Thursday, February 5, 2015
Professors of Education; This Essay is a Dedication note written to respcet Professor Chandra Gunawardena
Happy birth Day, faculty of education!
Professor Chandra Gunawardena is the founder Dean of the Faculty of Education, The Open University of Sri Lanka. I don’t think that I can really give an accurate picture of her contribution to the field of Education locally and globally thinking of her decades long service to the field.
Before I further move on to the academic profile of the Professor Chandra Gunawardena, let me slightly brief about the current academic structure of the faculty.
The Faculty of Education just celebrated her twelve year old birth day.
The three siblings who closely work with one and other of the faculty are as follows; The Department of Secondary and Tertiary Education (Headed by Mr. Ranjan Gonsalkorale), The Department of early Childhood and Primary Education (Headed by Dr. Anoma Ariyaratne),The Department of Special Needs education (Headed by Dr. Dhanapala).
The entire faculty is currently headed and monitored by Professor Shironica Karunanayake, the first ever professor in Educational Technology.
That is the basic structure of this educational unit.
Frankly, it is so difficult for me to write anything about tall personalities and I am afraid to do so. Mainly because I know that it is never easy to explain A – Z of their contributions to the field, unless you study every inch of their work.
And the other thing is I have a very poor vocabulary that may not perfectly weigh their contribution through my words. From what i have,I can somehow try to essay this and that of this and that things of the world but not about personalities, very respectable.
I am not going to write anything specifically about her profile. The following gives you a hint of who she is and her contribution to the field of Education, though it is impossible for a list of document or a page to accurately elaborate, mark, weigh or measure one’s strengths, capacities or lengths and widths of areas of work. i believe this might justify or fill the lacks of my words or explanations
here is a link for you to view through;
first and foremost, I can say is that she is particularly a well wisher of the Faculty, of the University. That does not mean that she favours the University and doesn't care about other universities, educational establishments in particular because what ever she contributes has now become a wealth of the Nation, there is no doubt about that.
She guides every Student who comes seeking her advice specifically when they need her advice to full fill their educational academic desires. she does whole heartedly.
If I am accurate in what i heard and read about her, she is very interested in ‘comparative education’ and she has immensely contributed her knowledge in that field.
i guess it is a theory or a methodology that can be practised not only to test or practice any strategy, tool of education in particular but also a good tool to apply and see in any other field, technical or otherwise, engineering or sciences, art or culture, even in politics.
Unless you compare things you cannot truly weigh measure the weakness or the strengths of something. Comparisons provide you accurate pictures of successes and failures of something. Whether it is to success or to fail you need to have the strength, will, capacity to begin, initiate, implement something. i don't know whether that is called 'initiating Power' :-)
in theory learners, learn from the mistakes the ex's did. the learners uses the best practices that ex's practiced in the past. the educational Practices, learning and teaching methods of earlier educationists,teachers, in service advisers,directors etc.
people, students learn from the events or incidents happened in the decades full of history, from time to time. Students can study and can compare the how and why some students riots or struggles succeeded or failed in what contexts. the policy makers can compare why the students mostly rebelled or fought in past, to gain what etc. and they can introduce new policies if necessary to minimize hazards of gaining knowledge in the process of learning and Teaching.
you can compare how sometimes the students become a victim of some things or how they become users of some political agendas if you like, reading the pages of history.
why some target university Students other than targeting other groups sometimes as a weapon or as an equipment of education to discuss things related to education.
you can comapare many things
how good it is, if teachers or students try to update their knowledge with current day to day innovations of education, theories - global.
further, if you don’t or didn’t do something, initiate something, begin something there is no big chance for others to learn from mistakes of initiated projects or programmes.
No person is initiating, planning something expecting failure results. Yet, often you may have to face such situations. If you try any teaching learning methodology for the first time before anyone else started practicing, you might not see what you initiated in its every angle or from every side of it and may happen to miss some important facts when implementing. But others might observe, analyze because they are outside to the ‘doing’ active frame but talking or analyzing.
If you compare the education reforms now and then, the education systems within and within the region, within the globe you can get an idea of what needs to be done next.
You cannot specifically say, looking at something that the education system of a European country has implemented or established that the same is relevant or good for this country. But when you compare things you can understand or learn the strategies used, what became useful or useless why etc.
When you compare things you can learn lot about; meeting targets of education, efficiency, accuracy of using tools, teaching aids etc. according to my personal, poor knowledge on the subject, Technology has no specific regional shape or a size, unless you have to deal with the current contexts of any community and apply what ever method accurately and most importantly appropriately.
Professor Chandra has written books in Sinhala as well, that provides anyone who wishes to enhance their knowledge in many of the areas such as, Educational Concepts of educationalists, philosophers, now and then etc.
Education as part of socialization process, how important it is to inject 'right attitude of learning', in to the minds of fresh learners, beginners at the beginning of their teaching and learning.
She discusses many things not only through her books but also through when ever she speaks of values of various educational segments in public, to various educational groups, policy makers including, all sector beneficiaries.
I started reading one of the books written by her but unfortunately I couldn’t complete it yet, ‘Adhyapanaya ha samaja sadhaka (Education and social facts?), December,1995.
i guess some students do not think of using the facilities they are given but sometimes they blame or talk of what they don't have forgetting what is available. The Reasearch Centre plus a library is a place where i find that some student don't use that much, and i believe opens our eyes to 'think whether we are getting the maximum benefits from the available resources.
She says (Adhyapanaya ha Samaja Sadhaka) how fast everything changes with regard to global knowledge. How fast the old knowledge expires than we can imagine. She further provides facts as to justify what she says, even before you send something to print of what you compile sometimes what you say, rational, logic may get expires or change or new knowledge is added, faster than you can imagine.
Yet, she respects and says 'still the Print media plays a prominent role with regard to sharing knowledge'. She discusses in various ways that how important education for a well Balanced Society.
She compares facts related to its ‘origins and destinations’
Professor Uma Kumaraswamy, who was the Special Chief Guest of the Programme organized to mark the beautiful event of the faculty, she is The former Vice Chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka.
During her Presentation ' Third Mission', she explained many good things that opens our educational eyes. she says how important it is for an educational Institution to take initiative to work closely also as a community contributor in addition to what they do as a guide to education, via their fields of expertise.
Here when you learn or view various community projects, she gave us examples to study, get chances to compare various community projects, their strategies used, impportance os using some practices, successes, failures, provides chances to learn from each others mistakes. And then do something prominent, sustainable.
Both professors’ interests shows how we can use knowledge to full fill various not only desires of education but also to help who ever in need of technical or otherwise knowledge, guidance to improve or enhance their tiny or big projects , livelihoods or anyother.
I don’t think that just because other institutions started helping communities setting up tissue culture projects for an example, we also should do the same, that is not what the professor says, or professors hint us to do, advice us to do if suitable, they gives us hints to what can be done, how should be done, and how to implement, and most importantly, how to monitor what you have implemented or to be implemented.
Monitoring aid loads of educational issues, aches and pains of any methodologies, strategies of past, or it minimizes learning difficulties of any person.
I believe, in Chillaw or in Batticaloa, wherever in this country, if you find any children in need of assistants ,help, accurate guidance because they are children with special needs, or differently able, you can whole heatedly begin or initiate a community project to help them. No point discussing just give it a go. View the mission of Professor Uma Kumaraswamy to get an idea.
You can start a 'community Training Centre for Teachers’ getting the financial support of any well wishes also of the government support. That is to take care of the children with special care and attention.
I wish you long life, Madam Professor Chandra Gunawardena and more and more strength to contribute to the field of education though it is a little tiresome when you find people with different understanding or capacities of learning
Take care Madam