88Pro Thinking

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Friday, September 12, 2003

Where are we going to go tomorrow?

I was happy and proud when I initially heard about Vanni Tech. This initiative is a real leap towards delivering IT education to the North and East, where students did not have access to a computer until this MOU was sighed. ITTPO has done a great job.

If you take a city like Colombo the Institutes started a long time back and have gone through several life cycles in their existence to meet the demands of almost every market segment. Most of them offered diploma’s, and now many have moved forward, providing degrees affiliated to some foreign university. I do not want to get into a discussion here on how accredited these universities and degrees are, however this trend towards degree level academic education reflects some characteristics of the current ICT job market. A degree or an academic, qualification is becoming or has become the basic qualification to get a decent IT job and has become a filtering criteria when short-listing CVs and applications. However this is totally opposite to the trend in other job markets in the country (such as sales, accountancy) where you can find a job with adequate professional qualification.

University degrees are a bit like adultery: you may not want to get involved with that sort of thing, but you don’t want to be thought incapable.

Sir Peter Imbert

Vanni Tech offers great courses. However it is important to consider the marketability of the students that pass out from the institute, and I am quite sure that student marketability in the job market is already being considered by ITTPO. If you look into the future it may be possible to upgrade Vanni Tech to a position of an External Degree provider and may be a University of Vanni. These recommendations maybe slightly over-ambitious or far fetched at this stage, but anything is possible.

Firstly, it is important to understand that offering an external degree is not too difficult, except for a few expected hurdles that one will have to over come. Universities are more and more considering external programs, especially with the advent of Internet and e-learning. There are many Universities that provide all the necessary course material, so the concern regarding inadequate learning material is no longer pertinent. For example the highly acclaimed University of London external degree programs (the one I, myself have completed) is very organized, easy to achieve, and all course materials are provided for all the subjects, with recommend books easily accessible as well. The examination papers are the same as the ones given to internal students, and are corrected by the same professors who mark for internal students. This methodology guarantees the quality of the degree awarded, and also ensures that the student’s qualification is recognized and appreciated by employers, both locally and internationally. There are many other universities, which conduct similar external programs, here in Sri Lanka.

The external degree option is not without it’s challenges. The hurdles will be mostly on finding lecturers for these subjects and also the cost factor. Similarly since these courses are conducted to an international standard, the level of English – both written and comprehension – will be very high. Organizations like Vanni Tech (if they do decide to offer foreign IT degrees) will have to make sure that students posses a certain level of English knowledge.

External degrees are just one possible direction looking forward, similarly there maybe many other directions already being considered. Let us hope and work for the best. Wish you all the best Vanni Tech.

posted by 88Pro / Friday, September 12, 2003

Monday, September 08, 2003

What could be a possible explanation for this?

When one has been threatened with a great injustice, one accepts a smaller as a favor. - by Jane Welsh Carlyle

Some of my friends and I went to Galle, a city located south of Sri Lanka. It was fun to take some time off with my friends and as usual there were no plans or agenda as to what we were going to do in Galle. It was early evening when we reached there and most of them wanted to take sea bath. Even though I love to sleep whenever I go on trips (yes I know you are thinking I am crazy :-) I had to join them since we had not finalized at that point where we were going to stay that night.

Let me come to the point quickly. We parked the van by the shore of Unawatuna beach and I stayed back in the van whilst the others enjoyed themselves wading in the clear blue waters of Unwatuna. Once they had finished their bath and were ready leave, a person apporached us and demanded that we pay a paking fee of Rs. 50 to him. He just wouldnt accept anything less and was adamant that we should pay him the stipulated amount.

Beach is public property and he had no business there to be demanding a parking fee for a service not rendered by him. Moreover he wasnt even able to issue us with a parking ticket on request. There were many more vehicles parked but none of them were charged for parking there.This was sheer high handed action since they very well knew that we were a group of tamils in unknown territory.

What does the whole thing mean? Of course he knew that we were Tamils since we were talking and joking. Is that the reason for him to demand money? Or is it something else? It disturbed me a lot, but I guess these are some realities that we have to live with.

However what calms me down to a great extent is the fact that I have some great and best Sinhalese friends who have always been there for me. Whenever I was with them I never felt or never made to felt that I am any different to them. Moreover they have contributed a great deal for what I am now and if I have any hope for a successful life, their contribution towards that is undeniable.

I still have hope that we will have equal rights in this country in the face of all the people. That will require changes at all levels of the society which includes us (Tamils) as well. The day that change happens is the day we start moving forward as a nation.
posted by 88Pro / Monday, September 08, 2003

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