Colombo University don publishes timely book on education

Colombo University don publishes timely book on education


Professor Panduka Karunanayake from the department of clinical medicine of the Faculty of Medicine recently published a book on education, titled Ruptures in Sri Lanka’s Education: Genesis, Present Status and Reflections (Sarasavi). The foreword to the book was written by Professor Sasanka Perera, who is an alumnus of our University.

From the back cover of the book:

In this compilation of 25 essays on Sri Lanka’s education written over a span of about 15 years, Panduka Karunanayake captures the momentous changes in the field through almost two centuries through a telescopic lens, and delves into its current main problems through a wide-angle lens. How exactly are education, society and economics entwined? What is the current status of the Kannangara reforms? What is the role of the private sector in university education? What is the role of the university in society? Karunanayake analyses these issues with a keen eye for detail and a broad approach covering several disciplines, while also retaining in the background the focus on secular trends and global changes. These thought-provoking essays, backed up by richly detailed endnotes and an extensive bibliography, would capture the interest of everyone with an irrepressible concern about how education can contribute towards – and why it has singularly failed in – Sri Lanka’s nation-building.

Excerpts from reviews:

A timely, thoughtful book about the education black hole.

Education could well be one of the most discussed but least researched subjects in Sri Lanka. In that context, [the book] fills a void. It is also highly readable because he delights in debunking myths and exposing fallacies that surrounded the controversial, divisive subject that our education system has become over the years.

Prof. Karunanayake sounds not so much an exasperated prophet but a sane voice in the wilderness. His despair at the way things have deteriorated over the decades is obvious in every page, but he doesn’t let this overwhelm his task of analysis, and approaches it with the finesse of a surgeon dissecting a moribund case…Importantly, Prof. Karunanayake meshes his historical perspective with happenings in the UK and Europe, very thoughtful at a time when many Lankans writing on academic subjects simply forget that the outside world exists and that many of our institutions owe their origins to those external sources.

Where did we go wrong? The author starts with debunking one deep-rooted fallacy – that Dr. C. W. W. Kannangara’s ‘free education’ reforms’ started the rot. Prof. Karnanayake’s research goes a long away to expose the myths that cloud the Kannangara reforms… With his characteristic broad-based approach, the author shows that these reforms came at a time when internationally too, the philosophy of education was going through a momentous transformation, “with John Dewey, Bertrand Russel, Rabindranath Tagore and others discovering the potential of science for the emancipation of humanity…” The author absolves Dr. Kannangara of blame for the socio-political mayhem post-1956, observing cryptically that as a result Sri Lankan democracy ceased to fit Abraham Lincoln’s description of ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’ and came to resemble Benjamin Franklin’s description: “Two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for lunch.”

From the review by Gamini Akmeemana, Daily Mirror (August 02, 2021)

Professor Karunanayake’s arguments are sound and fortuitously timely. The Minister of Education announced some time back that the government would reconsider the entire design and content of education. It is your function to contribute to those mighty tasks. Professor Karunanayake’s book helps.

From the review by Usvatte-aratchi, The Island (June 30, 2021)

A timely intellectual intervention with a great deal of discussion on education in the country and how it should be reformed. In a scenario where State proposals for education reforms are often based on short-sighted and poor analytical reports, the book comes into the domain of discussions on education as a complex and thought-provoking engagement.

Although I am not in complete agreement with some arguments presented by Professor Karunanayake, it has allowed me to think about different spaces of education which were invisible to me earlier. Being a professional in the medical field, the enthusiasm which has been shown by the author in the broader field of education must be appreciated.

From the review by Anushka Kahandagamage, Sunday Observer (July 11, 2021)

රටේ අධ්‍යාපනය සහ එය ප්‍රතිසකස්කළ යුතු ආකාරය පිලිබඳ විශාල කතාබහක් ඇති වී තිබෙන මෙම යුගය සමඟ ග්‍රන්ථය මනාව ගැළපෙයි. අදූර දර්ශී මෙන්ම විශ්ලේෂණ, විග්‍රහ වලින් විනිර්මුක්ත වූ අධ්‍යාපන ප්‍රතිසංස්කරණ යෝජනා කෙරෙමින් පවතින යුගයක අධ්‍යාපනය සහ අධ්‍යාපන ප්‍රතිසංස්කරණ ගැන සිතා බැලීමට ග්‍රන්ථය මඟින් ඉමහත් පිටිවහලක් සපයයි. කතුවරයා ඉදිරිපත් කරන සියලු කරුණු සමඟ එකඟ නොවූවත්, අධ්‍යාපනය පිලිබඳ මා නොදුටු මානයන් ස්පර්ශ කිරීමට ග්‍රන්ථය විසින් අවකාශ සළසයි. වෛද්‍ය ක්‍ෂේත්‍රයට අයත් අයකු ලෙස, ලංකාවේ අධ්‍යාපනය සම්බන්ධව කතුවරයාට ඇති උනන්දුව වඩාත් අගය කළයුත්තකි. වසර 15ක් පුර කතුවරයා පුවත්පත් මෙන්ම වෙනත් ප්‍රකාශන සඳහා ලංකාවේ අධ්‍යාපනය පිලිබඳ ලියනලද ලිපි මෙම ග්‍රන්ථයේ මූලික අඩිතාලම සකසන අතර, කතුවරයාට අනුව ග්‍රන්ථයේ දෙවන පරිච්ඡේදය විශේෂිත වන්නේ, එය ග්‍රන්ථය වෙනුවෙන්ම සම්පාදිත බැවිනි. කතුවරයා අධ්‍යාපනය පිලිබඳ ලියූ වසර 15ක කාල පරිච්ඡේදය තුළ ලංකාවේ ඇතිවූ ආර්ථික, සමාජ, සංස්කෘතික සහ දේශපාලනික වෙනස්කම් අධ්‍යාපනය කෙරෙහි බලපෑම් කළ ආකාරයත්, ඒවා ගෝලීය මට්ටම සමඟ සම්බන්ධ වූ ආකාරයත් පිළිබඳව ග්‍රන්ථය තුළ සරල බසින් විග්‍රහකර ඇත. ලංකාවේ යටත්විජිත සමයට පෙර අධ්‍යාපනය පිලිබඳ යම් කරුණු හැඳින්වීමේ අඩංගු වුවත්, ග්‍රන්ථයේ මූලික අවධානය යොමු වන්නේ නූතන අධ්‍යාපනය සහ එය මුහුණ දෙන ගැටළු පිළිබඳවයි.

මෙම ග්‍රන්ථය ලංකාවේ අධ්‍යාපනයේ ඉතිහාසය ඉතාම සැකෙවින් සහ සරලව ඉදිරිපත්කරන අතර, අධ්‍යාපන ප්‍රතිසංස්කරණ පිලිබඳ කතිකාවට අලුත් අදහස් ගණනාවක් එක්කරනු ලබයි. එමෙන්ම ලෝකයේ විවිධ රටවල උදාහරණ සහ ඒවායේ සාර්ථක අසාර්ථක භාවයත්, ඒවා ලංකා සමාජයට ගලපා ගත (නො)හැකි ආකාරයත් විටින් විට මතු කරයි.

අනුෂ්කා කහඳගමගේ (පණ්ඩුක-කරුණානයක-ආමන්ත්‍ර