The government has appointed a committee of scholars for providing a resolution for problems existing in the education system including the admission of children to schools from year 2009 onwards.
Can this committee do what the National Education Commission could not do with its recommendations to the President early this year?
The new committee is made up of the academics and the government officials that typically make up these committees. If you take out DP Sumanasekera and DS Mettananda (both now in the Board of Vidura College), and HLB Gomes (former principal, royal College), the new committee does not look very different from the National Education Commission that came up with the first set of recommendations early this year.
The NEC’s recommendations are not even available to the public today, being confidential apparently. The Supreme Court, rejected the commission’s recommendations, and working with a lawyer representing the ministry and a coterie of lawyers representing the Old Boys Associations came up with a set of recommendations that did not look too different from what we had in the first place before all this hulabaloo.
In the final analysis what we have is a political issue. There are not enough popular schools to go around and somebody has to tell the public the truth. The truth is that free-of-charge education as we knew is over for all practical purposes, and that somebody is the Minister of Education. Instead, he seems to be ducking the problem and taking us through this whole song and dance with expert committees.
Can this new committee face the bitter truth and come up with creative solutions that meet the needs of the needy while getting those who can afford to pay?
Doubt it, but wish them the best anyway.
The Members of the 2007 Year-1 Admissions Committee
1. Prof. Chandra Gunwardena, Chairperson
2. Priyanka Nanayakkara, Secretary
3. Dr. Hiranthi Wijemanne (Medical)
4. Dr. G. Usvatte-aratchi, Economist
5. Dr. Marie Perera, Department of Humanities Education, University of Colombo
6. Dr. M. Karunanidhi, Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Colombo
7. Dr. Mahen Wijesuriya (Medical)
8. Prof. Savithri Gunasekera, Lawyer/Professor; former NEC member
9. Ms. Kamala Peiris, Educaitonist
10. Mr. P Welivita, retired education official
11. Ms. Jezima Ismail, Educationist
12. Dr. Sunethra Karunaratne, Faculty of science,, University of Peradeniya
13. Mr. DP Sumanasekera, former school Principal, Now CEO, Vidura College
14. D.S. Mettananda, retired education official, Vidura College board member
15. Kalyananda Thiranagama (Lawyer)
16. Mr. HLB Gomes, Former Principal, Royal College
National Education Commission (October 2007)
Prof. A.V. Suraweera – Chairman
Prof. Lal .S. Perera – Vice Chairman (Planning & Policy)
Mr. Ariyarathna Hewage – Ex-Officio Member, Secretary, Ministry of Education
Prof. Gamini Samaranayake – Ex-Officio Member, Chairman , UGC
Mr. T.G. Jayasinghe – Ex-Officio Member, Chairman, Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission
Mr. H.P. Cashian Herath – Ex-Officio Member, Secretary, Ministry of Local Government & Provicial Councils
Mr. A Dayarathna – Ex-Officio Member, Director, Ministry of Finance and planning
Rev. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thero – Member
Prof. Dayantha Wijesekera – Member
Prof.P.W.Epasinghe – Member, Adviser to H.E. the president
Prof. Rezvi Sheriff – Member, Faculty of Medicine
Prof. S. Sandarasegaram – Member, Faculty of Education, University of Colombo
Mr. Mahinda Ralapanawa – Member (lawyer)
Mr. Lakshman Hettiarachchi – Member (Banker?)
Mrs.N.M. Edussuriya – Member