Fighting against standardization and Taylorism in education on the fringes – The Island
How would a well-respected home professional feel in such a hostile environment? Material benefits alone without job satisfaction cannot make a professional happy and satisfied. I know that many of my fellow doctors working overseas look forward to returning home as soon as possible, if the situation here lends itself to it.
By Dr Sarath Gamini De Silva
(Motivational speech delivered at the Convocation of Law Graduates of the University of Colombo on December 19, 2021 at BMICH.)
I warmly congratulate the new graduates on completing their higher education and entering society as productive citizens. Despite your superior academic abilities, it is indeed an achievement to have completed your graduate studies at such troubled times as these, when education in general was practically at a standstill for the majority of the younger generation. I have no doubt that your graduation ceremony is long overdue without any fault on your part. The very problems and delays in the system led to the loss of much of your childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. The frustration of such delays, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, must weigh heavily on your outlook on life. Most of you will become practicing lawyers in the courts, while others may continue in related fields. Some of you may enter politics, an area in which many personalities from your profession’s past have left an indelible mark.
You are now on the verge of being admitted into a very ancient and well respected profession, one of the three learned professions recognized since the Middle Ages and the beginning of modern times, the other two being divinity and medicine. While we in the medical profession are expected to ensure good physical and mental health for the individual and for the community, you in the legal field are expected to promote good societal health by ensuring that justice is served. without discrimination, thus helping to create a law-abiding law. society where all are considered equal.
It is important at this stage to differentiate between a job and a profession.
A job is a role of a person in a company, for which a defined payment is made for a particular number of hours worked. Even without any prior training, one can learn on the job and can also be fired by the employer at any time.
A profession, on the other hand, is defined as an occupation, sometimes permanent, based on specialized pedagogical training, the purpose of which is to provide objective and disinterested advice and services to others, for direct and final remuneration, completely independent. the expectation of further personal gain. A professional is also expected to strive to maintain and raise the standards of the profession. There are well-established codes of conduct and ethics to guide a professional, the violation of which can be punished by a statutory body which may even require the professional to cease practice altogether.
By now you should be aware that there is much wrong with our beloved homeland. You may have suffered before, due to various irregularities blamed on political leaders and the enslaved population. From the moment you entered first year of school until the end of your university studies, you had to deal with many unwanted influences, sometimes forcing you to act against your own conscience. Our free education system has changed little over the years to meet current and future needs. Being mainly focused on passing exams, little emphasis is placed on building character, developing good attitudes or learning to interact with others, leading to a society of peaceful coexistence. The younger generation is ill-prepared by such education to be useful and law-abiding members of society. I believe that the unwanted attitudes developed during the formative years are unlikely to be easily corrected in adulthood. To accumulate knowledge without developing the wisdom to use it is of little value. The new standard of virtual or online education can only make matters worse, producing self-centered individuals who grow up in isolation.
Most of you have always benefited from free education. However, it should be kept
bearing in mind that a significant proportion of the young generation who now study in private, so-called international schools, did not benefit from free education until they entered a public university. It could be a matter of personal choice or more likely due to lack of access to a good public school.
You also had the chance to take full advantage of free university education, overcoming many restrictions and other obstacles that could have prevented you from obtaining it. It should be borne in mind that many deserving students have been denied this opportunity due to merit which only determines 40 percent of university admissions. I consider that you have made the best use of free education when a significant part of society does not seem to have taken full advantage of this opportunity.
We are products of this company. If you have absorbed all that is bad then you will continue to indulge in and spread bad behavior. When you see how less educated people make their fortunes, often through antisocial activities, and live in luxury, you too would be discouraged and tempted to become dishonest. This wouldn’t happen if you have a good education. It takes a real effort not to fall over that precipice while doing your best to resolve these issues and rectify them where possible. With lawlessness rampant at all levels of society, it’s no surprise that these shortcomings are not being addressed. How those who openly break the laws escape without punishment and remain free to carry on as they see fit, is an insult to law-abiding citizens.
My own medical profession is most accused of not having met the high expectations of the population. A foreigner like me does not need to deal with the shortcomings of your profession which should be obvious to any honest and sane observer. Your goal in life should be to help bring justice to the common man, without leaving him financially bankrupt after unnecessarily protracted litigation. Please keep in mind that justice delayed is justice denied. A few stray members can tarnish the reputation of an entire profession.
Many of you may consider leaving the country at the earliest opportunity to escape the evils of the homeland. Such a move could ensure an economically secure future with a good education for your children. But think about the different problems one is likely to face abroad. With the social upheavals taking place everywhere, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting unemployment, there is growing animosity towards the immigrant community in the developed world. Physical abuse in public places and racist slurs in the workplace are all too common. Whether professional or not, immigrants remain second-class citizens. How would a well-respected professional feel at home in such a hostile environment? Material benefits alone, without job satisfaction, cannot make a professional happy and satisfied. I know that many of my fellow doctors working overseas look forward to returning home as soon as possible, provided the situation here becomes favorable.
It is your imperative duty to return to the motherland what its citizens have given you, for it is they who provided the tax money to pay for your free education. I agree that in order for you to serve the nation properly, the state must maintain a system of fair play and justice as well as opportunities for advancement for yourself and your offspring.
It may seem like the easiest option to leave the country with a defeatist attitude, but your obligation, individually or as a group, is to fight and rectify the many diseases that plague our society. Being in the legal profession, you are better equipped and better placed to do so.
It is sad to say that many professionals entering politics, including many from your own field, did not perform better than the average less educated politician. Why would a qualified lawyer, or for that matter any professional, sacrifice all of his knowledge, integrity and dignity to please his political masters by accepting and actively promoting policies that clearly go against the principles? fundamentals of justice and democracy? It is truly depressing to see how leading legal authorities with political power have enabled or actively promoted so much legislation that any person of common sense can see as detrimental to the functioning of a democracy. It is unfortunate that they have placed the safeguard of their own future in politics before the well-being of the nation.
It is common knowledge in the medical community that some of our own colleagues, perhaps at the behest of intrusive authorities, disseminate disinformation among the public on various health-related issues. This could cause more harm as the public is more likely to believe even lies from reputable professionals while ignoring similar information transmitted by an ignorant politician.
While appreciating their dilemma of being compelled to obey the orders of higher authorities, it must be recognized that in doing so they are relinquishing their primary responsibility to provide disinterested and objective advice and service, which constitutes a fault. professional. As such, ideally, professionals should refrain from occupying positions where their opinion is not sought or respected and are expected to slavishly obey irregular or even illegal orders from their political masters.
Many ailments in society can be minimized if those who practice law and the judiciary take an upright stance and are not influenced by various outside influences. This will provide a solid stone on which a healthy society with justice and fair play can build. Any suspicion in the minds of the people of a breach in this noble concept could be a catalyst for much turmoil and instability.
It has been said that there are three categories of people; those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who suddenly wake up wondering what happened. I sincerely hope that you fall into the first category, to make things happen for the good of all. Allow me to conclude by wishing you every success in the career you have chosen, with the hope that you will be exemplary citizens on whom your compatriots can count and of whom they can be proud.