Home / FT View/ Dealing with ragging

Dealing with ragging


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 1 August 2018 00:00

Facebook

All police stations have been placed on alert to take action on complaints made by students who have been ragged. According to reports, Higher Education Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has already instructed the University Grants Commission (UGC), Vice Chancellors and other officials to encourage students to cooperate with law enforcement officials to press charges against offenders and work to reduce ragging within universities. 

Incidents of ragging are frequently reported but even though the maximum penalty carries 10 years of rigorous imprisonment, ragging has remained a significant problem within local universities. Last year 15 Peradeniya University students were arrested for ragging while in 2016, 10 Kelaniya undergraduates were arrested after they forced a female first-year student to remove the jeans she was wearing and later slapped her. Both instances garnered much publicity but a comprehensive effort to stamp out ragging at local universities had failed to materialise. As with other forms of illegal and reprehensible behaviour, actual convictions that happen consistently would be the best deterrent.         

Sri Lanka in 1998 passed the Prohibition of Ragging and Other Forms of Violence in Educational Institutions Act, which carries hefty prison sentences, yet the country’s image remains tainted, with several world publications claiming that Sri Lankans practice the worst forms of ragging. It would be impossible for the Government to reform the high education sector unless they tackle the issue of ragging and root it out of the system.

Statistics show 15 students have died, two have committed suicide, 25 have been disabled, six sexually abused and more than 6,000 students have left universities, all because of ragging by seniors and the failure of university and State authorities to take effective countermeasures or implement the law strictly.

Having first rejected ragging, the Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF) has defended it as a ‘sub-culture’, which is a gross and wholly inadequate reason to allow its continuance. Union activities, which are at their strongest in hostels, create the environment for ragging victims to suffer in silence. Students are also used to promote political ends and unfairly manipulated to disrupt the functions of universities. If organisations such as the IUSF want to be seen as genuine representatives of students, then they need to ban this horrific practice immediately.

Unions and academics have the responsibility to implement safeguards against the heinous practice. Officials of student unions need to educate their members on the physical and psychological negatives of ragging. Union members can report fellow students engaged in ragging and protect hostellers, who are often the worst-affected. Any student caught ragging should be immediately kicked out of the university and should face criminal charges. Such tough measures to empower students are the only way to give victims the confidence to come forward.

Cooperating with authorities to punish offenders and eventually clean the university system of ragging will gain student unions and other stakeholders significant public approval and even increase the masses’ empathy on other issues that they campaign on such as adequate funding of State universities. If more students complained to Police and officials implement the law then Sri Lanka might finally see the end of a practice that has nothing to recommend it.


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

On time – Only for a week! A must-change!

Thursday, 18 April 2019

We are in April and the month where we witness the declaration of a new year as per our traditional practice. It is that period of time when a huge majority of our population, which certainly can be counted in millions, intends to act in unison and q


Unholy trinity is unholy to Sri Lanka from all fronts

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Let us see the background of the unholy trinity or impossible trinity or trilemma. Every country is challenged with international monetary policy which will in return decide the fate of the economic growth. Three strategies available are;


Is it the plane or the pilot?

Thursday, 18 April 2019

The two recent crashes involving Boeing 737 MAX twin-engine jetliners have brought flight safety into sharper focus than ever after many decades. This is in many ways a story of success breeding complacency. Airline safety has improved beyond belief


Is Sri Lanka capable of a course correction?

Thursday, 18 April 2019

The genesis of Sri Lanka’s current political and economic problems can very well be traced back to several structural issues of the country, both politically and culturally. It is no secret that from the outset of the war in Sri Lanka, the country


Columnists More