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Amending (and re-amending) the criteria for Grade One admissions has now become such a recurrent activity for the education authorities of this country that now it is a ritual like taking the daily bath. Education Secretary will be modifying his criteria again today, we have been told, but please do not take bets that would be final. The process might be repeated tomorrow, the day after…well, it is like a perpetual machine now.   To make the job of the Education Authorities let us present some FACTS (NOT opinions, but concrete facts) they have to take into account of they want to stipulate a criteria which will not be as uncertain as, say, the prices of essential items in a country facing hyperinflation.   q       The ‘quota’ system has already being ruled out.
The Indian IT Training and Education market, which is currently $656 million, is growing at a rate of 64 per cent. However, the Indian IT e-learning market, which is currently $122 million, is growing at a CAGR (Compound annual growth rate) of 73 per cent, said Navug Mohnot, CEO of India QAI, while announcing education ventures in this space under the name – Edista. QAI, the leading process consulting organisation, has decided to foray into this space in order to meet the growing need for IT training and education in the country. Quoting interesting trends in IT education, he said 29 per cent of all IT training is on demand: e-learning, as it meets just-in-time training requirements, has maximum reach and no geographical boundaries, offers homogeneity and consistency in content which can be easily upgraded. Forseeing a huge potential in this space, QAI has launched The Edista learning, an on-demand, web enabled curriculum that offers learner centric online curriculum with real time collaboration, Singh said.
The Education Review Office in New Zealand says one in five schools are doing a poor job teaching sex education and a third don’t tell parents what their children are learning about the subject. A report has looked at the effectiveness of sexuality education, which is compulsory in state schools. The report was commissioned by the Ministries of Women’s Affairs, Health and Education as part of a plan to reduce the number of young people with sexually transmitted infections as well as the high level of teenage pregnancy. The Education Review Office says although some schools teach the subject well, most sex education is not as effective as it could be, including the assessment of what students are learning. ERO chief reviewer Graham Stoop says the lack of communication with parents about sex education is simply not good enough.
It is very surprising how different political parties react to the issue of Grade one admissions.  JHU, the so called ‘saviours’ of the Sinhalese Buddhists have so far taken absolutely no interest in supporting the old boys/girls from Buddhist schools like Ananda/Nalanda/Vishaka. Their silence is deafening, given the fact that if the current circular is to be used the ethnic ratios of the student populations of these schools would change drastically in favour of non-Sinhalese Buddhists.  JVP, a political party that normally ultra sensitive to all issues related to education, too is keeping mum. Nobody knows which party they support.

JVP talks sense on TV but…

Posted on August 23, 2007  /  5 Comments

Last week TNL ran a good lengthy discussion on Grade 1 admissions with Premjayantha, the education minister, from SLFP, Maddumabandara from UNP, Bimla Dissanyake from JVP and  the priest who looks like ET representing the JHU. The priest kept  to his one-track argument that thius whole thing is a conspiracy against Buddhists and Premjayantha and Maddumabandara tossed political footballs about who did what when. Bimal Dissanyake was the only one who seemed to talk sense. Dissanyake started by saying anything we do at this point should give priority to the humanitarian issue of parents caught in the crossfire. From the chief justice down we are yet to hear anybody making a strong argument for a short term solution to relieve the burden on families.
Secretary to the Ministry of Education stated yesterday that the circular to Grade 1 admissions needs further amendments – to be presented before the Supreme Court on next Monday. If anyone has lost count, this is the FOURTH successive time he will do so. Perhaps he will carry out the same exercise in numerous times in future. The modifications he intends to include are by no means minor. In fact, he will be moving from one extreme to the other, as he had done in the previous instances.
Condemning the latest cabinet-approved circular on admission of children to grade one, representatives of past pupils’ associations of over 30 schools countrywide expressed their displeasure over the matter while several filed fundamental rights petitions at the Supreme Court yesterday. Following the FR petition filed by the Ananda College OBA at the Supreme Court on Monday, the past pupils’ associations of a number of other schools including Nalanda College, Royal College, Visaka Vidyalaya, Dharmapala College – Pannipitiya, Anula Vidyalaya and D S Senanayake College filed petitions yesterday morning. At a press briefing organised by the Joint Committee of Past Pupils’ Associations (JCPPA) yesterday it was said that grave injustice had been done to the category of past pupils according to the new circular concerning the points scheme for admitting children to grade one. President JCPPA and Ananda College OBA, Isuru Samarasinghe, said that already seven schools had filed petitions by the time the press briefing commenced yesterday morning and many more would do so by Wednesday morning and the Supreme Court had decided to take up the case for hearing. Explaining the issue, Convener of JCPPA and Vice President Ananda College OBA, Dr.
(This news item from Daily Mirror today looks as it has little to do with education policy. However, it is a good illustration of the difficulties children in some parts of the country had to face in pursuing their studies. Even in this twenty first century we have students who daily walk 5-10 km to reach schools, sometimes risking their own lives as this unfortunate girl had to. Please note this happens in a country that boasts having a school for every 6 square km) The body of a female student sitting for the Advance Level examination at Passara Maha Vidyalaya who went missing since Monday morning, was found yesterday by her mother. The victim Rajapakse Mudiyanselage Kanchana Manohari, a Prefect of the Maha Vidyalaya had left home to answer her final A/L exam paper on Monday morning but had not returned.
Only a 8 per cent of students pursue science subjects. This had caused a wide disparity between educational needs and results, said Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama.He was speaking at the convocation of the Indian Chartered Financial Analysis Institute’s (ICFAI University) Sri Lanka Branch at the BMICH recently. Presently the education system had suffered a setback primarily because vast majority of students have been drawn towards the Arts field, he said.
Marking of GCE Advanced Level answer scripts was crippled yesterday when teachers boycotted the work under apparent pressure from five teacher trade unions. According to trade unionists, paper marking at 16 centres out of the total 27 had ground to a halt. Ceylon Teachers’ Services Union (CTSU) President Dhammika Alahapperuma told the Daily Mirror the combined trade union action was a great success, and vowed to continue with the action until the government sorted out the salary anomalies of teachers. Among the marking centres that did not function yesterday were those located at the Central College, Anuradhapura, St. Joseph’s Balika Vidyalaya, Kegalle, Sujatha and Rahula Colleges in Matara and Maliyadeva Girls’ and Boys’ Colleges in Kurunegala.