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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2736

Our system of education must be reshaped to suit the times - Minister Sarath Amunugama

Colombo, 09 March, ( “Those with beards shouting slogans and crying ‘Bhangawewa’ at roundabouts are incapable of making use of their degrees to do any jobs. The majority of them are unable to do any sort of thing. Education must be employment oriented. Our system of education must be reshaped to suit the times, said Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion at the awarding of certificates to youth who completed the training course in gem cutting at the Gem and Jewellery Research and Training Institution at Barigama in Harispattuwa on Sunday 2nd March.

A batch of 28 young men and women completed the four-month course and received their certificates. They were the first batch to follow the course of training and at the completion of the course, were assured of employment by a gem industrialist in Galagedera who would be paying them a monthly salary of Rs. 8000/=.

Minister Amunugama on whose initiative the Training Centre was established said it was important that the “education one receives should be job-oriented”.

He added that skills had to be developed to create employment opportunities. “Education that does not pave the way to fit the competitive job market of self-employment is absolutely of no use. A university degree without qualifications to match available employment requirement of the nation is useless”, he said.

“At present, even university degrees and doctorate are undermined by various organizations awarding ‘ping’ (merit) doctorates. When ‘ping’ doctorates are available, why must one go to the university?” Dr. Amunugama queried.

Not only university degree courses, but the school syllabuses too should be redesigned so that school leavers and graduates could either obtain employment or become self-employed, he stressed.

Studying history, geography, religion or Kandyan dancing will not help school leavers to find employment. Those students who learn such subjects find themselves stranded after leaving school, the Minister said.

Education must be employment oriented. Our system of education must be reshaped to suit the times. But this has not happened. Rural students are deprived of facilities to learn some important subjects. For example, out of the many schools in Galagedara, science is taught in only four schools. This is one area parents should take some interest in he said.

“The Gem Industry has become an important business in many leading countries like Japan, USA and India. A practical training in gem and jewellery opens avenues to draw high income or handsome wages and salaries. Those who are competent in the gem and jewellery field are in demand in many countries, engaged in the trade at international market. A gem cutter is equal to an eminent surgeon. If the surgeon fails in an operation, the poor patient faces death Likewise, if the gem cutter fails his craft, loss could be estimated by millions of rupees”, Minister Amunugama said.

Minister Amunugama proposed that rural youth should be given opportunities to enter into the industry, as rural young people do extremely well in any field, be it gem industry of even cricket.

When cricket was confined to those from the so-called top colleges such as Royal, Trinity, St. Thomas, Ananda, etc., and Sri Lanka often lost matches. The Sri Lankan cricket team received pride of place as players from Matara, Kandy, Matale, etc. from the outstations entered the field, he said.

It is duty and responsibility of politicians to come out with new proposals and act with vision for the benefit of the people. Politics is not merely to bluff and make useless utterances (“Pacha”) before the people every five years or so to get elected, he noted.

Dr. Amunugama advised youth to learn as many foreign languages as possible, since opportunities are available in the international job market.

Central Provincial Council Member and SLFP Chief Organizer of Senkadagala, Dilum Amunugama, Chairman, Gem and Jewellery Research and Training Institute, Asoka Jayawardena addressed the gathering.

- Asian Tribune -

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