The Old Boys’ Association (OBA) of the Ananda College filed a Fundamental Rights application in the Supreme Court seeking to quash the new Year One admission circular issued by Ministry of Education.The petitioner, the Secretary of the Ananda College OBA, Jayasiri Ittepana also sought interim relief to suspend the new circular until the final determination of his rights plea. The petitioner also sought to initiate Contempt of Court proceedings against respondent Secretary to the Ministry of Education on the basis that he had failed to follow the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court. The petitioner stated that the Supreme Court had in determining number of rights applications quashed the previous circular and directed the Secretary to the President to prepare a new formulae based on the guidelines issued by the court. The new formulae was later amended as a result of the resistance in Parliament.
We present this sad story from today’s Lankadeepa about a grade five student who had been prevented from writing the Grade five scholarship examination because her name does not appear in the list.  Ajith Premalal, the Principal and the only teacher of Veragoda junior school, where she study has said he did not apply on behalf of this single eligible girl from his 14 student school, because he had not received the application forms from the Department of examinations.  Over to you, Mr. Education Minister!
Thanks to the Daily News which carried the article titled “56 entrants to the University of Ceylon celebrate 50th anniversary”, there was a stream of calls from the group of 56 offering their grateful thanks of refreshing their memories and the honour bestowed. Almost a year has passed since the 56 group celebrated the event at Peradeniya.Chandra and Beatrice reminding me of the great day almost simultaneously put the question, “Are we not continuing it this year? Next person to inquire was Shiva looking forward for the next. Metta was reminiscing it at the old girl’s get together.
According to the dAily nEws today, the Government has formulated the Policy Framework related to Admission of Children to Grade One in Government and private schools for 2008. dAily nEws has learnt this from Education Minister Susil Premajayantha.Addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing at the Government Information Department yesterday, the minister has reportedly said by Cabinet Memorandum No. 2007/ED/E/79, the Policy Frame had been prepared and approved by Cabinet. Applications will be called by advertisements in accordance with this Policy Frame, he had said.
Five teacher trade unions which decided to refrain from the marking of GCE Advanced Level answer scripts, staged a demonstration in Colombo yesterday together with teachers who came for a seminar at Royal College, Colombo. The seminar was part of a series organized by the Examinations Department for teachers selected to mark answer scripts of A/L subjects. At this seminar, university professors who set the question papers briefed the teachers on the methodology to be followed in awarding marks. However, the activists of these trade unions prevented hundreds of these teachers from attending the seminar, and forced them to join a demonstration staged outside Royal College.The teachers demanded that their salary anomalies be rectified before they get down to the job of marking answer scripts.
The Cabinet granted approval last evening to implement the previous 2006/20 circular with amendments for the admission of children to Grade 1 classes for 2008, and the Education Ministry will accordingly publish application forms calling for Grade 1 admissions in state-run newspapers tomorrow. The Grade 1 admission process for 2008 ran into a crisis after the Supreme Court nullified the circular in this regard following fundamental rights cases filed by a few parents. The judgment was delivered on March 29, 2007. The Supreme Court requested the presidential secretariat to draft new a new circular to be approved by it before implementation. The issue was then referred to the National Education Commission which worked out a new system, including proposals from various concerned bodies.
Looks like Ranil won this time. Govt. changed the policy again yesterday. Now they are back to square one. (So why all this noise?
Public Education System is often blamed for not producing what is required by the society. It is also said that system had especially failed to deliver what is required by the private sector, which has been lately identified as the engine of growth and a possible provider of jobs. There is a counter argument to say that society is not advanced enough to absorb the products of the public education system. It has not advanced enough to provide suitable jobs to the job seekers having qualifications. Before addressing the issue, let us look at what we observe in the society that has relevance to the discussion.
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday declared that the future of every child from a working class background was being shattered because of the proposed new Grade 1 admission system for schools. Speaking at a mass rally in Matara organised jointly by the UNP and the SLFP–M, Mr. Wickremesinghe said looking at the circular it seemed that common children had no chance of entering a good school if their parents did not have a high income and were not very educated. “Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe (Sri Lanka’s last king) destroyed the future of four innocent children. Today, Percy Rajapaksa is trying to destroy the future of an entire generation of children,” he said.
Amidst mounting criticism of the Grade One admission selection guidelines proposed by the Supreme Court, the Education Ministry has decided to revert to the old system with certain modifications, The Sunday Times learns. The Education Ministry’s fresh guidelines will avoid the clauses that are seen as violating fundamental rights. Government members and all major political parties are supporting the former selection process with modifications, amidst concerns that next year’s selection process that has run into many a snag would take longer than scheduled leading to a delay in starting classes for year one students.  The new guidelines proposed by the Supreme Court have been rejected by all political parties who claim it could also lead to discrimination of students, particularly if their parents are less educated.  Education Minister Susil Premjayantha said that the amended circular will be handed over to President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga to obtain the approval of the Supreme Court.