A timely action | Daily News

A timely action

Last week ended on a very positive note when Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said that along with the education reforms, the Education Ministry is planning to introduce the English medium in all schools from Grade 1 next year.

According to Minister Premajayantha, a proposal was made to continue the mathematics and science subjects to be taught in English while in the Sinhala medium classes from Grade Six onwards. This practice will also be applicable to students who study in the Tamil medium. A separate programme will be implemented to provide English language competence with the support of the university system, education system and teacher advisors.

We all know the most common advantages of introducing the English medium to schoolchildren from Grade One. They are eradicating ‘fear’ in the minds of rural children for English, enabling them to progress with the advancement of science and technology, connecting to the world through the internet easily etc.

But we are talking about this topic today not because of any of those reasons. The reasons we are going to talk about are hidden inside State Universities and those reasons are directly connected to the recent ‘Aragalaya’ and all disastrous incidents that took place in Sri Lanka’s recent history. The 1971 insurgency, 1988/1989 insurgency, 2022 Aragalaya are some of them.

Maybe those who did not receive their education from local State Universities do not have any idea what we are talking about. But the people who received their education from local State Universities, especially in the Arts, Commerce and Science Streams exactly know what we are talking about.

Let us start from the connection between English and the insurgencies described above. During the last several decades the very first thing done by undergraduates who rag freshers is to stop them from attending English classes of the university and English lectures. They allow freshers to attend all the other classes and lectures but not English. Even some lecturers with an enslaved mentality found fault with undergraduates who read English books while not learning English as a subject for their degree. Now you may be able to get a slight idea about what we are going to talk about.

Why the undergraduates who are slaves of two small political parties ban freshers from attending English classes? Why? The freshers can slowly start to attend English classes only after the rag season which ends in nine or ten months. By then the English class had completed all the basics and finished teaching English. By then the freshers who do not have a basic English knowledge cannot catch up and they totally abandon learning English, fulfilling the main objective of enslaved undergraduates in the second, third and fourth years.

You may be thinking as to what the main objective behind preventing freshers from learning English at State Universities. The enslaved undergraduates know very well that freshers do not have a good English knowledge because school English education is not that successful. They know if they prevent them from learning English at State Universities, they can prevent all undergraduates from learning English forever.

Why do they want to do this? This is the only way for them to keep the enslaved mentality in undergraduates. According to them, all who have a good English knowledge are enemies and traitors. Those who know English have everything and others have nothing. Those who know English dominate all the others. They are the ones who hold various high decision making positions in any Government. The only way of fighting against them is to block roads, enter State building by force and staging protests. If undergraduates learn English there will be no ‘protesters'.

The time is right to put a full stop to this evil circle that is holding all State Universities under siege. Enough is enough and we do not need any more insurgencies and the wasting of valuable time, money and fuel on blocked roads every evening. We need the people of this county to be informed about world affairs within seconds through the internet. Information should not be restricted only to those who have a sound knowledge of English. It is only then that no one will be able to mislead anyone. Only then the ordinary people will be able to check the accuracy of information circulated on WhatsApp and other social media platforms. Sinhala and Tamil mudslinging posts will disappear because people can check the validity of them within seconds. A third party with an English knowledge will not be able to mislead them.

No wonder if trade unions of those two political parties will come forward to stop this because all their ‘protests’ will be futile in future due to the timely step to be taken by the Education Ministry. Those enslaved trade unionists will definitely say that introducing the English medium from Grade One will have a negative effect on rural schools and all the other lame ‘excuses’ not to do it.

But the Government should stick to the decision it made and not back down despite the various gimmicks and lame threats made by trade unionists, calling for strike action. 

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