Tuesday, January 11, 2005

South-Eastern University

The Vice Chancellor (Eastern University) called up VC/South-Eastern University and set up an appointment for us – we had low expectations SEU had been established a few years back – the work of a charismatic politician who had done much to raise the profile of Eastern muslims - the SEU was set up as a University for that area – this was all in part of developing that region – however the University had been largely in the news for its failings – but we were pleasantly surprised at the warmth and enthusiasm of the VC/ the acting Registrar (Mr. Thayoob) and the head of the English Language Teaching Unit – amidst all the bottlenecks that they faced – the University Engineer was out – the bridge reaching the University had been under reconstruction and the temporary bridge was showing signs of being unpassable (we left out van and went on in another smaller van) across the bridge in heavy rain – this area is flooded. The internet access had frequent failures and their website is dated and its too busy. They had council meetings too often in Colombo – it’s a long way to Colombo from here.

They had begin the work of developing information support – they had designed a questionnaire - they had it reviewed by folks in Sociology at Peradeniya. So it was a pleasant visit – and something that we can build on.

We were not able to meet with student groups – this is one of the worst affected areas and the students were largely from that area – this is a University that can do more and needs to do more in this disaster response.

We left the meeting, soon after and both Iqbal and I wished we had spent more time there – we were in a rush to get back not far too late – I was still under jet lag. We reached Kandy at 1 am.