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A policy dialogue on “Bottom-up Solutions to the Grade 1 Admission Problem” was held by the Education Forum Sri Lanka (EFSL) on January 16, 2021, via Zoom. LINKS: Full Video: PD#11, 2 hours 23 minutes Mini clips: Documents: OVERVIEW: Every year, beginning its cycle in June and ending in January of the following year, the issue of Grade 1 Admissions rears its head, posing problems for parents, teachers, principals and education administrators alike. Among Sri Lanka’s 373 national schools, around 70 (less than 20%) are considered ‘popular’ schools, having the highest demand, across districts such as Colombo, Kurunegala, Kandy, Galle, and Matara. With parents wanting the best education for their children, they attempt to ensure that their children will be eligible for entry into popular schools, oftentimes engaging in fraudulent practices, such as altering certificates and addresses, and providing bribes to principals to meet this purpose. International education experts have noted that 1 teacher can optimally manage 30-35 students at primary level and 20 students at A/L class level.
*All interview respondents have been given pseudonyms, and their places of work/study have been excluded due to the sensitive nature of the topic discussed. Since schools and universities shifted to remote learning in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the question of examinations – how and whether to conduct them – have yielded different answers from exam boards and ministries of education in different parts of the world. As noted in a World Bank blog post, whereas countries such as Norway cancelled written exams in junior high school and high school, Uttar Pradesh in India decided to promote students to the next grade without holding exams. Education boards such as Cambridge International opted to base final grades on predicted grades, and the Caribbean Examinations Council postponed its high school exams, basing marks from at least one newly designed multiple choice paper plus teacher assessments. Where exams and assessments have not been cancelled or postponed but conducted online, questions of academic integrity have risen to the fore.
Schools | E-Learning | Teachers | Universities | Technical and Vocational Education | Private Education Institutions | Funding/Development Schools Opening & Closing: Schools in the Northern and Eastern provinces closed in early December due to inclement weather. Following this, they remained closed due to the Covid-19 situation, while schools in districts in other parts of the country such as Galle, Kandy and Trincomalee were also closed due to Covid-related health concerns. Schools in Kandy re-opened on Dec 14. However, attendance was very low (reportedly around 16%). Criticism has been leveled against governments that have enforced nation-wide school closures, “as a first recourse rather than a last resort” causing children to continue to suffer “the devastating impacts on their learning, mental and physical well-being and safety”.
Published by Coordinator on behalf of Mr. RC Perera (rclarance@yahoo.com) Early Childhood Education (ECE) · It starts with Early Childhood Education (ECE). Under the ECE issues it talks about feature such as subject oriented teaching, administering written tests, untrained teachers, etc. · Those issues are ok.
Trends In International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Progress In International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) are international assessments that monitor trends in student achievement in mathematics, science, and reading. Currently 70 countries participate in the assessments, which have been conducted at regular intervals since 1995. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Programme for International Student Assessment. PISA measures 15-year-olds’ ability to use their reading, mathematics and science knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges.  With a growing number of countries taking part in International Large-Scale Assessments (ILSAs) such as TIMSS, PIRLS and PISA, it is timely to question their relevance for Sri Lanka.
A policy dialogue on equitable access to distance education was held by the Education Forum Sri Lanka (EFSL) in collaboration with the Development Partners Secretariat on December 08 , 2020, via Zoom. Video: Click here Presentation: Equitable Access to Distance Education OVERVIEW: The discussion revolved around the themes of 1) universal access to distance education, and 2) the quality of education provided. In his opening remarks, Mr. Patrick Vandenbruaene, Head of Development Partners Secretariat Sri Lanka, noted that COVID-19 could be the stimulus that we have needed to transform education, and he hoped the forum would generate new ideas towards this end. The forum discussions revealed that although internet access by households in Sri Lanka remains under 50% (LIRNEasia, 2018; EFSL & World Vision, 2020) it is in fact possible to ensure a quality learning experience for ALL children for 2021 if we optimize the use of existing digital technology and content, and adopt a more student-centered and student-led approach to teaching.

Education News, November 2020

Posted on December 9, 2020  /  0 Comments

Policy Dialogues | Budget 2021 | Reopening of Schools | Grade 5 Scholarship and G.C.E. A/L Examinations Held | G.C.
Source: Daily Mirror <http://www.dailymirror.lk/front_page/Children-climb-on-to-60-feet-high-water-tank-for-online-education/238-200868> The above picture of students climbing a 60-foot water tank in order to access phone signal to engage in school classes highlights the difficulties that students across the country have faced over the past 9 months in engaging in distance education. As the year nears its end and plans for 2021 come underway, policy makers, government officials, educators and other relevant stakeholders need to consider the most viable, effective education-related solutions to ensure that no child is left behind. Although internet access is frequently hailed as the way forward (and it no doubt is an increasingly essential component of effective distance education) nation-wide internet coverage is not a solution that we can expect to be successfully implemented for the start of the new year.
To our knowledge, the non-state sector in higher education in Sri Lanka is largely undocumented. The only comprehensive survey available was carried out by the Education Forum Sri Lanka (EFSL) in 2012 in partnership with LIRNEAsia and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The information is reposted here in the public interest. The higher education landscape is captured as a directory  of Higher education opportunities in Sri Lanka containing a listing of all degree programs offered by alternative higher education institutions or institutions that are outside the purview of the University Grants Commission (UGC) mediated system of 14 public universities and affiliated Institutions. The alternative system consists of: 10 PUBLIC institutions which admit students on their own charging nominal to significant amounts as fees and offering 41 degree programs.
A dialogue reviewing the report was held on November 21, 2020, via Zoom LINKS Full Video: PD#9, 2 hours 30 minutes Documents: Summary PTF Report; Core Group Reports OVERVIEW: The education reform plan  of the Presidential Task Force is visionary and comprehensive,  but it does not address (1)  Strategies for effective implementation (2) Limitations such as political interference(3) Inefficiencies in administration, (4) Lack of empowerment of teachers, and the (5)  Reality of insufficient funding. A more strategic approach identifying a few pivotal strategies and how they can be implemented  is needed. EFSL will present a brief on such a strategic approach using the inputs from this dialogue. PRESENTATIONS School education – Dr. Tara De Mel, Education Forum Sri Lanka (EFSL) Tertiary Education including  higher education – Prof Arjuna Parakrama, University of Peradeniya – IT enabled education – Ms.