Reference to our last week article “SB vows to liberate universities from thugs”, Professor Rajiva Wijesinha says:

I would be grateful if you could publish the following correction next week – and perhaps also on the website straight away. ‘Thanks for using some of the comments I made in your article of April 10th on the universities. I would have liked a bit more of what I said, in particular the bits about unchecked corruption, but I realize you had space limitations.

There is however one error, when you say that I added that I left the university because I found I could not work ‘ with them any more’. What I said was that, after I left, some of the reforms I had introduced were abolished. I was referring in particular to a core course – the first in the country I believe, though Colombo followed soon afterwards – that included many soft skills on a compulsory basis.

I left the university because I had to resign to become a candidate for Parliament. I enjoy working with my former colleagues, and still help with vivas and moderation of papers. Most recently I used part of my decentralized budget (the rest was in the Vavuniya District, for ex-combatants) to work through the English Language Teaching Department of the University to run workshops in Primary Level English. One of my former students, who is now on the staff proved an excellent trainer, and has been used by other organizations for training in Jaffna too, in recent months. I had stopped working as a sort of protest many years ago, but that was with regard to students and was of very brief duration, when I refused to teach second years until the ragging stopped. You will also recall that, when I was Dean, and took a strong stand against ragging, the senior students threw a lunch packet at me.

It missed, but had the effect of some brave first years following my instructions and not those of the seniors. After that the ragging for that year diminished, though unfortunately it was revived in later years. I am deeply relieved then that the present Minister and his colleagues have taken such a strong stand on university reforms and the eradication of ragging. This is not an endeavour in which there can be half measures, and I am aware that many students are appreciative of efforts that are entirely for their benefit and support efforts to make our university system more productive.’

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