rolling on between Morquendi and Indi with Chanuka turning up the heat. The way I see it there are a few broken arrows flying around. I've tried to cut through the BS and rhetoric so feel free to correct me.

Morquendi's view:

1. Basically he doesn't want poor students missing out on university simply because they would not be able to afford the upfront fees for a degree. That is. He wants to provide every student that qualifies, irrespective of socio-economic status, with an Equal Opportunity to get a degree.

2. He also doesn't want those that did not qualify for university to buy their way into a degree at the expense of the qualified poor. That is, he also wants to maintain a Meritrocratic system of education. The idea behind the Meritocracy is, those that work the hardest get their just rewards. After all, who would you trust your (country's) future with the hard working or the not-so hardworking?

Why? The poor in SL are "Really Poor" (i.e. in poverty), there is no "so-called poor" in SL, that's in developed countries and it's called "Relative Poverty". Also, Education is one of the best ways for an individual to overcome poverty. This has been proven around the world.

He
doesn't oppose private unis wholesale. He supports them as long as they maintain a Just system of entry to degrees (a system that meets the above principles of fairness).

On the grey matter, He doesn’t like the World Bank imposed conditions on education reform as it strips national sovereignty and stinks of neo-colonialism. But, is this because of the Bank's failure to uphold the above principles? What if the bank agrees to a financially accountable education system, proposed by SL, that doesn't violate the said principles? Morq, do you support student loans as long as the above two conditions are met?

Or is it about a bigger picture ?

BTW,
Mahangu's arguments go along the same lines.

Indi's view:

Indi wants to
educate more Sri Lankans by introducing private unis as long as those that qualify can afford to pay for the degrees. Everyone who qualifies might not be able to enter due the fee costs, but more students will get a chance at an education. He see no fault in the World Bank imposed conditions to change the education system as more students than the current amounts will gain access to uni.

He supports different forms of student
loans and does not accept the arguments for expanding the fully public system due to present and future costs. Sri Lanka cannot afford the costs and loans due to its economic condition. He also wants to improve the Research status of unis.

On the grey matter, does Indi see education as a means out of poverty for the poor? Does it matter or is development the only priority? Does he support uni entrance only for those who qualified or for all who can afford it irrespective of qualification? I.E. if someone didn't qualify to get into a degree but can afford to pay for it, should she/he be allowed to enter?

Chanuka:

When you say
liberal do you mean neo-liberal/libertarianism (as I suspect you do)? As Liberal also stands for progressive politics it is an ambiguous term. Are you referring to Liberalism? I'm not sure there are many "liberal" arguments for education not being a Right.

Now for the "so-called" poor, have you been watching too much FOX? Do you think that there aren't any people in poverty in SL? Again, do you refer to "
Relative Poverty"? As for the most "liberal" country in the world, what about the "New Deal"?

Also, if student loans are not being collected/payed is
the problem with the Education System or the Financial System and/or Government? Shouldn't they be chasing up the ex-students? A few well publicised court cases might convince people to pay up.
BTW, The JVPers might be misguided but as you say, not-educated? Me thinks not. Also, the internet is full of every kind of person, it's a medium for all indivuals and the one with the lowest barriers to entry. Remember, that was the reason for the speculative tech boom and bust.



Update:

After writing this the idea of an FAQ crossed my mind. Well guess what, while I was asking him questions Indi was writing one of his own. See it here.

BTW, my views on this are expressed here.


Update2:

Fixed up Chanuka's name (was Chanaka), apologies for the misspelling.

3 Comments:

  • At 2:42 am AEST, Blogger Morquendi said…

    Actually I think private universities by themselves are a bloody good idea. That would give me a chance to get a degree!!!

    But when you look at the issue in the context of what is happening to our free education system then I am against them. I don't want to get a degree when someone who is way more deserving tham me has to miss out on one.

     
  • At 4:55 pm AEST, Anonymous Mahangu said…

    I support the creation of private universities as long as Equal Opportunity and Meritocracy are preserved.

    My only problem, just like Morquendi, is that the undeserving will get degrees.

    Apart from that, I'd like to say that this is an awesome post Ivap. Sums up the debate very well. Good work.

    If you're interested, I'd love to co-write a post (or even a paper) on the subject with you. If you're interested, and if you have the time please mail me. mahangu at gmail. I stepped out of this debate a few days back because it was going nowhere. But now I'd like to seriously address the issue with statistics etc.

     
  • At 6:29 pm AEST, Blogger kulendra said…

    AS for the equal opportunities, I dont see how the private universities become an adverse point. As far as I can see it gives the people who couldnt score as much as the undergrads a chance to follow a degree. Unless of course that someone is arguing that the right for higher education should only be for the ppl who did extremely well in ALs. Arguments could follow that the talented but poor students will not be able to follow the degree where as rich but not so talented will geta degree. But what this argument in essence say is that you should obscure the right for education for some people because some others couldnt get it. This argument is to me like banning the usage of computers because there are people who cant afford the computers (and most probably are more talented in computing). The example could be extended for other day to day activities as well.

    AS for the undeserving getting the degrees. What I think is that this really is about the recognition for the degree. If the university is really crappy, few early batches might get away with it, but its not going to continue for a long time. Once they start working somewhere, people will realise that it is not so good as thought. So naturally the recognition would be lost. (And this has happened to a some of state-university degrees).

    What I see is this is rather a problem about the stomach and nothing much about the brains. I think the whole unrest is because of the career opportunities.

     

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