Education - Page 2

Rogue Academics in Sri Lanka: Time to Clean the South Eastern Uni

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by a Special Correspondent

Sri Lanka Guardian has received a copy of A. Rameez’s (Vice-Chancellor, SEUSL) professorship application (Dated and signed on 04th September 2019). A. Rameez is serving as a professor in Sociology at South Eastern University of Sri Lanka since 05th September 2019.

The readers might be aware that Sri Lanka Guardian published two articles in November 2022 (http://slguardian.org/inside-story-rogue-academics-in-sri-lanka, and http://slguardian.org/inside-story-rogue-academics-in-sri-lanka-part-2) regarding major research fraudulence committed by A. Rameez. Both articles made shocking revelations about Poor Academic Ethics & Integrity by A. Rameez and the Teacher’s Association of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (TASEU) urged the current Vice-Chancellor A. Rameez to step down following the allegations made in Sri Lanka Guardian. But A. Rameez is still holding on to the VC’s chair despite his Academic Integrity being in the graves.

While there is a huge argument regarding A. Rameez still being the Vice Chancellor at SEUSL, the new shocking evidence in his professorship application brings serious questions on his eligibility to be a professor at the institute and to continue to serve as an academic staff member.

A thorough and detailed investigation of his professorship application was carried out. This revealed evidence, showing that a significant number of research publications with various types of research fraudulence authored by A. Rameez have been included in his claim for the professorship.

A critical analysis of the findings from his professorship application is summarized below;

  1.  “Ageing and Health Seeking Behaviour: A Medical Sociological Approach to Nintavur Divisional Secretariat, Sri Lanka”. Professor A. Rameez, being the primary and corresponding author has published this abstract in the South Eastern University Arts Research Session 2015 (http://ir.lib.seu.ac.lk/handle/123456789/1532). This abstract has been written by A. Rameez and his co-authors by stealing nearly 80% of an abstract of another published journal article related to actual research conducted in Nigeria. (The original article has been published in Vol. 7, No. 1 (2014), pp. 201-210 of International Review of Social Sciences and Humanities (ISSN 2248-9010 (Online), ISSN 2250-0715 (Print)). The abstract “Ageing and Health Seeking Behaviour: A Medical Sociological Approach to Nintavur Divisional Secretariat, Sri Lanka” co-authored by Rameez .A, Riswan.M and Lumna.N (http://ir.lib.seu.ac.lk/handle/123456789/1532) was published in the South Eastern University Arts Research Session 2015.
  1. A. Rameez has claimed points for the above fraudulent abstract as Rameez, A. (2015). Aging and Health Seeking Behaviour: Medical Sociological Approach to Ninthavur Divisional Secretariat, Sri Lanka, Proceedings of Fourth International Conference on Emerging Trends in Multidisciplinary Research and Practice, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Oluvil, ,(22nd December, 2015)”.

He has claimed points for this plagiarized abstract as if it was a work of his individual authorship and presentation while concealing the contribution of the other co-authors in his application to become a professor. The sole purpose of this act of malice is to claim the complete marks possible for this publication in his professorship application. This act raises question whether Riswan. M and Lumna. N were really involved in the above mentioned plagiarism or it was Rameez.A alone!

  1. “Rameez, A. (2019). Disasters and Social Capital in Sri Lanka: A Conceptual and Theoretical Analysis, Classical Thamizh, Vol.07(01): 319-330, January-March 2019, Raja Publications, Tamil Nadu, India.”

This article has been published in a print only journal by A. Rameez in 2019 and he has committed plagiarism by copying the genuine work of Vincent Hazleton and William Kennan (Social capital: reconceptualizing the bottom line; Corporate Communications: An International Journal Volume 5 . Number 2 . 2000. pp. 81-86)

 “Disasters and Social Capital in Sri Lanka: A Conceptual and Theoretical Analysis, Classical Thamizh, Vol.07(01): 319-330, January-March 2019, Raja Publications, Tamil Nadu, India.” is a 100% self-plagiarism by A. Rameez. He had already published the same article in year 2016 in KALAM -International Research Journal, Faculty of Arts and Culture, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Volume X Issue 1, 2016. The print version of Kalam Journal issue is still carrying the same article from page numbers 01-13.

  1. A. Rameez has published “Rameez, A. (2019). Chronic Kidney Disease in Sri Lanka: Factors and Impacts, Classical Thamizh, Vol.07(01): 331-337, January-March 2019, Raja Publications, Tamil Nadu, India.”. More than 70% of this article has been copied from “Sameera Senanayake, Chronic kidney disease in Sri Lanka: a glimpse into lives of the affected, Journal of the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka 2018, 24 (2) DOI: https://doi.org/10.4038/jccpsl.v24i2.8158”.

A.Rameez has directly translated the contents of “Sameera Senanayake, Chronic kidney disease in Sri Lanka: a glimpse into lives of the affected, Journal of the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka 2018, 24 (2) DOI: https://doi.org/10.4038/jccpsl.v24i2.8158” from English to Tamil and he has published this as his own scientific work.

  1. A. Rameez has published “Rameez, A. (2019). A Sociological Analysis on Current Economic Dynamics in Postwar Eastern Sri Lanka, Modern Thamizh Research, Vol.07(01): 349-356, January-March 2019, Raja Publications, Tamil Nadu, India.”

More than 70% of this article has been stolen from the 4th chapter of a book, Shadows of Conflict in Northern & Eastern Sri Lanka: Challenges & Way Forward written by Anna O’Donnell, Mohamed Ghani Razaak, Markus Kostner, Jeeva Perumpillai-Essex in 2018. The 4th chapter of this book is “Current Economic Dynamics in Postwar Sri Lanka”. A. Rameez has filtered the contents relevant to the Eastern Province carefully from this book chapter and composed his article. But the particular book chapter describes the economy of Northern and Eastern Provinces. Several other errors that may amount to data fabrication have also been observed in the version by A. Rameez.

  1. A. Rameez has completed his M.Phil studies at University of Peradeniya to attain his promotion and confirmation. The title of the thesis is “The role of social capital in Disaster Management: A study of a Tsunami affected coastal village in Eastern Sri Lanka”. A preliminary check-up of his thesis has revealed word to word plagiarism from page number 32 to 39 appearing as continuous flow of text throughout pages, having been stolen from another journal article by V. Hazleton and W. Kennan.  

A.Rameez has several other articles listed in his professorship application to have been published in print-only Journals from Tamil Nadu, India – all by the same publishing company, whose official address is the same as the residential address of one Dr. M. Sadik Batcha, an associate professor of Tamil Studies at Jamal Mohamed College based in Tamil Nadu, India (https://www.jmc.edu/include/department/tamil/staff/profile/Dr.SADIK-10-08-2021.pdf). The Journal of Classical Thamizh and Modern Thamizh published by Raja Publishers from Tamil Nadu, India has published 08 articles authored by A. Rameez during the period of 2018 & 2019. One of the main editorial board members of the Modern Thamizh Research journals is a chair professor of Tamil Studies at the same faculty at SEUSL where A. Rameez is also an academic member. Among these 08 publications, 03 of them had major research fraudulences as described above. The rest of the publications in these journals by A. Rameez has revealed poor standard of academic publications and evidence of fraudulency.

  1. Rameez, A. (2019). Islamophobia and Increasing Trend of Extremism in Muslim Countries, Classical Thamizh, Vol.07(01): 464- 471, January-March 2019, Raja Publications, Tamil Nadu, India
  2. Rameez, A. (2019). Economic Initiatives in Post War Sri Lanka: A Perspective of Northern and Eastern Province, Classical Thamizh, Vol.07(02): 186-193, May-June 2019, Raja Publications, Tamil Nadu, India.
  3. Rameez, A. (2019). Conflict Theory of Gumblowics and Sri Lankan Society, Modern Thamizh Research, Vol.07(02): 357-366, May-June 2019, Raja Publications, Tamil Nadu, India.
  4. Rameez, A. (2019). Social Media and Ethnic Violence: A Sociological Perspective of Ampara and Digana Riots, Modern Thamizh Research, Vol.07(01): 357-366, January-March 2019, Raja Publications, Tamil Nadu, India.
  5. Rameez, A. (2019). Cultural Dimension of Eastern Muslims of Sri Lanka: A Sociological Perspective, Modern Thamizh Research, Vol.06(04): 276-294, October, Decemebr 2018, Raja Publications, Tamil Nadu, India.

Sri Lanka Guardian still wonders about the review processes followed by these local and international journals, where A. Rameez was able to publish his fraudulent articles. In an era with sophisticated tools to identify plagiarism, the above-mentioned journals have missed smelling this significant fraudulence. Do these journals have the policy to retract all publications from a fraudulent author and declare the action of retraction in public?! This may help to regulate the publication mafia and to establish standards in academic publishing in these peripheries of Sri Lankan academia.

Quite interestingly, A. Rameez has also listed the publications below in his professorship application:

  • “Rameez, A. (2018). Sociology of Sri Lankan Muslims: Dealing with different dimensions of Muslim Society, Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 13(07): 1782-1793 (Indexed in Scopus)”. This publication has been listed among one of the five outstanding research papers/ publications in the professorship application by A. Rameez.
  • “Rameez, A. (2019). Second Minority in Sri Lanka: Genesis and Current Crisis, International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences Vol. 6(4): 53-58 (Indexed in Emerging Sources of Citation Index (Clarivate Analytics)).”

One may wonder what’s the relevance between the journal names and the titles of the published articles. Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences is a publication from Medwell Publications. Sources such as Beall’s List have named this publisher as a Predatory publisher! Similarly, the International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences is listed as a Predatory publisher in Beall’s List. Further analysis is required to confirm the claims of indexing and the truth behind these journal metrics having been claimed.

A professorship application with a composition of fraudulent and predatory publications has been reviewed and evaluated at various levels by many salaried academics in the Sri Lankan state university system. Though this application passed all the checkpoints, many questions now originate regarding the Review and Evaluation processes. Another interesting fact in the application noted was that, Professor M.M.M. Najim serving as the Vice Chancellor of SEUSL in 2019 has recommended the Application and the List of Publications, while the Curriculum Vitae attached by A. Rameez with the professorship application mentions Prof. M.M.M. Najim as one of his Non-Related Referees.

An academic, who has been clever enough to escape various steps of scrutiny is the current vice chancellor of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka. The damage to the academic standard which can be caused by this vice chancellor can become irreparable at any cost and can affect the quality of undergraduate and postgraduate education. The Senate and Council of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka have a responsibility in these matters. Allowing these substandard applications for further processing and approval is drastic damage to the overall academic standard in the whole university system in Sri Lanka. The focus on increasing the number of professors should be aimed out on bringing about well-qualified professors at this institute.  It is a million-dollar question from Sri Lanka Guardian, how did A. Rameez escape all the steps in the evaluation of becoming a professor? Or else, was it a well-orchestrated coercion by an academic underworld to make this man of near zero quality and no integrity a professor in order to make him stand out as a justifiable candidate for the contest for the position of vice chancellor in the very following year?!

Who is responsible to repair these damages already done?! The Registrar or the Senate or the Council of the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka have the authority to carry out complete and thorough investigations on A. Rameez and to revoke the professorship gained through fraudulent publications and false claims. A Vice Chancellor, who should be an exemplary academic member at various calibres, cannot be a role model for fraudulency.

The consequences of the negligence of signalling by academic members of the institution of systematic fraudulence are apparent now. Research fraud is a Professor and Vice-Chancellor. He is being paid many millions of Rupees from the Taxpayers’ money per annum. Imagine the number of millions he can earn through these fraudulent till his retirement! Isn’t A. Rameez accountable for the taxpayers’ money?! A bankrupt country can only become even more bankrupt by producing academically bankrupt outputs by academically and ethically bankrupt academics.

Sri Lanka Guardian is curious to raise these questions at His Excellency the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Hon. Minister of Education and the respected Chairman of the University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka:

  1. Is A. Rameez still eligible to hold the position of Vice-Chancellor?
  2. Is A. Rameez still eligible to serve as a professor?
  3. Is A. Rameez still eligible to hold a teaching and academic supervisory position at a government university?

Sri Lanka Guardian has received further evidence regarding another professorship application from the same institution. An academic in the field of Information and Communication Technology has published more than 20 indexed publications in a particular year right before he applies for the professorship. The Scopus ID of the particular academic doesn’t show any of those publications to have been listed as indexed publications under his name! It was further brought to the notice of Sri Lanka Guardian that, the promotion interview of this particular applicant was postponed at the last moment due to the withdrawal of the evaluators, who were supposed to have functioned as the field-related experts, just a few days before the evaluation interview! Notably, this candidate has not completed his Doctoral degree and the provision for this in UGC circulars is being exploited by a few corrupted academics to become professors. Currently, there are a number of professors in this institution who have attained professorships with their Master’s Degrees alone by publishing more than 20 (indexed?) research papers in a year just before they apply for professorship! A prominent example of this nature of professorship can be seen at the Department of Management & Information Technology at SEUSL. This academic member has published more than 20 (? Indexed) publications in a year before his application to become a professor. These few of the corrupted academic individuals at SEUSL can be used as samples for case studies to show; how they are academically corrupted, how they have mishandled the publication ethics, how they have exploited the UGC circulars and how they have mishandled the public fund. Imagine the volume of public funds mishandled by these academics from this institution if there are 11 such professors in this category, for example!

The South Eastern University of Sri Lanka is a national asset. It is run with Taxpayers’ money. The country is currently in an economic downfall. Production of High-Quality Graduates is necessary for the recovery of this country. From a spoiled Chief Executive Officer and from a few corrupted fake professors and unqualified academics, the production of High-Quality Graduates will be a Nightmare! Imagine the damage this does to the perceived quality of the random Sri Lankan graduate in any field of study that’s also available at SEUSL! Imagine the challenges that are to be faced by the graduates of the rest of the universities while abroad when the overall assessment of the quality of Sri Lankan graduates are negatively affected by the products of the academic underworld made of the underqualified professors of SEUSL! Imagine the unfair disadvantage that the poor quality products graduated by the academic underworld comprising the likes of A. Rameez of SEUSL will be putting the graduates of the rest of the Sri Lankan university system, who go through scrutiny and rigour, at when competing in the job market in Sri Lanka, especially in the Sri Lankan public sector, especially in academia! According to the assessment schemes for recruitment to university academic positions, a first-class is a first-class regardless of whether it was conferred by ordinary academics of Sri Lanka or by the academic underworld at SEUSL – you are ahead with 5% additional marks in comparison to a graduate with a second-class-upper-honours.

A rapid rectification with state intervention is the need of the hour within this institution to preserve the Academic Standards of all the graduates being produced from the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka. The autonomy provided to universities has been exploited at the best in this institution by the current and previous vice-chancellors in producing substandard professors. If no immediate intervention is done to regulate this Higher Education Authority by the Government of Sri Lanka, it will make the Billions of money allocated for the functioning of SEUSL meaningless and it may be equivalent to throwing all of that money into the river flowing adjacent to this university.

Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka; Is it an Upshot of Free Education System? – Part I

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According to recorded history, the education system in Sri Lanka commenced after the arrival of Buddhism in the 3rd BC. Since then, it has evolved parallel to the expansion of Buddhism in the country.  This education system focused on studying religion (Buddhism) using Sanskrit and Pali languages and, to a lesser degree Hela Basha (as early Buddhist Commentaries or Hela Atuwa had been written in vernacular language). Subsequently, Sinhala became a medium of education in Privena (Buddhist Monasteries). However, like English in the modern world, Paali and Sanskrit were the elites’ languages and symbols of knowledge in the olden days. Ancient education was mainly targeted at Buddhist priests, Royal families, and nobles who were expected to be ruling class members. This education facility was provided by Pirivenas, primarily located on Buddhist temple premises, and teaching Buddhism was its main undisputed task. However, the knowledge required to maintain the socio-economic and political system of the day, such as astrology, medicine, governing principles, judicial matters, and military science, was also taught. Today, the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka assures the right to universal and equal access to education to persons at all levels and eradicates illiteracy. The average adult literacy rate in Sri Lanka was 97% in 2019, above the world and regional averages. Sri Lanka has a very high unemployment rate among youths who have completed secondary and university education.

Modern Education System in Ceylon- Favouritism

Christian Missionaries introduced Sri Lanka’s modern education system in the 19th century during the colonial period. Missionaries became very active in education in Colombo, Jaffna, and a few other main cities, mainly located in coastal areas. Missionaries played a prominent role in education in Jaffna peninsula due to contributory factors such as:

  1. Relatively a high density of Christian/ Catholic population in the Peninsula.
  2.  Even before the British period, Portuguese and Dutch missionaries had started the modern education system in Jaffna to train people to spread Christianity and participate in the administration.
  3. Due to the scarcity of natural resources in the peninsula, Tamils considered education an alternative for economic well-being and prioritised it.
  4. Sinhalese and Muslims were more interested in agriculture and trade, respectively, and had little interest in government employment. Hence, they did not look at education as a means of income.

 After 1836, based on the recommendation of the Colebrook Commission, the British Government commenced the fee-levying English medium schooling system and established a few schools in the main cities. Those were limited to well-to-do people in central cities and people who could afford to attend those schools. Most Tamil and Sinhala ordinary children who lived in rural areas were deprived of English and secondary education. Education in vernacular was free due to government grants for recurrent expenses and the contribution of local well-wishers. Those schools were limited to primary and junior secondary education to improve literacy, basic writing, and reading skills. Therefore, students at vernacular schools had no opportunity for secondary education and higher education in English.

Under the colonial regime, Catholic and Christian communities enjoyed a privileged position in education. For instance, by 1939, while Catholics and Christians were only 6.3% of the country’s population, they received 73.7% of the government grants for Assisted Schools.  Schools for Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims, who accounted for 93.7 % of the population, received only 26.8 % of government grants. English, the language of the colonial masters, was the language of administration. The primary purpose of the then education system was to produce the workforce required for the colonial administration, inculcate English cultural values, and increase the awareness of the British Empire among ordinary citizens.

Reputed schools established in Colombo were open to well-to-do people of all ethnic groups (Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Malay, Burger, etc.).  But, due to the locational advantage, Jaffna schools were catering mainly to the Tamil community, giving them a disproportional advantage. Under these circumstances, well-to-do Tamils enjoyed the lion’s share of the English, secondary and higher education, including medicine, law, and science.  Also, the official language of the government was English. As such, middle and senior public service positions were also staffed mainly by Tamils, significantly exceeding their proportion of the total population. For instance, “in 1956, eight years after the independence, Tamils constituted 30% of the administrative panel, 50% of the clerical personnel of the railways, postal and custom service; 60% of the doctors, engineers, and lawyers; 40% of the armed forces, and 40% of other labour forces”.( The Ethnic Conflict of Sri Lanka: A Historical and Social Outline- SasankaPerera), while their share of the population in the country was less than 11%.   However, it should not be interpreted that the entire Tamil community benefitted from the then education system. Due to social stratification, the lower strata of the Tamil community were denied even free primary education. If at all, Sinhala and Tamil-educated ordinary people could join public service mainly as minor employees. Yet, Sinhalese did not wish to join many categories of government jobs (as minor employees)that were available according to their educational qualifications but did not match the social status enjoyed as farmers.

Although English was the official language, the Tamils had a minor advantage over the Sinhala community as most of the bureaucracy could speak some Tamils. If Sinhala people were to communicate their grievances to the bureaucracy, they depended on petition writers to write in English. During the colonial period, the ordinary Sinhala majority did not have the resources and opportunity to compete with the Tamil minority in public administration. Sinhala community understood it as domination by the Tamil minority over the Sinhala majority and looked enviously at the success of the Tamil minority. They could not see it as a problem of the colonial governance and education system, known as divide and rule. Until the 1960s, Sinhalese kept complaining about the Tamil over-representation in public service, especially in high-level professions such as medicine and engineering. Before the 1970s, Tamil overrepresentation in universities, especially in medicine, engineering, and science, was a primary grievance of the Sinhala community. According to the University entrance system, “Those who scored highest gain access to different faculties in universities irrespective of their district from which they came. While there was no bias inherent in this system, Tamils from Jaffna and Colombo did particularly well. For example, in the 1969-1970 intake to science and engineering courses, Tamils accounted 35%, while they accounted for over 45% of the intake of engineering and medical faculties”.  (The Ethnic Conflict of Sri Lanka: A Historical and Social Outline-SasankaPerera)

Free Education for All

The people of the then Ceylon got a reasonable share in the governance of their own country under the Donoughmore Commission Reforms in 1931.  Under these reforms, Sinhalese, the majority population, got more political power than other communities. Against this backdrop, they launched various campaigns to wield the power of Sinhala politicians to get a due share in education and public administration.

Under DrC.W.W.Kannangara, the Executive Committee on Education of the State Council of Ceylon took the initiative to establish a free education system for all. Based on the recommendation of this committee, the Free Education bill was introduced in the State Council in 1943, and approval was granted to implement it effective from 1st October 1945. According to this, every child above the age of 5 is entitled to free education irrespective of class, caste, or ethnicity. Also, the Language of instruction was made the SWAHBASHA (mother tongue). The decision to teach in the mother tongue may have been taken because the country lacked the capacity and resources to provide universal and equal access to education at all levels in the English medium. At that time, only about 7% of the population was literate in English. But the country had adequate capacity to provide education in vernacular. Also, both Sinhala and Tamil were well-developed languages used as mediums of instruction for oriental studies. Many people, as a passion or due to ignorance, blame S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike for changing the medium of instruction from English to Sinhala, but he has nothing to do with it. However, his patriotic movement created more enthusiasm for Sinhala as it was the official language. The use of Vernacular in secondary education was a baby of Kannangara, introduced along with the Central College system. Accordingly, changing the medium of instruction from English to vernacular in universities necessitated an automatic process during the Bandaranaike period.

Secondary Education for Rural Poor

The system of Central Colleges, introduced by Minister Kannangara, was commenced and modelled on Colombo Royal College. The program was to establish one such school in each electorate with hostel facilities in different areas of the country outside main cities but in central locations to provide secondary education in Sinhala and Tamil mediums. At the inception, students at Central Colleges were given a good English education, enabling them to proceed with higher education in English. The initiative of Minister Kannangarawas a turning point and a revolutionary step in the Ceylon education system, which was hitherto limited to the well-to-do people of the main cities. The system was further strengthened by providing scholarships to study in central colleges for poor but clever students of remote primary and junior secondary schools, enabling them to cover the cost of food and logging, clothes, textbooks, etc. As a result, many Sinhala and Tamil students in less privileged areas and less privileged families got secondary and higher education opportunities. The free education system and the establishment of the central college system reduced the imbalances in ethnic composition, rural-urban composition, and rich-poor composition in secondary and higher education and public service to a certain extent. However, the number of such schools was limited to 54 and could not significantly change the existing ethnic composition of the enrolment in Secondary and higher education and public service. As the public service was rapidly expanding, this marginal increase in educated people did not affect the Tamil and Sinhala elites. Hence there was no visible objection to the reform.

Free Education for AllBecameAReality and A Responsibility Of The Government

Assisted Schools and Training Colleges (Special Provisions) Act passed in 1960; was an Act that enabled the government to take over the ownership and management of many schools and training colleges managed by non-governmental organisations and private parties.  There was a big protest by the catholic organisation against the takeover of schools by the government. But the poor segment of the Catholics supported the move as their children would benefit immensely from the free education system. The Act was passed in the parliament with 60-member majority votes. However, United National Party and Federal Party, which represented Sinhala and Tamil elites voted against this Act. Under this Act, the government took over many schools that belonged to the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka and schools that the Buddhist Theosophical Society managed. After implementing the above Act, the Free Education Ordinance- of 1943 became a reality. It practically ensured free education for all Sri Lankan children in their mother tongue, regardless of ethnicity, class, caste, and other socioeconomic differences. Since then, free education has become the government’s responsibility and children’s right.It ensures free education for any Sri Lankan child from kindergarten to a university degree. This means that every Sri Lankan, by birth or registration, endows full insurance coverage for education.

Along with these initiatives, in addition to the hitherto existing limited number of Central Colleges,manyMahaVidyalayas (like central colleges but without hostels) were established/upgraded all over the country, catering to all rural areas to teach up to the university entrance level in the mother tongue. To facilitate this process, the medium of instruction in universities also changed from English to the mother tongue (Sinhala and Tamil). Also, before this, two new universities Vidyodaya and Vidyalankara) were established, which enabled it to accommodate the increasing number of undergraduates coming from newly established Mahavidyalayas.

Equal Access

Before the 1960 forms, most poor Sinhalese, Muslims, and Tamils were educationally backward.In the early 1960s, parallel to the expansion of Sinhala and Tamil Schools for secondary education, the number of Muslim schools increased for primary and secondary education. The minimum academic qualification to recruit teachers during this period was GCE (O/L). But the Muslim community did not have an adequate number of people with minimum qualifications then. The minimum qualification criteria were relaxed in appointing teachers to Muslim schools to overcome this vacuum. Without the said special preference, it would have been impossible to trigger off education among poor Muslims.

However, at the inception, there was no adequate number of qualified teachers and other facilities in newly established/upgraded MahaVidyalayas.Therefore, the quality of education in these schools was much lower than in Central Colleges and reputed urban colleges. Further, most of these schools did not have facilities for science education. As such, university entrance from these MahaVidyalayas was limited to arts streams. They could not send students to universities to be qualified as doctors, engineers, scientists, accountants, or other professionals.

Educated Unemployed Youths as a Pressure Group

Regardless of various constraints, many students from less privileged areas and families became graduates qualified in art subjects. Most of them could not find gainful employment according to their expectations. Though university education is free, students who entered universities from low-income families were faced with numerous problems in financing the cost of food and lodging, transport, teaching aids, etc. Very often; their parents were indebted to fund those expenses and compelled to compromise the education of other children in the same family. Towards the late1960s, there was a large backlog of unemployed graduates. They became a dynamic and knowledgeable but frustrated lot, creating a new socio-economic and political problem. This was a more serious issue among the Sinhala community than among the Tamils. Still, the Tamil elites enjoyed a significant share of science education. As such, they felt the problem very little and were not bothered about the unemployment of art graduates from less privileged families. Moreover, due to the solid social stratification in the northern area, unemployed Tamil graduates did not have a social environment conducive to becoming a powerful pressure group to bargain with politicians or the government for jobs. They were voiceless at the regional as well as national levels. Even in those days, Northern politicians did not live in their constituency with the community, and there was a wide gap between political leaders and constituents. Despite that,Tamil political leaders did not want to see and did not allow the youth to understand that unemployment among educated youth is a national problem. Instead, they interpreted it as discrimination against Tamils and an ethnicity-related issue. They used the national crisis to justify a separate Tamil Country within Sri Lanka.

However, unemployed Sinhala graduates agitated against the then government, requesting a resolution for the graduate unemployment. They became an organised major political force in the late 1960s, and their pressure on the political leaders increased. During the 1970 General election campaign, United Front, led by Sri Lanka Freedom Party, pledged to resolve this burning socio-economic issue if they came into power. Against this backdrop, that party was supported by unemployed graduates, parents, and university academic staff. United Front won the general election and came into power with an overwhelming majority. Meanwhile, the Tamil leadership was preparing their youths to agitate for a separate state to resolve core problems, including unemployment.

To be continued

The Perils of Pious Neoliberalism

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The International Labour Organisation’s Global Wage Report 2022–23 tracks the horrendous collapse of real wages for billions of people around the planet. The gaping distance between the incomes and wealth of 99% of the world’s population from the incomes and wealth of the billionaires and near-trillionaires who make up the richest 1% is appalling. During the pandemic, when most of the world has experienced a dramatic loss in their livelihoods, the ten richest men in the world have doubled their fortunes. This extreme wealth inequality, now entirely normal in our world, has produced immense and dangerous social consequences.

If you take a walk in any city on the planet, not just in the poorer nations, you will find larger and larger clusters of housing that are congested with destitution. They go by many names: bastisbidonvilledaldongnehfavelasgecekondukampung kumuh, slums, and Sodom and Gomorrah. Here, billions of people struggle to survive in conditions that are unnecessary in our age of massive social wealth and innovative technology. But the near-trillionaires seize this social wealth and prolong their half-century tax strike against governments, which paralyses public finances and enforces permanent austerity on the working class. The constricting squeeze of austerity defines the world of the bastis and the favelas as people constantly struggle to overcome the obstinate realities of hunger and poverty, a near absence of drinking water and sewage systems, and a shameful lack of education and medical care. In these bidonvilles and slums, people are forced to create new forms of everyday survival and new forms of belief in a future for themselves on this planet.

These forms of everyday survival can be seen in the self-help organisations – almost always run by women – that exist in the harshest environments, such as inside Africa’s largest slum, Kibera (Nairobi, Kenya), or in environments supported by governments with few resources, such as in Altos de Lídice Commune (Caracas, Venezuela). The Austerity State in the capitalist world has abandoned its elementary duty of relief, with non-governmental organisations and charities providing necessary but insufficient band-aids for societies under immense stress.

Not far from the charities and self-help organisations sit a persistent fixture in the planet of slums: gangs, the employment agencies of distress. These gangs assemble the most distressed elements of society – mostly men – to manage a range of illegal activities (drugs, sex trafficking, protection rackets, gambling). From Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl (Mexico City, Mexico) to Khayelitsha (Cape Town, South Africa) to Orangi Town (Karachi, Pakistan), the presence of impoverished thugs, from petty thieves or malandros to members of large-scale gangs, is ubiquitous. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the favelados (‘slum dwellers’) of Antares call the entrance of their neighbourhood bocas (‘mouths’), the mouths from which drugs can be bought and the mouths that are fed by the drug trade.

In this context of immense poverty and social fragmentation, people turn to different kinds of popular religions for relief. There are practical reasons for this turn, of course, since churches, mosques, and temples provide food and education as well as places for community gatherings and activities for children. Where the state mostly appears in the form of the police, the urban poor prefer to take refuge in charity organisations that are often connected in some way or another to religious orders. But these institutions do not draw people in only with hot meals or evening songs; there is a spiritual allure that should not be minimised.

Our researchers in Brazil have been studying the Pentecostal movement for the past few years, conducting ethnographic research across the country to understand the appeal of this rapidly growing denomination. Pentecostalism, a form of evangelical Christianity, emerged as a site of concern because it has begun to shape the consciousness of the urban poor and the working class in many countries with traditionalist ideas and has been key in efforts to transform these populations into the mass base of the New Right. Dossier no. 59, Religious Fundamentalism and Imperialism in Latin America: Action and Resistance (December 2022), researched and written by Delana Cristina Corazza and Angelica Tostes, synthesises the research of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research (Brazil) working group on evangelism, politics, and grassroots organising. The text charts the rise of the Pentecostal movement in the context of Latin America’s turn to neoliberalism and offers a granular analysis of why these new faith traditions have emerged and why they dovetail so elegantly with the sections of the New Right (including, in the Brazilian context, with the political fortunes of Jair Bolsonaro and the Bolsonaristas).

In the 19th century, a very young Karl Marx captured the essence of religious desire amongst the downtrodden: ‘Religious suffering’, he wrote, ‘is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people’. It is erroneous to assume that the turn to forms of religion is merely about the desperate need for goods that the Austerity State has not been willing to provide. There is more at stake here, far more indeed than Pentecostalism, which has earned our attention, but which is not alone in its work in the slums of the urban poor. Trends similar to Pentecostalism are visible in societies that are dominated by other religious traditions. For instance, the da’wa (‘preachers’) of the Arab world, such as the Egyptian televangelist Amr Khaled, provide a similar kind of balm, while in India, the Art of Living Foundation and a range of small-time sadhus (‘holy men’) along with the Tablighi Jamaat (‘Society for Spreading Faith’) movement provide their own solace.

What unites these social forces is that they do not focus on eschatology, the concern with death and judgment that governs older religious traditions. These new religious forms are focused on life and on living (‘I am the resurrection and the life’, from John 11:25, is a favourite of Pentecostals). To live is to live in this world, to seek fortune and fame, to adopt all the ambitions of a neoliberal society into religion, to pray not to save one’s soul but for a high rate of return. This attitude is called the Life Gospel or the Prosperity Gospel, whose essence is captured in Amr Khaled’s questions: ‘How can we change the whole twenty-four hours into profit and energy? How can we invest the twenty-four hours in the best way?’. The answer is through productive work and prayer, a combination that the geographer Mona Atia calls ‘pious neoliberalism’.

Amidst the despair of great poverty in the Austerity State, these new religious traditions provide a form of hope, a prosperity gospel that suggests that God wants those who struggle to gain wealth in this world and that measures salvation not in terms of divine grace in the afterlife but in the present balance of one’s bank account. Through the affective seizure of hope, these religious institutions, by and large, promote social ideals that are deeply conservative and hateful towards progress (particularly towards LGBTQ+ and women’s rights and sexual freedom).

Our dossier, an opening salvo into understanding the emergence of this range of religious institutions in the world of the urban poor, holds fast to this seizure of the hope of billions of people:

In order to build progressive dreams and visions of the future, we must foster hope among the people that can be lived in their daily reality. We must also recover and translate our history and the struggle for social rights into popular organisation by creating spaces for education, culture, and community in which people can gain better understandings of reality and engage in daily experiences of collective solidarity, leisure, and celebration. In these endeavours, it is important not to neglect or dismiss new or different ways of interpreting the world, such as through religion, but, rather, to foster open-minded and respectful dialogue between them to build unity around shared progressive values.

This is an invitation to a conversation and to praxis around working-class hope that is rooted in the struggles to transcend the Austerity State rather than surrender to it, as ‘pious neoliberalism’ does.

In February 2013, Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, went to the town of Maarat al-Nu’man and beheaded a seventy-year-old statue of the 11th century poet Abu al-Alaa al-Ma’arri. The old poet angered them because he is often thought of as an atheist, although, in truth, he was mainly anti-clerical. In his book Luzum ma la yalzam, al-Ma’arri wrote of the ‘crumbling ruins of the creeds’ in which a scout rode and sang, ‘The pasture here is full of noxious weeds’. ‘Among us falsehood is proclaimed aloud’, he wrote, ‘but truth is whispered… Right and Reason are denied a shroud’. No wonder that the young terrorists – inspired by their own gospel of certainty – decapitated the statue made by the Syrian sculptor Fathi Mohammed. They could not bear the thought of humanity resplendent.

Rogue Academics in Sri Lanka: Step Down Mr Vice Chancellor – Teachers Association 

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by A Special Correspondent

Sri Lanka Guardian published a news article regarding Two (02) Major Research Fraudulency committed by the current vice chancellor of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka on 04th November 2022.

It’s learnt that the Teacher’s Association of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (TASEU) has written a letter to the Vice Chancellor, Professor A. Rameez on 10th November 2022.

Meanwhile, the second article published in Sri Lanka Guardian on 22nd November 2022 brought into light another major 100% Research Fraudulency committed by Professor A. Rameez and his attempt to hide his Research Fraudulency from the E-Repository, SEUSL. The teacher’s Association of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (TASEU) met the Vice Chancellor on 14th November 2022 regarding its above-mentioned letter.

But the second letter written by the Teacher’s Association of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (TASEU) on 24th November 2022 to the Vice Chancellor shows that Prof. A. Rameez has FAILED to Refuse or Clarify the allegations made in the first article published in Sri Lanka Guardian even after the second article was published.

Teacher’s Association of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (TASEU) as a responsible academic union has tried to establish the Academic Integrity of its Institution and its members. But the Vice Chancellor Professor A. Rameez has failed to prove his Academic Integrity by any means of REFUSALS or CLARIFICATION for the allegations in both articles. The silence from the Vice Chancellor has made the dignity and the reputation of the whole academic community into turmoil. It is interesting to notice non-responsiveness from Professor A. Rameez regarding this and no action to step down from the Chief Executive Officer post of a National Higher Education Institution whilst his Academic Integrity in a huge Question.

Sri Lanka Guardian has not received any refusal or clarification about the allegations in both articles till 15th December 2022. But more shockingly it has been learnt that a significant number of Prof. A. Rammez’s publications are identified with various types of Research Fraudulency to date.

Personalised Medicine through routine Genome sequencing in UK

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The world of medicine and diagnostics has over generations gone through tremendous change. The 20th century itself, has witnessed many revolutionary advances in health care. Research into the causes of infectious diseases, the development of vaccines and pharmaceuticals have conquered devastating illness such as polio, smallpox, Ebola and now COVID-19. The first successful organ transplant took place in 1954, now prolonging the lives of heart and other transplants. Over the past decade and since December 2021 alone, better understanding of the mechanisms that cause lung collapse, has improved the ability not only to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, but has been a milestone in medical progress. Innovation is underlying that progress, Accelerating change with many new technologies and medical interventions provide new options for specialist care and treatment, and perhaps future investment?

From Project to Platform Genomics England

The latest development is Genome Sequence. Genome England is a UK Government and NHS research body, planning to turn science into healthcare, through technology.

Since July 2018, as part of the 65th anniversary celebrations of NHS, the UK Department of Health and Social Care was tasked with the project to sequence 100,000 whole genomics from NHS patients with rare diseases, especially with common cancers. After a successful completion of a pilot project, this body is now planning to screen up to 200,000 new born in 2023 to gather data on rare diseases, many of them are genetic.

It is an ethics approved research pilot project for parents to find out what their new born child’s life is going to be like? It is a person centred screening, research and analysis of new born to inform parents with their consent to make informed choices for rare disease, heath care until the child is grown up to be able to make the child’s own choices for necessary treatment.

The impact of the project is to make genomics part of routine check, perhaps similar to advance breast cancer screen, or the PSA Test, but in much greater detail. This is in order to collect data resource to focus for “gene alterations” in a specific list of genes that may increase the risk of rare or incurable disease.

The future of diagnostics and how the data is used?

At the heart of any new development is ethics, consent and security of information. Parents and children should feel satisfied that the data collected is with their consent, ethical and secure.

We are informed that the parents and the children will be able to build in a regular review of their condition, look for any abnormalities that may arise, making sure that the clinical pathways and guidance are safe and robust.

It is anticipated that the future of a condition may not appear until a child is 8 or 10 years old, when the child is mature and be able to make own choices and/orre-consent.

Who has access to the data?

As it stands, maintaining data security and protecting the individual privacy is top priority. The data is solely in the hands of the Secretary of State for Health and the NHS. The DNA profile data will never be used for Insurance or Marketing purposes, nor for speculative searches.

Genomics England data will not be available without permission or presentation of a Court Order.

However, the data will be used for finding new treatments and possibly cure for a wide range of health conditions, improving analysis, for developing new drug platforms and diagnostic tests, suggest clinical trials and/or relevant research.

How can the World benefit with Genome Sequence?

India is projected to surpass China as the most populated country on14 April 2023. According to UN Department of Economic & Social Affairs, India’s population is projected to be 1,425,775,850. This will be the first time that a country other than China has held the top population statistics, since 1750 when China last overtook India (vide 27th edition UN World Population Prospects)

For India, current estimates suggest the population will continue to grow, although at a slightly slower rate.

China’s population growth has been in decline since 1980 when the Chinese Government implemented its “One Child Policy,” only rescinded in 2016. China is not the only country to experience declining fertility rates.

However, some other countries in African Continent, with large populations are expected to increase in numbers in the next 30 years. They include Democratic Republic of Congo,

Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania.

Rapid expansion in population and Genome Sequence?

This rapid expansion of population growth opens opportunities not only for Infrastructure development, but more especially for Health Care investment.

We can see the need for Genome Sequence in these countries of population growth in the not too distant future?

Will we see UK moving in by investing more in these population dense countries with its new technology? What will be my child like when it grows up will dominate their thinking? The United Kingdom has never missed a chance of moving in investment in medical research?


For those wishing to view the London Genome Conference

“A Conference on Genome Sequence is planned in London on the 13 December 2022 at 8.30 am GMT. Kindly see details below which will be available by webinar on the Internet.

Key areas for discussion include:

  • opportunities – latest thinking on the use and potential of genomics to improve public health and develop personalised medicine – next steps for data use – genomics in screening
  • R&D – priorities for supporting innovation and collaborating on evaluation at UK level – systems to support innovative therapies – integration of health and genomic data in research
  • pathogen genomic sequencing – taking forward lessons from systems used during the pandemic – the next steps for embedding capacity and scalability within the system
  • implementation – the way forward for genomic transformation in the NHS
  • pharmacogenomics – its role in drug discovery and prescribing – what has been learned from early developments – patient engagement – options for scaling up use in clinical practice
  • collaboration and investment across the UK – key considerations for sharing data and key findings, and for surveillance
  • developing genomic healthcare services – improving pathways – priorities for workforce education – reducing regional variation in implementation – opportunities for patient engagement.

During the conference delegates will hear from Professor Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for England and Senior Responsible Officer for Genomics; NHS England and NHS Improvement; Dr Rob Orford, Chief Scientific Adviser for Health in Wales, Welsh Government; and Dr Richard Scott, Chief Medical Officer, Genomics England; Consultant, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children; and Honorary Senior Lecturer, Institute of Child Health, University College London.

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from the Department of Health, NI; Office for Life Sciences; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government

© Copyright HEE Genomics Education Programme


International Civil Aviation Day – A Different Perspective

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The United Nations has recognized 7th December of each year as “International Civil Aviation Day” and this year, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) – which is the specialized United Nations agency on the subject of international civil aviation – has given this day the theme “Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development. This theme – which is laudable, given the modern world we live in – is, in and of itself both ambivalent and ambiguous in the use of the word “innovation”.  From a hermeneutic point of view, the more progressive approach would be to interpret the word as referring both to scientific and technological innovation as well as creative and innovative thinking on reviewing the Chicago Convention of 1944 which was signed on 7 December 1944 and which entered into force in April 1947.  It has been 75 years in application with very few amendments to it. Since it is after the Chicago Convention that International Civil Aviation Day is named,  this day should be primarily looked at in the perspective of the effectiveness of the treaty in its service to the international aviation community.

The Chicago Convention established ICAO, ascribing to the Organization its aims and objectives (not a “mandate” as often misquoted). Therefore, ICAO is guided by the principles of the treaty. Although there are no specific provisions in the Chicago Convention that inspire “innovation” there is much room in its overall philosophy to innovate through interpretation of the provisions to suit modern times.

  As a treaty , the Chicago Convention  is intriguing as well as unique in its terminology and presents many ambiguities which make it somewhat difficult to interpret, opening it to review.  The Vienna Convention  on the Law of Treaties (the principles of which apply to the Chicago Convention) in Article 31 (1) and (2) states that a treaty must be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose. In this context there are two issues with the Chicago Convention.  One is its terminology which sways back and forth on its lack of precision. Words such as  “States may” (discretionary) , “States recognize” and “undertake”, “deem”  as well as “shall” (peremptory)  and “ This Convention shall be applicable only to civil aircraft” (peremptory), “the contracting states recognize” (acknowledge?) do not provide States precise guidance as to what they are obligated to do or not under the Convention.

These various terms which are couched in ambiguity make it difficult to interpret the true intent of the drafters of the treaty from an originalist point of view.  The only conclusion one can make is that the founding fathers of the Convention, realizing that air transport could evolve exponentially in the future, left room for interpretation as exigencies demanded. This ambivalence has blurred the clarity required in the Convention.    Furthermore, these terms make it even more difficult to place them in the modern context in a meaningful way.   One commentator addressed this difficulty by saying “the problem of treaty interpretation…is one of ascertaining the logic inherent in the treaty and pretending that this is what the parties desired.  In so far as this logic can be discovered by reference to the terms of the treaty itself, it is impermissible to depart from those terms. In so far as it cannot, it is permissible”.

The problem with the Chicago Convention is that, given its variance in abstruse terminology, the Vienna Convention itself – the beacon that shines a light on treaty law – has added to the  obfuscation in laying down general principles that a treaty must  be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the “ordinary meaning” to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose.  “Ordinary” connotes a common, routine, or usual context of a normal order of things and events and it may not clearly provide interpretative guidance. The Chicago Convention and many of its Annexes which are technical in nature contain technical terminology and not ordinary words.  In a hermeneutic sense the Chicago Convention and its unique and esoteric regime cannot always be interpreted in ordinary usage.  In the aviation industry which is heavily regulated with regional, transnational, and national regulations which are all expected to be under the umbrella of the Chicago Convention, any application of “ordinary meaning” of text must be teleological and related to the object and purpose of the provisions of the treaty.

Another difficulty presented by the Chicago Convention is the lack of accessibility by many States to knowledge of their obligations under the Convention.  In particular, States do not have a clear picture of their obligations in terms of ratification of amendments to the Chicago Convention. At the 41st Session of the ICAO Assembly which concluded on 7 October of 2022 The Republic of Korea pointed out “States do not have sufficient information about amendments made to international air law instruments. ICAO needs to continue to make the effort to ensure Contracting States can easily be aware of and understand the amendments. There is no clash between a ratifying Contracting State’s international air law instruments and those of a non-ratifying Contracting State, and therefore, both remain valid. There is coexistence among ratified international air law instruments that remain valid between ratifying Contracting States, non-ratified international air law instruments that remain valid between non-ratifying Contracting States, and nonratified international air law instruments that remain valid between ratifying and non-ratifying Contracting States. Thus, a harmonious international law order continues to remain in place”.

ICAO Assembly, in response adopted a Resolution which inter alia urged all Contracting States (to the Chicago Convention)  which so far had not done so to ratify those amendments to the Chicago Convention which were  not yet in force, while urging  the Secretary General of ICAO to take all practical measures within ICAO’s means in cooperation with States to provide assistance, if requested, to States encountering difficulties in the process of ratification and implementation of the air law instruments, including the organization of and the participation in workshops or seminars to further the process of ratification of the international air law instruments.

Hopefully, International Civil Aviation Day in 2023 would be on the theme of the relevance of the Chicago Convention to international civil aviation in modern times.  

In Malay, Orangutans Means ‘People of the Forest’

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The dust has settled at the resorts in Sharm el-Shaikh, Egypt, as delegates of countries and corporations leave the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The only advance made in the final agreement was for the creation of a ‘loss and damage fund’ for ‘vulnerable countries’. However, despite being hailed as a breakthrough, the deal is little more than the financing of the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage agreed upon at the COP25 in 2019. It also remains to be seen whether this new financing will in fact be realised. Under previous agreements, such as the Green Climate Fund established at the COP15 in 2009, developed countries promised to provide developing countries $100 billion per year in financing by 2020, but have failed to meet their stated goals. At the conclusion of COP27, the United Nations expressed ‘serious concern’ that those past pledges have ‘not yet been met’. More importantly, the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan notes that a ‘global transformation to a low-carbon economy is expected to require investment of at least $4–6 trillion a year’ – a commitment that is nowhere in sight. The International Energy Agency said that, in 2022, annual global clean energy investment will remain below $1.5 trillion. This is ‘record clean energy spending’, they announced, and yet, it is far below the amounts that are required for a necessary transition.

‘A fund for loss and damage is essential’, said the UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the conclusion of this year’s summit, ‘but it’s not an answer if the climate crisis washes a small island state off the map – or turns an entire African country to desert. The world still needs a giant leap on climate ambition. … The voices of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis must be heard’.

One of those voices is that of the orangutan, the great ape of the Bornean and Sumatran forests that the Malays call the ‘people of the forest’ (in Malay, orang means ‘person’ and hutan means ‘forest’). According to the International Union for Conversation of Nature’s Red List, the Bornean, Sumatran, and Tapanuli orangutans have experienced sharp population declines and are now categorised as critically endangered – the phase preceding extinction in the wild. There are less than 800 Tapanuli orangutans in existence, with the overall population of orangutans falling by almost half in the last century. They are given no voice in our climate debates.

In 2019, the United Nations released a shocking report that showed the near extinction of one million of the world’s eight million animal and plant species, including the loss of 40% of amphibian species and a third of all marine mammals. As part of its findings on biodiversity and ecosystems, the authors wrote that ‘species that are large, grow slowly, are habitat specialists or are carnivores – such as great apes, tropical hardwood trees, sharks, and big cats – are disappearing from many areas’. The situation is bleak, they warned, ‘unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss’.

What is driving this biodiversity loss? The report includes a long list in which one word comes up over and over again: deforestation. In a landmark publicationThe State of the World’s Forests 2020, the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) noted that an astounding 420 million hectares of forest cover had been lost since 1990, although the rate of deforestation has declined from 16 million hectares per year in the 1990s to a mere 10 million hectares per year between 2015 and 2020. Forests cover about a third of the global land area, over four billion hectares. Half of the forests are relatively intact, while others – notably the rainforests – are in danger of being destroyed.

Just weeks after his re-election, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who will take office as the 39th president of Brazil in January 2023, returned to the global stage at COP27. He arrived along with a number of leaders from Brazil’s indigenous community, including federal deputy for the state of Roraima, Joênia Wapichana, and three newly elected members of Congress: Célia Xakriabá (federal deputy for the state of Minas Gerais), Sônia Guajajara (tipped to head a new Ministry of the Indigenous People), and Marina Silva (Lula’s former environment minister who is likely to resume the position). At the summit, Lula affirmed Brazil’s agreement with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia to set up an ‘OPEC of the rainforests’, made last year at COP26 in Glasgow. More than half of the world’s rainforests are in these three countries, which are rich with resources that have been mined to profit multinational firms at great cost to the environment but have failed to advance the social development goals of their own citizens. ‘It is important for these three countries to strengthen their strategic alliance in order to increase their influence in climate change negotiations at the global level’, said Indonesia’s coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan (Indonesia has sought to create several cartels, including one with Canada for an OPEC-like body of nickel producers).

The scale and speed at which the global rainforest is being pillaged is alarming. In 2021, the world lost 11.1 million hectares of rainforest cover, roughly the size of the island of Cuba. To put it in football terms with the World Cup underway, the world lost 10 football pitches of rainforest per minute. Brazil, under Jair Bolsonaro, witnessed the greatest devastation of any country last year, with 1.5 million hectares lost. These old forests, dense with vegetation and animals, are now gone. ‘We are going to wage a very strong fight against illegal deforestation’, Lula said at COP27.

Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Indonesia are not alone. The Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership, chaired by Ghana and the United States and made up of 53 countries, has made bold pledges to end deforestation. Ahead of COP27, Colombia’s minister of environment and sustainable development, Susana Muhamad, announced the creation of an Amazon Bloc made up of the nine countries that share the region’s rainforest (Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, and French-occupied Guiana). Norway, meanwhile, has said that after Lula takes office it will resume providing funds to Brazil for rainforest protection, which had been suspended during Bolsonaro’s presidency.

The Brazil-Democratic Republic of Congo-Indonesia approach is designed in the framework of mitigation, adaptation, and investment, not through the empty conversation of the COP. Indonesia’s deputy minister for environment and forestry management, Nani Hendriati, explained how the country would promote ecotourism in the mangrove forests through a ‘blue carbon’ approach to ensure that tourism does not tear up the mangroves, seeking to halt the longstanding and rampant deforestation in the country (for example, 40% of Indonesia’s vast mangrove system was destroyed between 1980 and 2005 alone). New initiatives in the country, for instance, promote crab farming in the mangroves rather than allowing their destruction. In this spirit, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo took world leaders to plant mangrove seeds in the Taman Hutan Raya Ngurah Rai Forest Park during the G20 meeting in Bali, Indonesia, which took place after COP27.

Such photo opportunities are important if they genuinely seek to shine a light on the problem of deforestation. However, no such light was shone on the multinational mining companies who have destroyed tropical rainforests around the world. A recent study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America examined the impact of industrial mining on deforestation in tropical regions. Looking at a selection of 26 countries, the researchers found that industrial mining in Indonesia accounted for a staggering 58.2% of the total deforestation in these countries between 2000 to 2019. However, in a concerning move, Indonesia’s government passed a new mining law in 2020 that allows permits for mining to be extended with little or no environmental regulation. ‘When the mining concessions increase’, said Pius Ginting of the NGO Action for Ecology and Emancipation of the People (AEER), ‘it drives deforestation and results in a loss of biodiversity and fragments the habitat [of animals and people]’. Indonesia revoked about two thousand mining permits this year, but this revocation is mostly due to the regularisation of the permit system, not greater regulation for environmental protection. Pressure from people’s movements in Indonesia as well as from the catastrophic impact of the climate and environmental disasters have put the government on notice about its proximity to and intimacy with multinational mining companies.

Meanwhile, the question of the orangutan remains unanswered. An academic review of the $1 billion spent on orangutan conservation from 2000 to 2019 found that ‘habitat protection, patrolling, and public outreach had the greatest return on investment for maintaining orangutan populations’. However, these funds have not accomplished much. The key issue of ending deforestation – including halting the expansion of palm oil, pulpwood, and logging plantations in Borneo and Sumatra – is off the table. How much attention will be paid to these matters at the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is to be held in Montreal (Canada) from 7–19 December? Will anyone listen to the voice of the orangutans?

In October, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, told a townhall of civil society organisations in Washington, DC that the IMF ‘is indeed supporting biodiversity. For instance, we have economists that are able to measure the monetary value of an elephant and the value of a whale’. Georgieva’s comments echo an observation made by Karl Marx in volume one of Capital (1867): ‘In England, women are still occasionally used instead of horses for hauling canal boats, because the labour required to produce horses and machines is an accurately known quantity, while that required to maintain the women of the surplus-population is below all calculation’.

What is the monetary value of an orangutan, let alone the survival of the planet? The ruling class might be able to calculate those values, but it is clear that they are unwilling to foot the bill to save the planet.

Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research newsletter

End of Ethics

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Ethical progress produces a beneficial form of dogmatism. A normal, healthy society does not debate whether rape and torture are acceptable, because the public “dogmatically” accepts that they are beyond the pale. By the same token, a society whose leaders speak of “legitimate rape” – as a former Republican congressman in the United States once did – or of tolerable torture is exhibiting clear signs of ethical decay, and previously unimaginable acts can quickly become possible.

Consider Russia today. In an unverified video that began circulating this month, a former mercenary from the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group is accused of switching sides to “fight against the Russians,” whereupon an unidentified assailant smashes a sledgehammer into the side of the mercenary’s head. When asked to comment on the video – posted under the header “The hammer of revenge” – Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner Group’s founder and a close ally of Vladimir Putin, replied that, “A dog receives a dog’s death.” As many have observed, Russia’s behavior is now identical to that of the Islamic State.

Or, consider Russia’s increasingly close ally, Iran, where young girls who have been arrested for protesting the regime are reportedly being married off to prison guards and then raped, on the grounds that a minor cannot legally be executed if she is a virgin.

Or, consider Israel, which proudly presents itself as a liberal democracy, even though it has gradually come to resemble some of the other fundamentalist-religious countries in its neighborhood. The latest evidence of the trend is the news that Itamar Ben-Gvir will be a part of Binyamin Netanyahu’s new government. Before entering politics, Ben-Gvir was known to display a portrait in his living room of the Israeli-American terrorist Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers and wounded 125 others in Hebron in 1994.

Netanyahu, who was Israel’s longest-serving prime minister before being ousted in June 2021, is fully implicated in this ethical decay. In 2019, the Times of Israel reports, he called “for a fight against rising Muslim and left-wing anti-Semitism in Europe, hours after the [Israeli] government published a report that said the far-right posed the greatest threat to Jews on the continent.” Why does Netanyahu ignore far-right anti-Semitism? Because he relies on it. The Western new right may be anti-Semitic at home, but it also staunchly supports Israel, which it sees as one of the last remaining barriers against a Muslim invasion.

Unfortunately, all this is just one side of the story. Ethical decay is also increasingly apparent in the “woke” left, which has become increasingly authoritarian and intolerant as it advocates permissiveness for all forms of sexual and ethnic identity – except one. The sociologist Duane Rousselle has characterized the new “cancel culture” as “racism in the time of the many without the One.” Whereas traditional racism vilifies the intruder who poses a threat to the unity of the One (the dominant in-group), the woke left want to do the same to anyone who has not fully abandoned all the One’s old categories of gender, sexuality, and ethnicity. All sexual orientations and gender identities are now acceptable unless you are a white man whose gender identity corresponds with your biological sex at birth. Members of this cisgender cohort are enjoined to feel guilty just for what they are – for being “comfortable in their skin” – while all others (even cisgender women) are encouraged to be whatever they feel they are.

This “new woke order” is increasingly discernible in absurd real-world episodes. Just this month, the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania planned to sponsor a student-organized event for all those who are “tired of white cis men.” The plan was for attendees to “come paint & write about” their frustrations with “comfortable in skin” white men. Following an outcry and charges of racism, the event has since been postponed.

There is a paradox in how woke non-binary fluidity coincides with intolerance and exclusion. In Paris, the prestigious École Normale Supérieure is now debating a proposal to establish dormitory corridors reserved exclusively for individuals who have chosen mixity/diversity (mixité choisie) as their sexual identity, in order to exclude cisgender men. The proposed rules are strict: anyone not fitting the criteria would be prohibited from even setting foot in these corridors. And, of course, such rules would open a path to even tighter restrictions. For example, if enough individuals define their identity in even narrower terms, they presumably will be able to demand their own corridor.

Three features of this proposal are worth emphasizing: it excludes only cisgender men, not cisgender women; it is not based on any objective criteria of classification, but only on subjective self-designation; and it calls for further classificatory subdivisions. This last point is crucial, because it demonstrates how all the emphasis on plasticity, choice, and diversity ultimately leads to what can only be called a new apartheid – a network of fixed, essentialized identities.

Wokeism thus offers a quintessential study in how permissiveness becomes prohibition: under a woke regime, we never know if and when some of us will be canceled for something we have said or done (the criteria are murky), or for simply being born into the forbidden category.

Far from opposing the new forms of barbarism, as it often claims to be doing, the woke left fully participates in it, promoting and practicing an oppressive discourse without irony. Though it advocates pluralism and promotes difference, its subjective position of enunciation – the place from which it speaks – is ruthlessly authoritarian, brooking no debate in efforts to impose arbitrary exclusions that previously would have been considered beyond the pale in a tolerant, liberal society.

That said, we should bear in mind that this mess is largely confined to the narrow world of academia (and various intellectual professions like journalism), whereas the rest of society is moving more in the opposite direction. In the US, for example, 12 Republican senators voted this month with the Democratic majority to codify the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Cancel culture, with its implicit paranoia, is a desperate and obviously self-defeating attempt to compensate for the very real violence and intolerance that sexual minorities have long suffered. But it is a retreat into a cultural fortress, a pseudo-“safe space” whose discursive fanaticism merely strengthens the majority’s resistance to it.

This piece was originally published in Project Syndicate

The mismatch between grades and knowledge

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4 mins read

With students heading and parents worrying about impending school exams in a month, it is not a waste of time to delve into why students are in school and why their child may be having some common anxiety among others, such as handwriting difficulties or the understanding of maths concepts. What are some ways how to support them?

One of the things expected of teachers, perhaps of parents too of secondary school students, is fast, fluent, legible and neat handwriting. Teachers require students to be able to take down class notes quickly. Secondary school is ruled by time constraints, class periods, and the need to move from one subject or task to another quickly to cover the curriculum. Not every school has students with laptop computers, or are allowed in class.

Neurodiversity or neurological differences exist not only in society but also among students. They are not to be rejected but respected, just like any other human variation including diversity in race, ethnicity, gender identity, or religion. Human variation exists;

Students no exception. Thus some students have difficulty with Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (the three R’s).

Handwriting

Handwriting is just one part of literacy. When students enter secondary schools there is a noticeable variation in their handwriting skills.

In primary school, when I was a student, there was the Handwriting book, unheard of today.  Thus students may have two styles of taking notes and writing. One is produced quickly, called the rough Note Book, used for note taking and might appear untidy, but still legible to the student, the other is a good quality script, used for more formal purposes.

Teachers reading answers of a poor handwriting student whose writing is illegible, due to handwriting or spelling or both, may have to guess the word(s).

Theories for bad handwriting

Various theories are proposed as the underlying cause of handwriting difficulties. Some focus on the student whereas others locate the problem within the structure of the education system, like inadequate teaching, a failure to provide opportunities to consolidate learning and missed opportunities to practice, especially during COVID-19.

Research shows us handwriting that is legible and written at an age-appropriate speed. An average secondary student produces legible handwriting in Year 11 at 16 words per minute, whereas a Year 7 student does it in 13.8 wpm.

We need to discount other factors including underlying learning difficulties, fatigue, whether English is the second language and whether students know what they want or need to write. Besides, in Secondary Schools, they don’t have the time to teach handwriting in other curriculum contexts.

Hand-eye coordination is required to develop fluent writing, besides letter formation and organisation. This condition is called “dyslexia” which can also cause difficulty reading numbers and following word problems. 

Possible intervention to prevent bad writing

  1. Visual focus
  2. Letter Formation
  3. Organisation
  4. Technology

Poor in Maths

There are a number of reasons why a child/student may be having problems with Mathematics at school. These vary from low motivation caused by Maths anxiety to a poor understanding of how to apply and perform mathematical operations.

But sometimes, the root cause of underperformance is something quite different, like motor skills difficulty. The medical term is “dyscalculia”, which some individuals struggle with performing basic calculations and having trouble manipulating numbers. This condition can cause to “re-order digits” when solving problems correctly, but recording the answer in the wrong way. They may even skip a step or struggle to focus and be unable to re-check their work when they have finished a problem. The real reason is that they become distracted by number formation that they make careless errors or get the steps in an equation in the wrong order.

Maths is poorly understood by children in Schools

Maths is mostly poorly understood because pre-school maths, is about practical problem solving, noticing patterns, recognising shapes and learning to count, mentally. While Secondary School Maths instruction becomes abstract. It often focuses on rote learning and solving equations, “think arithmetic and times tables”.

Many students complain that Maths is boring. They do not see the point in learning Algebra, or Geometry or they may not be able to do basic Arithmetic when answers can be found using a calculator or a computer.

Number crunch is all around us today. Being able to work with them quickly and efficiently is a skill. Calculations in Arithmetic is a usual or normal in many professions, especially in carpentry to retail jobs. But Mathematics is much more than Arithmetic. It is identifying the problem and selecting an appropriate approach to solving it, but following the proper order of operations.

Students are marked not only for getting the calculation right but to show how they arrived at their answer. There are children who leap to the correct answer intuitively but cannot analyse how they got them.

The main cause of disillusionment with Maths

Anxiety is the main cause of why students “freeze” in Maths exams. They can have difficulty finding a way to “visualise a problem”, leading to anxiety, sometimes “over anxiety,” thus making careless mistakes due to stress.

Many students have a very short “attention span”. Maths requires concentration. Attention difficulties can affect Maths skills. If a student drifts in and out of attention, they might find it difficult, if not challenging, to follow a teacher’s demonstration. Maintaining focus without distraction is a problem for certain types of learners, hardly explained by teachers.

Thus it is to these students that teachers should devote their attention. Students in turn should find a way to form an interest.

Why is education a mismatch between grades and knowledge?

The skills that students possess with grades and market requirements are at variance. Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (3 R’s) are very basic for today’s world. The lack of effective communication, strategic thinking, abstraction and research skills are the main causes of today’s educational mismatch. The educational system is an effective vehicle for producing the skills required to maintain growth in the economy and productivity. There is either a vertical mismatch when the level of education required for the job is more than that necessary. There is a horizontal mismatch when the field of study and the job is at variance. The lack of coherence between required and offered education levels causes the disparity.

Inside Story: Rogue Academics in Sri Lanka

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3134 views
8 mins read

This investigative report is open for response as the accused have been named by the reporter-editors

As funny, stupid and pseudo-intellectual as it may sound, the above title of this article is not what I initially intended to give it. The originally intended title is along the lines of “A Case of Serial Plagiarism…” or something like When the Vice Chancellor is a Plagiarist – more on this in the later parts. Now welcome to some enlightenment.

Presented below is a summary of findings we had the misfortune to make after having a compelling urge to study the academic profile of this intellectual from South Eastern Sri Lanka: Professor Aboobacker Rameez. A. Rameez is currently the Vice Chancellor of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka since 2021 and a professor in sociology at this higher education institution since 2019. Some readers would also be familiar with the name from many op-ed articles he has authored for Colombo Telegraph, references to which can also be found at his Google Scholar profile page and Research Gate profile – maintained for a delicate balance between keeping it clean and being still stocked with stuff, reportedly due to Webometrics ranking requirements. Some of his newspaper-published scholarly works being listed in these research database profile pages were published by the online Tamil news website jaffnamuslim.com.      

While lacking the necessary tools and this being a pastime activity triggered initially by personal pursuits, and despite the attempts of the university administration headed by A. Rameez himself to repeatedly deny information on his publications he used for his promotion as a professor by merit in response to right-to-information requests, we were still able to find to our own shock and surprise the fact that serious acts of plagiarism and academic-mafia-like practices had been freely allowed in the most carefree ways.

Evidence in summary:

  • A. Rameez stole nearly 80% of the abstract of a published journal article covering actual research conducted in Nigeria and he published it as an abstract of his own work carried out in Sri Lanka
  • A. Rameez stole written content from another published, properly peer-reviewed Scopus-indexed journal article and composed about 3-pages long content, without a single modification, for his own article submitted to the journal run by his own faculty

A formal complaint regarding this matter has been made to the Council of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka via the Registrar of South Eastern University of Sri Lanka. All the council members of SEUSL have been presented with evidences of these offenses, which are termed Research Fraud in the language employed by UGC for describing offenses of this nature.

An extended summary of our findings is presented below for the amusement of the general public who are contributing financially and in various other ways directly or indirectly for the proliferation of activities of the sort that is being reported here.

  1. A. Rameez plagiarized nearly 80% of the abstract of O. Odaman et al. (2014)

A. Rameez, being the primary and corresponding author has published an abstract in the South Eastern University Arts Research Session 2015. The title of the Abstract is “Ageing and Health Seeking Behaviour: A Medical Sociological Approach to Nintavur Divisional Secretariat, Sri Lanka”. The following table shows a side-by side comparison of passages extracted from the abstract submitted by A. Rameez for publication against the abstract of a research article that had already been published.

Rameez et al. (2015)Odaman et al. (2014)
It focused on the most common health related problems of elderly: revealed where the elderly goes to seek medical care when sick, and those financially responsible for his/her medical needs.It focused on the most common health related problems of the elderly; revealed where the elderly goes to seek medical care when sick; and those financially responsible for his/her medical needs.
The findings show that, the majority of the elderly persons had age associated physical illnesses such as blood pressure, cardiac problems, diabetes, joint pains, kidney infections, cancer and tuberculosis that take a long time to heal.Majority of the elderly persons (62.7%) had age associated illnesses such as blood pressure, cardiac problems, diabetes, joint pains, kidney infections, cancer and tuberculosis that take a long time to heal.
More elderly males than female counterparts were found to have patronized traditional healers, resorted to self medication using local herbs or visit chemists’ shops whenever they were sick.More elderly males than their female counterparts were found to have patronized traditional healers, resorted to self medication using local herbs or visited chemists’ shops whenever they were sick.
This research suggested that, the government should puts in place programmes that would ensure good health behaviour and elderly people should be provided free, accessible and comprehensive health care in hospitals and other health care centres.It is recommended that elderly people should be provided free, accessible and comprehensive health care in hospitals and health centers because they would utilize the health services when available, accessible and affordable.

Notice that the work allowed to be published by the editorial committee of the Book of Abstracts of South Eastern University Arts Research Session (2015) makes the suggestion, as an outcome of the supposed research findings, that the elderly people should be provided free healthcare in Sri Lanka! We believe that it’s needless to say that unlike in the case of Nigeria, the Governments of Sri Lanka have been providing free healthcare for all of its citizens in all of Sri Lanka not only at the time this abstract was being presented and was being issued in print, possibly out of public funds, but since long before that until now and far into the future for sure.

If word counts are to be used as a crude estimate to indicate the severity of the rogue academic conduct with such a shallow level of sophistication in carefree plagiarism, we observe that of the 185 words that have been originally used for composing the abstract of Odaman et al., the abstract of Rameez et al. employs more than 80 percent of the words (149 out of 185) to compose itself.

The abstract published by Rameez et al. can be found in the Book of Abstracts published by SEUSL on 22nd December 2015.

This abstract can also be found at http://ir.lib.seu.ac.lk/handle/123456789/1532

The figure below portrays A. Rameez in the act, with hijacked text highlighted in yellow:

The work published by Odaman et al. can be found here. The article has been published in Vol. 7, No. 1 (2014), pp. 201-210 of International Review of Social Sciences and Humanities (ISSN 2248-9010 (Online), ISSN 2250-0715 (Print)).

The figure below shows how A. Rameez et al. did a stealth-mode robbery of the intellectual effort of Odaman et al., with the stolen text highlighted in yellow:

Anyone serious enough to access and look at the actual content of Odaman et al. would appreciate the true effort the original authors have put into their work despite what the title and abstract look like. And those familiar with social sciences will admit that often text itself is the very embodiment of ideas.

  1. A. Rameez published a journal article with 3 pages long content stolen straight from a journal article by Hazleton & Kennan (2000)

A. Rameez, being the sole author has published an article in KALAM -International Research Journal, Faculty of Arts and Culture, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Volume X Issue 1, 2016. The title of the Article is “Disasters and Social Capital in Sri Lanka: A Conceptual and Theoretical Analysis”.

A. Rameez’s Publication is available at http://ir.lib.seu.ac.lk/handle/123456789/5251  (available at SEUSL e-repository).

The figure below of the article by A. Rameez, with the stolen content highlighted in yellow, should indicate the proportionality of the content discovered to have been stolen word-for-word from just one single source (other stolen content not indicated):

A. Rameez has plagiarized for his publication from here (Scopus entry: Here )

A. Rameez’s publication (Page numbers 05 to 08 highlighted in Yellow) has copied the above mentioned publication by Vincent Hazleton and William Kennan (Social capital: reconceptualizing the bottom line; Corporate Communications: An International Journal Volume 5 . Number 2 . 2000. pp. 81-86) word for word from page numbers 82-84.

The figure below shows the proportionality of the content stolen word-for-word from the work of Hazleton & Kennan, with the portions in yellow being the stolen content.

Of about nine pages of writing contributed by A. Rameez for this journal issue, about three pages come straight from the composition of Hazleton and Kennan verbatim, even with citations as they appear in the work of the original authors, but without being listed in the list of references of the publication by A. Rameez! For example, we see the original article of Hazleton from year 2000 referring to articles by themselves from 1993, 1998 and 1999; but the article by A. Rameez only has the one by Hazleton from 2000 in his list of references, meaning that the readers (and obviously the reviewers of this SEUSL journal) would have no idea what those articles of Hazleton from 1993, 1998 and 1999 actually were/ are. Other examples include such questions of curious readership of Rameez on where they can actually locate the original works referred to as Monge (1987), Garfinkel (1967) etc., all of which, interestingly are properly listed at the end of the original, genuine work of Hazleton and Kennan (2000). Apart from this 3 pages long direct stealing of written scholarly work by Hazleton and Kennan that I have brought to light here, there are various other curiosity-provoking pointers to other possibly interesting findings that are possible from a thorough investigation on the rest of the 6 pages of this publication by A. Rameez; one such pointer for example is the curious question of what exactly Portes published along with Landolt in year 1996.

These two items above bring to light the evident lack of academic honesty & integrity on the part of Prof. A. Rameez and the evident lack of scrutiny and review practices of any level of rigor concerning the two publications above. It is interesting to note that we don’t see A. Rameez having published any work on healthcare seeking behaviour of the elderly other than the single abstract above plagiarizing the work of Odaman et al. It is also interesting to note that A. Rameez obtained his M.Phil. degree in 2010 by writing a dissertation titled “The Role of Social Capital in Disaster Management: A Study of a Tsunami Affected Coastal Village in Eastern Sri Lanka”, a work possibly very similar in theme to his publication in item 2 above (Disasters and Social Capital in Sri Lanka: A Conceptual and Theoretical Analysis); yet we find him after five years with the necessity to plagiarize to produce 3-pages long content for a journal article on a related topic.

Under these circumstances, it is evident that the intellectual con artist who produced the two fraudulent publications above is guilty of one of the gravest academic offenses: Plagiarism. Being non-hesitant, uninhibited and not-insightful about copying the published, reviewed works of other academics and scholars is a major evidence of academic bankruptcy of the person in concern. With such a history of Research Fraudulence, Professor A. Rameez being a Vice Chancellor of a Higher Education Institution, and thereby being the head/ chairperson/ overseeing authority/ supervising authority on almost all of its academic, academic-administrative and academic-disciplinary matters, can severely affect the academic and administrative integrity of the institution in question. This can lead to demolition of high standard academic culture, accountability and transparency in research and dissemination and the quality of the academic programs offered at the University.

Questions for the readers are below:

  1. What are the roles played by editors and reviewers (if any) of books of abstracts and journals published by the Faculty of Arts and Culture of SEUSL?
  2. What are the impacts on the undergraduate education and examination processes in this Sri Lankan state university
  3. When the Vice Chancellor is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  4. When a professor in a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  5. When an academic in general belonging a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  6. What are the impacts on the postgraduate education, postgraduate research programmes and examination processes in this Sri Lankan state university
  7. When the Vice Chancellor is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  8. When a professor in a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  9. When an academic in general belonging a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  10. What are the impacts on the academic administration processes including recruitment of BEST OF THE BEST academic staff and appointment of directors & heads of various divisions & departments at this Sri Lankan state university
  11. When the Vice Chancellor is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  12. When a professor in a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  13. What are the impacts on the disciplinary processes in academic matters at this Sri Lankan state university
  14. When the Vice Chancellor is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?
  15. When a professor in a certain discipline is a demonstrated plagiarist and a research fraud?