Ragging and Free Education

Mass media reports several incidents of ragging in some universities when a new batch of students is enrolled. The term RAG, short for Royal Admission Game, originated in higher education institutes of Great Britain and came to Sri Lanka with British customs. However, in the past few decades, it has occurred in Sri Lankan Universities in sinister and brutal ways with the killing and handicapping of students. Ragging has caused splits among university students called Raggers and Anti-raggers and leading to dreadful clashes.

In different universities different ragging procedures are available. Whether more severe or less severe it is a method of delivering harmful effects to the students.

Letís see if university students have any right to rag. The Government spends a lot of money on a graduate. These are not the money of politicians, students or student unions. Tax payments of public are expended for the education. So, no university student has a right to behave according to their wish in university premises violating the freedom of other students.

What are the reasons for ragging? When a batch of students is ragged they will try to do the same thing to the next batch in the same way to get their revenge. In some universities, some politically based student unions try to use ragging to give their political theories to students by ragging and brain washing. Some student groups use ragging to convert students to their student unions. But students who favour ragging try to give new values to ragging stating that ragging is an essential component in university sub culture.

According to fundamentalists who strongly favours ragging there is some kind of good value for each and every component in ragging procedures.

Some university students strongly adhere to university sub culture and donít like it to be changed. What is a value of being a university student if you canít change disastrous things in sub culture? Is it a good thing to protect university sub culture by sacrificing human rights of newly enrolled students?

According to the some student groups who favour ragging, there is no ragging in universities. They give new Ďinnocent" names to ragging. One of those names is "Freshersí awareness programme". Though mentioned in different names ragging is ragging. It is torturous and makes students alarm going to universities. Anyhow students who are able to growl and scowl at their juniors can only participate in these awareness programs. This is very unfair because all the senior students and all the student unions have a right to make awareness of freshers. Canít students create meaningful friendly awareness programmes where all the senior students can participate?

Students stick posters about free education, student rights and perhaps they do not respect the rights of the new students of universities. Some students donít go to the universities due to ragging. Who is violating their rights? Student groups in favour of ragging? Yes. Is this the free education University students are talking about? Arenít these people violating human rights?

Actually, this is the time students should think twice about ragging. As university students should we violate studentsí rights? Should we make universities fearful places for new students? Should we disturb their education by giving mental and physical stresses? Should we just stick posters about student rights not knowing what are the student rights? As university students canít we stop any level of ragging and introduce another harmless friendly ways to welcome new university students?

Shameera Anuruddha Mahawattage.
Wayamba University of Sri Lanka


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