Discussions on a New Education Act

Posted on February 14, 2008  /  0 Comments

The Education forum has conducted 3 study sessions so far with a good cross section of persons representing Associations of teachers, principals, and past pupils and  educationists and well wishers. Compilation of past legislations, circulars and Policy papers are now complete. Paper copies of these can be obtained for the cost of photocopying from Ms. Inoka Udayanganie at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. Compilation of proposals from various groups into one document is in progress.
In Sri Lanka, as in many others countries with a centralized teacher service, there is a problem of getting teachers to locate In poor rural (and estate) areas, when they can tap patronage systems to obtain transfers to more popular areas. Various incentives schemes have been tried, in a number of countries including Sri Lanka, but with limited success. An alternative, to address the problem of staffing poor rural and estate schools, would be to appoint teachers directly to schools, perhaps combined with an extra financial allowance as an incentive. Then, if teachers wanted to move to new schools, they would need to resign from their present appointments and seek a fresh appointment in another school, rather than seek a transfer. Here are some examples of countries that recruit teachers: (a) directly to schools; (b) to local administrations; and (c) central or intermediate levels.
Submission of Proposals for formulating a New Education Act (Advertisement posted by National Committee for the Drafting of a New Education Act on January 17, 2008) On the Directions of His Excellency the President, the Minister of Education, Hon. Susil Premajayantha has appointed a National Committee under the chairmanship of Dr G. B. Gunawardena and comprising panel of eminent scholars in the field of Education to inquire into the Education Ordinance No.31 of 1939 and its amendments, identify aspects appropriate for the present and formulate a New Act for General Education in Sri Lanka.
NUS or National University of Singapore is a premier university in Asia with school leavers form all over the world competing for places.  NUS admit school leavers from India, Malaysia, Pakistan and other countries on the strength of each local  public examination but  Sri Lankan  students, even those with the 3As that we felicitate here, have to submit scores for SAT examination conducted by Education Testing Services in USA.. In South Asia, Sri Lanka join the ranks of Bangladesh and Burma as countries whose school leaver exams are not recognized by  NUS. American high school diplomas are not recognized by NUS either but the high school diploma in America is not meant to be a  universal university entrance qualification.
If Colombo is home to you, did you know that 50% or so of homes in Colombo are in tenement gardens or are illegal shanties. The children from these homes attend neighborhood schools of poor quality. These children attend a school close to home and go home without causing congestion or pollution. Not so with the National schools or private schools. There are about 210,000 kids attending schools in Colombo.
Let us recall this incident somewhat more in detail. Prof. S. Raveendranath, Vice Chancellor of the Eastern University, Sri Lanka (EUSL) was abducted on the 15th of December 2006, not from any part of the Eastern province but rather from a high security area in Colombo in the midst of his attending a science forum at the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS) auditorium at Vidya Mawatha, Colombo 7. His distraught family members immediately lodged a complaint with the Dehiwala police.
We received this ad from two leading theater personalities in Colombo. We are posting it here partly because of the insights it gives about our education system. Do our A/L kids really learn all this cool stuff? Can schools indeed outsource theater teaching to private professionals? Imagine the difference between book learning and learning from professionals.

Sri Kanth walks tall in the IT world

Posted on December 3, 2007  /  0 Comments

            If you think people with disabilities never get ahead in life, think again! Some of Sri Lanka’s leaders in fast-track industries, including Information & Communications Technology (ICT), come under this category. On August 1, this year in New Delhi, 25 ICT champions representing countries including Sri Lanka were honoured as Fellows of the Jamshetji Tata National Virtual Academy (NVA), along with 600 Indian grassroots leaders, by Prof. M.S.
Discussion Series on Education Reforms Series Objective:   To strengthen the participation of an informed civil society in education reforms Series Number:      3 Topic                     Decentralization of Education:  What form and shape will enable a better education for children? Date and Time:     November 29, 3:30 -5.30 p. (begins sharply at 3:30) Place:                     Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, 100, Independence Avenue, Colombo 0700  Medium                 Primarily in Sinhala (Tamil translations provided as necessary)  Agenda                  3:30 – 3:40   Introduction                               3:40 – 5:30   Presentations Panel (10 minutes each) §         School Principals (2-3) §         Provincial representative §        Ministry Representative                                            5:30 – 5:45   Questions to Presenters                               5:45 – 6:30   Structured Discussion with inputs from Teachers Associations, Past Pupils and education foundations and NGOs §         Curriculum, delivery and evaluations §         Human resources (deployment, training and recognition) §         Financial and material resources (including text books and uniforms) For more information or suggestions please contact the coordinator, Dr. Sujata Gamage, at coord@educationforum.
From the Education Forum to school toilets by Dr. G. Usvatte-aratchi (reproduced from the Island, Nov 21 2007, Midweek Review) No, nothing funny happened on my way to the Forum. Yet, November 15th was a bad day for me, as I attended the Education Forum, called forth by Dr. Sujata Gamage, at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, which I interrupted to attend, to hear Jayantha Dhanapala, a brilliant man of our times and place, address us on the good work of the United Nations.