How I got out of the clutches of "Free Education"
Ten or more steps of my own
I have taken some bold steps (decisions) in my life from my childhood and that had come good, when I reflect on them. Some of them cannot be mentioned here.
I was a keen observer of nature and people around me and learned to be bold and fearless.
Most of my teachers except who taught me Sinhala and English were mediocre.
I often wondered how they ever became teachers especially science.
1. One bold step was not to believe teachers especially in science.
That was a very scientific decision by itself.
I had the knack and keen power of observation and problem solving ability. For example I believed anything can be grown on our be soil, be that it may be, seeds or yam or runner provided I water them regularly. My father was not a farmer but he was a keen gardener (which he learned from a burger gentleman).
Except potatoes, I could do that on my own but could not figure out why I could not grow potatoes (those days potatoes came from UK and I did not know that they put chemicals to inhibit sprouting and made sure seed potatoes were never given to us. I discovered this many many years later. This is how western countries help us).
2. I decided never to ask scientific questions (why potatoes could not grow) from my teachers (knowing very well they will give a wrong answer to shut my mouth).
3. I decided to do science and one day I decided not to go to the school I was attending abruptly (there were many other reasons and flashes of them I have expanded elsewhere) and that was a very bold decision. Finding a school teaching science was difficult but I eventually found one but it did not have able bodies.
4. I decided not to proceed with cadetting even though, I was the leader in my old school (I was thrashed by the teacher / principal three times in the new school but I stood my ground).
I took part in all other sports except cadettting (reason should be obvious and there is / was a worse form of ragging which included sexual for the young).
5. New school was no better in teaching science and I made the decision to do D.I.Y learning science (thank god there were two Foreign libraries outside the school, stocked with old science books in Kandy then).
6. Due to harassing by teachers, I decided to walk out of the science class and asked permission from the principal who thrashed me for not joining cadets.
He eventually acceded (I still thank him for that help) to my demand (man with military training) knowing my will power.
Little he knew that others will join me later.
7. We decided to work towards a common (first exercise in group work) goal and entire university in the first attempt (both Bio and Maths). Eventually all of us did pass and none from the class who attended normal class.
They thought we (me especially) had gone bonkers.
8. Next decision was to get rid of all the science teachers in one go and get some decent ones. By this time I have forged some connections with science school inspector who was very helpful.
Proof of the pudding was that nobody from the normal class passed.
Some teachers feared me more than the principal and I was not a good cohort for them.
9. We never went for tuition classes and we never got involved in giving tuition to others except my cousin brother who eventually became an engineer.
He failed all his subjects in "O" Level and till he entered the university he was under my clutches.
10. Next decision was to get rid of the compulsory government service act that we had to serve (IMF would love this) for six years and never to join the government service except university (semi-autonomous institution and not a government per say).
The way things are happening and developing in the university now leaving that is also not a big decision for me.
Rest that followed is history.
I suppose nobody should try these methods now since all the systems including schools in this country are very poorly managed by over 100 of ministers and ministries.
There is no half way house for us now as the saying in English goes.
You may wonder why I included this as a chapter.
Recently we had a party at home and we had a discussion with a group of people nearing fifty.
I asked a leading question to divert them from a mundane political talk.
I asked them what were their childhood aspirations and why they failed to reach the goal post.
Unanimous agreement was that the teachers were terrors (better term terrorists) themselves and they were very poor teachers.
Then I retorted why didn’t they become assertive like me.
There was no response since time had lapsed when they realized they were under wrong guides.
The decision we made was to bring this to focus and and make it a discussion topic
They answer was not rush to tuition classes but get the system works for better and right now.