Part 1: Introduction & Interview
Q. Do you have a large or small family?
A. I have a small family with six members in it. It comprises of our parents, me and three of my siblings.
Q. Describe your family?
A. I live in a beautiful area in Sri Lanka and we have a traditional family that has six members altogether. I live with my parents, two sisters and a brother who is elder than me. We also have a housemaid who has become more like a family member over time. My father works for a multinational corporation in Colombo while my mother runs a tailoring shop in this city and also manages the household activities. The maid helps my mom in different domestic activities every day. I am the youngest in the family and a university student while my elder brother is a job seeker and both of my sisters are college students.
Q. Where do you live?
A. I live in Colombo, the largest city and the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. Our house is located in Bambalapitiya, which is an area that spans some of Galle Road and some of Marine Drive.
Q. How long have you been living there?
A. I have been living in our locality since my birth. In fact, my forefathers were native to this land and the history of our family in this city dates back to over 100 years. If you ask me how long I have been living in our current house, it would be around 19 years or so.
Q. What are the advantages of living in your hometown?
A. Our hometown is a great place to live in. The most important thing about living here is the infrastructure. The streets are highly developed. Besides, the food is delicious while the people in this area are very helpful and amiable. A multicultural environment in our city helps us know about other people and their cultures and customs and overall, Colombo is a beautiful city indeed.
Part 2 – Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card
Describe how you spent/still spending your university life.
You should say:
what you do/did
why a university is different from a school
some good things about your university
and explain how much you enjoy/enjoyed your university life.
[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]
University life is often the best part of someone’s life, and it was particularly true in my case. Being a university student, I have had gathered tons of memories. Making new friends, preparing for exams, attending sudden class tests, being late for classes, sometimes bunking the classes, not bringing the assignments in due time, playing cards with friends, taking part in extracurricular activities, watching movies in the theatres with university friends are the most memorable events for me from my university days. This is a very good cue card topic and I am lucky to have such wonderful questions in my share.
University days are completely different from school and college days. When a student enters into a university, s/he becomes matured to a great extent and can take care of themselves without any external supports. So, there are fewer restrictions too. The teachers know that if a student bunks the classes, s/he will be attentive when there is an exam. But the scenarios are not the same for college or school students. They need to be dictated always to be kept focused on their academic activities.
There were several excellent aspects of my university and a few demerits as well. I studied at a private university and thus it was very expensive. Not everyone could afford the tuition fees. However, we had a great campus, excellent and skilled teachers and a very favourable study environment. On top of that, we had been offered many extracurricular activities which were really impressive.
As I have said, I have spent some of the best years of my life when I was at university. I had many friends who were very close to me, I have learned so many things from some really incredible teachers and I learned to take charge of my life while I was at my university. From this regard, I will never forget my days at my university, those I still consider the golden days of my life.
Q. Do you have a degree? If so, when and where did you graduate?
A. Yes, I have been awarded a few degrees so far. I have completed my secondary and higher secondary degrees from the local educational institutions in Colombo, and I have also completed my graduation and post-graduation from the University of Colombo.
Q. What impressed you most when you were at university/college?
A. I was impressed most by the outstanding teachers who worked really hard to teach us. Moreover, the extracurricular activities of my university were also impressive. I took part in a few outdoor sports competitions and won prizes for my effort.
Part 3: Detail Discussion
Q. 1. Why, in your opinion, university education is important for us?
A. In my humble opinion, university education is important primarily for three reasons. First, it equips students with skills and abilities, which are useful for their future employment, by helping them to navigate through different kinds of career-oriented courses in real depth. Secondly, surviving the hard works of the university years will give students a certain sense of empowerment and confidence, along with a certain level of personal satisfaction, which is absolutely necessary to take on the world as if they are ready for any challenge. Finally, university education allows students to network with other intelligent people that would propel them even farther in search for a better life, both personally and professionally.
Q. 2. What is the importance of technical universities in your country?
A. My country, Sri Lanka, is a small country, but still our government has an ambitious plan to transform the country into a knowledge-based economy by 2025 for the purpose of achieving a higher incomes and better standards of living except, of course, the problem is that the education system of the country is facing significant challenges in delivering quality learning, relevant to the labour market, especially in science, technology and engineering subjects. In fact, only 20% of students, or even less than that, graduate from science and engineering subjects. But, luckily, we can overcome these challenges if we have enough technical universities to prepare our students with more sound technical skills and expertise.
Q. 3. How university education prepares students to face challenges in the future?
A. University education is considered to be the last step in formal education, and it prepares students to face the challenges of an uncertain future in several ways. First, it introduces the students to the all-important concept of becoming an “independent” person, both personally and professionally. Secondly, it teaches the students to become “responsible” citizens so that they understand what is expected of them and how they can best serve the good causes of the people around them. Finally, universities prepare students to become more tolerant of other cultures, traditions and lifestyles in an increasingly hostile world, full of hatred and animosity towards each other.
Q. 4. Should a university grant admission based on a student’s past academic results or performance in the admission tests? Why?
A. I think that a university should grant admission to the students based on both of their past academic results and performance in the admission tests primarily because only in this way, the universities would be able to give a “fair” chance to everybody. Besides, depending only on either of the “past academic results” or “performance in the admission tests” would encourage students to “focus” only on getting admissions at universities by hook or by crook instead of focusing on “comprehensive” studies, which would ultimately hurt the spirit and atmosphere of comprehensive learning.
Q. 5. Do you think university teachers in your country should be paid more money than they earn now? Why?
A. Yes, I do think that university teachers in my country should be paid more money than they earn now primarily because their average monthly salary is about just as much as of the other professions, if not lesser in many cases. Besides, university teachers in my country, apparently not enough in number to teach all the students with a student-teacher ratio of 46:1, are doing a great job to teach their students by taking extra burden on them, and therefore, it is only natural to expect that they are compensated accordingly for their efforts and time.
Q. 6. Should attending classes at a university be mandatory or optional for its students? Why?
A. I think that attending classes at a university should be mandatory for its students primarily because it will create a conducive atmosphere there for learning and exploring into different educational opportunities for both the teachers and students. Besides, when the students are present at the university, they are able to socially interact and communicate with each other which are very important to improve their communication and people skills. Finally, there are many different subjects that are not easy to understand without the help of expert teachers and their explanation, and so, it is only natural to expect that university students attend the classes regularly.