Many (unfairly) criticize the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) saying that they “exploit” students by providing services when the students use internet for online education. I have been teaching online for the last 8 months and I did a comparison of the two main ISPs (Dialog and Mobitel) that provide the widest mobile broadband services in Sri Lanka. This is what I found out. For 25 GB of Video Conferencing through Microsoft Teams and Zoom and unlimited YouTube, social media and instant messenger services monthly fee is 512 LKR for Dialog and 604 for Mobitel. (There are slight differences of the services they offer but these are more than enough for online education.) When considered the kind of money the students spend on traveling, snacks, make up, etc., for regular learning activities at private tuition classes, this cost is negligible. While a student or a few students in a family can get all these facilities for an insignificant amount of money, if they use small top ups or recharging cards, or go on data add-ons it is either their fault or ignorance. Telcos advertise these enough and at least the teachers should enlighten the students about these very cheap services. (There can be slight changes in the above prices and packages as I did the comparison some time ago.)
I have listed the two ISPs on alphabetical order. You can select the service based on your trust with them and their coverage capacities.
N. B. Please note that I am not addressing the coverage issues, etc. here as it is not my intention here. I only want to say that there are extremely cheap solutions that the students and their parents are not aware of. They just waste their money. TRC should make the masses aware of these options but I wont expect such a lethargic organization to do this as they have worse things to do.
1. Fun Blaster – Unlimited WhatsApp, YouTube & Facebook, only Rs. 347/=
2. Video Conferencing Plans – Office 365 (Microsoft Teams included) & Zoom (25 GB) Rs. 165 only
Total 347 + 165 = 512 Only Rs. 512/=per month WITH TAXES
Well, the above video clip from the BBC One’s pseudo-historical sitcom, Blackadder sums up the General Elections (2020) held in Sri Lanka yesterday. Nobody, literally nobody else than the dirty politicians, their henchmen and sponsors who do it entirely on business interests worried about the elections this time. It is a good sign though. This should be the way to go.
We all know that democracy doesn’t work for the people. If it does, as Mark Twain once very correctly said, they (politicians) would have already found a better solution (for themselves) than democracy.
Experiencing a stay in a Sri Lankan hospital cannot be a pleasant experience to any patient, especially if it is in a state hospital. I have been unfortunate to have such bitter experiences in a few state hospitals. I won’t name them here as I don’t want to be at the receiving end if I happened to go to any of those again.
I had to spend a couple of days at the Teaching Hospital – Jaffna early this year and was amazed with the professional and caring way I was treated there. I was directly taken to the Emergency Care Unit (ECU) as soon as I got myself admitted to the hospital and was given the treatment immediately in a comfortable ECU bed. (I have been to some other hospitals before with more serious conditions of the same illness before but I have had to wait for hours even without being looked into let alone being treated!) Once my condition was stabilized, I was transferred to a regular ward.
The hospital staff in this hospital in Jaffna, from the specialist doctors to the minor staff, were very helpful and caring. Language barrier also did not become a big issue even though most of the staff members were Tamil people. There were a few Sinhala and Muslim staff members too, everyone was nice to me, and I saw with my own eyes they were the same towards the other patients too.
Once I was cured, they discharged me and guided me properly to the medical clinics too. I couldn’t get the signature of the chief medical doctor for my insurance documents as he wasn’t available when I left the hospital and the staff gave me a date to come back to get the signature. However, I couldn’t go on the stipulated day due to a personal reason and went to the ward on a later date. As soon as the doctor saw me coming, even without my asking him, he came to me and signed the diagnosis card needed to get my insurance claims.
I wish the staff of the other state hospitals also could do the same. It doesn’t cost money to smile, be humble. Of course, I understand that the state hospitals can be understaffed at times but what I saw at Teaching Hospital in Jaffna was that, more than anything else, it was the positive attitudes of the staff that made my stay there a pleasant one as opposed to arrogance.