Character Education

March 22nd, 2020 · Posted By Sujata Gamage · Leave a Comment

In her column why character education is an imperative for Sri Lanka, HGS Premarathna, or Sajitha Preamrathna argues eloquently that good character is more important than ever, and posits, as the title indicates, it should be taught in schools. I have reservations about both arguments. In the first instance, she quotes Andrew Lickona who justifies the need for character education. According to Lickona, “There is a clear and urgent need [for character education]. Young people are increasingly hurting themselves and others and are decreasingly concerned about contributing to the welfare of others.”  Are young people more selfish today? Stephen Pinker…

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Policy Dialogue – 7th March 2020

March 10th, 2020 · Posted By Yureshya Perera · Leave a Comment

The Education Forum Sri Lanka (www.educationforum.lk) commenced a series of Policy Dialogues on March 7th at the Kingsbury Hotel, with the aim of catalyzing policy reforms in Education. The topic of discussion centered around the Quality of Primary Education, Curricula & Assessments, and whether Sri Lanka is on par globally in regards to primary education quality & delivery. The first Dialogue was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Education, the National Institute of Education, National Education Research Centre, university academics, Ministry of Health representatives, Psychologists, Save The Children Srilanka and the Institute of Policy Studies. The next session is on March…

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Singapore has been light on exams since 2019

February 25th, 2020 · Posted By Sujata Gamage · Leave a Comment

Singapore introduced changes to its assessment policy in 2019, lightening the load for school children. https://www.moe.gov.sg/news/press-releases/-learn-for-life—preparing-our-students-to-excel-beyond-exam-results; https://sg.theasianparent.com/singapore-education-system-changes How are they doing? It is too early to tell but some teacher experiences to date are in the official magazine. https://www.moe.gov.sg/docs/default-source/document/teacher-digest/contact-jul19.pdf Exams at the end of the primary stage of education are not uncommon. One difference between the situation in Sri Lanka and elsewhere is that the children are slightly older when they face such an exam. The Singapore Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) is a critical exam that is used to stream children into various academic paths, but it is offered…

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A series of Policy Dialogues

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

Education Forum Sri Lanka begins a series of Policy Dialogues in March – 7 & 21 at the Kingsbury Hotel. These forums aim to discuss and collate ideas using experience from local & global Education initiatives. They will bring together researchers, academics, Ministry & NIE representatives, school representatives and those experienced in Education.

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Statement on the 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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