Statement from Education Forum Sri Lanka for International Day of Education

January 24th, 2020 · Posted By Yureshya Perera · Leave a Comment

On this second International Day of Education, 24 January, the need for significant attention, better focus, and improved investment in education has never been greater. The theme as suggested  by UNESCO is  – Learning for People, the Planet, Prosperity and Peace. Education is indeed the cornerstone of all the Sustainable Development Goals, and as a signatory to the declaration Sri Lanka too has major responsibility. Moreover we have the responsibility to ensure equitability in good quality education, to modernize curricula & train teachers so that we are geared to face the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution. Sri Lanka needs a novel…

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Why its not advisable to increase class-size

January 22nd, 2020 · Posted By Yureshya Perera · Leave a Comment

According to media reports, the government has announced and the Cabinet has approved a Proposal to increase the the number of students in each class from this year. Increasing student numbers from the current 35-40 in popular urban schools, can seriously hamper the learning environment for students and cause anxiety and stress, for teachers. EFSL will publish a Policy Brief on this topic soon. Meanwhile its worth reading the OECD perspective on this, in the link below. https://gpseducation.oecd.org/revieweducationpolicies/#!node=41720&filter=all

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Is the Sri Lankan Education system geared for the 4th Industrial Revolution?

January 15th, 2020 · Posted By Yureshya Perera · Leave a Comment

With the new decade before us its time to ask if the Sri Lankan education system is ready to meet the FIR (Fourth Industrial Revolution), and its attendant multiple challenges. The World Economic Forum article below explains how education systems in the world are preparing themselves for the FIR.According to the 2017 School Census just about 10% of all schools (total 10,000) offer science education. Even so,  the number of students in those 1000 schools is dismally small. Only about 36,500 qualify for Advance Level Science education. And an even smaller number qualify for university science education. So what ails the…

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Why are Sri Lanka’s Universities nowhere near the worlds greatest – Why is it unlikely that we’ll ever get into such a league table?

January 15th, 2020 · Posted By Yureshya Perera · Leave a Comment

There is a number of reasons, such as : State-funded Sri Lankan universities are poor in resources. Just few universities generate an additional income to augment state funds, and yet the total costs needed to manage a top-end higher education institute, in keeping with globally completive standards, cannot be matched.  Recruitment and ability to retain academic ‘stars’ with excellent teaching and research credentials are next to impossible.  Potential for research, necessary laboratory & other infrastructure, essential resources (financial & other) are hardly adequate. High quality research on topical areas in the sciences and humanities is therefore not forthcoming. To attract…

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The Government is proposing to abolish the Z-score system that has been used as a criterion for university selection since early 2000. This needs to be carefully thought-out before a final decision is taken.

January 15th, 2020 · Posted By Yureshya Perera · Leave a Comment

The Sri Lankan education system went through reforms during the years 1999 to 2004. The series of changes, from Grades 1 to 12 as recommended by the Presidential Task Force on Education and the National Education Commission during that period, included  Advanced Level reforms, i.e reducing the number of subjects offered from four to three, introducing Biology instead of  Zoology & Botany and a new formula, Z score, for university admission selection was introduced. This came into being due to the disadvantages of taking the aggregate/total raw marks of different subjects to select students to universities.Due to the disparities amongst subjects,…

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Grade five scholarship exam: Make it smarter, abolish NOT

April 4th, 2019 · Posted By Sujata Gamage · Leave a Comment

The Grade Five exam with its imperfections is still a useful mechanism to level the playing field in an inequitable education system which cannot be reformed anytime soon. Succeeding governments to their credit have made efforts, and continue to make efforts, to remove inequities through various initiatives, which are more or less similar but implemented under different names such as Navodya Schools, Isuru Schools, Thousand Schools and now as the Nearest School is the Best School. Education is not an island. It reflects inequities in society. Reforms take time. In the meantime, parents will find ways through bribes or whatever means…

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Ratane Thero and the mother-tongue debate

March 18th, 2019 · Posted By Sujata Gamage · Leave a Comment

During a debate on education budgetary allocation,  Aturaliye Ratana Thero, a Bhikku and Sri Lankan Parliamentarian,  has said: “If a child is given a primary education in a language other than their mother tongue, that child would not be a citizen of that country,” The essence of the good Thero’s argument is that pedagogically it is best to educate a child in his/her mother tongue, and if we don’t they will also not be able to participate effectively in the socio-cultural life of this country. While agreeing with the essence of Thero’s argument, I would object very much to a  violation of a parent’s fundamental…

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Role for Intergroup Dialogue in Sri Lankan Higher Education?

October 22nd, 2014 · Posted By Johann Peiris · 9 Comments

Inter-group Dialogue is an interactive and facilitated learning experience that brings together twelve to eighteen students from two or more social identity groups over a sustained period to explore commonalities and differences, examine the nature and consequences of systems of power and privilege, and find ways to work together to promote social justice (Zuniga et al. 2011). My interest as an advocate for Intergroup Dialogue grew specifically with experience as a facilitator for a dialogue on National Origin at an urban American University that is increasingly expanding its global presence. My curiosity about ethno/religious tensions that are perpetuated in ‘learning…

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What children really need to learn

October 1st, 2014 · Posted By Sujata Gamage · 2 Comments

(I wrote this article sometime back at the request of Ms. Chaya Hettige, head of Littel Angels pre-school in Nugegoda. I reproduce it here for parents of Grade V children who just received results of  the 2014 scholarship examination) What do our children really need to learn to be well and happy in an increasingly complex and competitive world? How we do we give them an early start? As parents, you already making a good effort by spending much time and energy getting your little ones to and from per-school, burning petrol, fighting  the traffic etc, but are we focusing…

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නිර්සත්වයින් තනන නූතන අම්මාවරුණේ – කවියක්

June 2nd, 2014 · Posted By Sujata Gamage · 1 Comment

  සිස්සත්වේ ජය ටැඹ වෙත ඇදගෙන ගිය      අම්මා තාත්තට බැන වදිමින් මට වද දුන්              අම්මා වෙල් එළියද ඇලද දොළද තහනම් කළ      අම්මා විඳින්න නොව විඳවන්නට මට හුරු කළ      අම්මා   නෑ මිතුරන්ගේ ඇසුරද මට නැති කළ          අම්මා පත්තරවල කට්ටලවල මා තනි කළ            අම්මා ළමා ලොවේ සුන්දර දේ වසන් කෙරුව       අම්මා අහිමිව ගිය ඒ ලෝකය දෙන්නකෝ මගේ   අම්මා   ටොකු ඇන ඇන මට වද දී තරඟ කරන       අම්මා ලඟින් සිටිය මගේ මිතුරන් දුරස් කෙරුව      අම්මා විභාගයේ දින ගනිමින් ජය පැන් බොන       අම්මා අගාදයේ දූරටුව ළඟ මා තනි වුනි                අම්මා   ප්‍රේමරත්න ගල්හේන  

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