A comment by Kusal in this forum about linking education and development prompted me to write this. He is right on target. We often hear about the 20,000 who qualify for university every year and how few actually get in. Now the latest furor is about only 48% passing the O/L when the pass rate has actually been increasing over the years.
The more important statistic, I believe, is the pass rate after Grade 9, the end of compulsory education in Sri Lanka.
01. Grade 1 – 5 – Primary Level (05 Years)
02. Grade 6 – 9 – Junior Secondary Level (04 Years)
03. Grade 10 – 11 – Senior Secondary Level (02 Years)
04. Grade 12 – 13 – Collegiate Level (02 Years)
We boast that that 93% of our 14 year olds are in school at Grade 9 but what have they learned? Actually, we don’t know because there is no formal assessment at Grade 9 but only at the GCE (O/L) after year 11, by which time 22% (of the 400,000 or so who entered school 11 years ago) have given up and left and another 53%* find that they can not cut it. If we had an assessment at Grade 9 we are very likely to find that these kids did not know what they were supposed to know even at the end the basic education at Grade 9.
Let us start talking about real issues. We boast that 93% complete Grade 9 and almost all hang on until end of Grade 11, but what did they know at Grade 9?
*If we look at the progress of a cohort entering school together, the drop-out rate would be higher than 53% (I am assuming that the 47% pass rate at GCE (O/L) refer to the rate for all who sat the O/L including repeat students.