Private university is a taboo term in local universities. Every time when there is a discussion about opening a private tertiary education center in Sri Lanka, the university students' get on to the streets with placards which say that "Education is a right not a commodity" and the government is conspiring to "kill free education". Let me tell you that I am not a fan of this government, for that any government but when it comes to private universities someone needs to bell the cat!
Even currently and also in future any government is not going to be capable to give free education to all the deserving students at tertiary level. If anyone thinks that only the student who get top results at the ALs only deserve to have a degree, then that's they typical mind set of the people who wants to build a safety net for life showing the achievement at a single exam. I agree that the achievement at A/L is good and should be rewarded, you can give that 1% merit and full scholarships, but the rest who qualify should also have an opportunity to at least EARN their degree. What has happened is that 97% who doesn't enter the university doesn't have trade unions or 'leaders' to voice their part of the stories and on the other hand the 3% who are hell bent on preventing others getting tertiary education are making their voice heard.
Ironically today's paper had the following as the medical student's arguments when demanding to stop establishing a private medical college.
“We are asking the Higher Education Ministry to stop the private medical faculty as it is of low standard and does not have the recognition that is required for a medical faculty,”
How I see it: If its going to be of lower standard, the natural low of the nature would take over and the product from those universities shall be rejected. Such concern! I am sure you would also next tell you are concerned about the society that will be affected by these doctors. If you are scared of competition tell it out openly don't hide behind other reasons.
“The minimum requirement to join the private medical faculty is three passes in the science stream. However, we have found that students from other streams are also recruited by the institution. The only requirement necessary to join this institution is to have parents who can spend Rs.65 lakhs on education."
How I see it: Wow such concern again, if you really want demand that they should be regulated, which is a valid demand. But the rest of the concerns are ironical!
Local universities will die a natural death since the government is only focusing on private education,
How I see it: Now this is the real point which should be addressed, which is getting lost in the chaos. The need to create a self sustainable model for local universities. Which should be made to function in more competitive and pushed to create revenue streams around them. It can be in the form of external degrees, paid courses, post graduate education, research in partnership with private sector, etc.
seriously when people demand that private universities should not be established, remember how many children are denied the right to education because of the scarcity for places in the local universities.
Quotes from Daily mirror : http://print.dailymirror.lk/news/front-image/56976.html