24 May, 2019

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National Education Policy: Professionals Should Design It & Take Its Ownership

By W.A Wijewardena

Dr. W.A Wijewardena

Dr. W.A Wijewardena

An important TV talk show on national education policy

In a recent TV talk show on what should be the country’s national education policy, a selected group of politicians from main political parties had been seated on the stage. Presumably, it would have been thought that it was necessary to seat them on the stage to pick their brains on how the national education policy should be framed.

In the opposite, some invitee-experts on education were confined to the front raw of the audience so that they could listen attentively to the wisdom imparted by politicians. The rest of the seats in the studio had been filled by passive onlookers who appeared to have enjoyed being present in person in a TV talk show (available here ).

What if the role of the politicians were exchanged with experts?

It was the politicians who spoke mostly at the talk show. They even allocated time for themselves when the host was not willing to do so. Diverse views and heated arguments were exchanged, sometimes descending to personal levels, among those on the stage before an audience that was watching the proceedings helplessly with aghast looks on faces.

It would have been a fruitful, productive and purpose-serving discussion, had there been two major changes in the logistics of the TV show. One change would have been to seat the politicians in the audience and the experts on the stage. It would have given an opportunity for experts to impart their wisdom and politicians to listen to them, seek clarifications on issues involved and improve their listening and learning skills.

The second, a more difficult option in the current political scenario, would have been to give a piece of advice to politicians right at the outset that if they use it as a forum to advance their political supremacy, the purpose of the TV talk show would be instantly lost.

No country is happy about its education system

The current state of Sri Lanka’s education at all levels was something about which both the politicians and the experts had unanimously agreed. That was, it was in serious crisis and it needed quick and permanent expert fixing. This is an open expression of the displeasure of the population about the gap between what is expected and what is delivered by the system.

In that respect, no country in the world today is happy about its education system and even the most advanced country in the world has some complaint about its education system. For instance, the US citizens are unhappy about the falling reading, math and science scores of the US school children in globally administered tests such as Programme for International Student Assessment or PISA administered by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development or OECD. In all the three aspects, USA is ranked well below even the OECD average (available here ).

China’s predicament in education

The highest score has been earned by students of Shanghai in China followed by those in Singapore. Yet, Chinese authorities are unhappy about the ability of its education system to produce thinkers who would match those who are produced by US universities which are always ranked very high in global rankings.

For instance, at the centenary celebration in 2011 of China’s Tsinghua University which is ranked within the top 50 world universities, China’s President Hu Jintao expressed the desire that “Efforts should also be made to foster the all-round development of students and universities should enhance their innovative and research capability” and “students should maintain their individuality by thinking independently” (available here ).

Singapore wants its education to take the country to the next stage

Singapore which should be proud of scoring the second highest in all the three key areas has other complaints. On the eve of celebrating Singapore’s 50th independence anniversary in 2015, its Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says that the city state is trying hard to increase the inclusiveness of the university education from the current 30% of population to 40% of population and narrow the income gap between university graduates and non-university school leavers.

His problem is to move to the next level of economic development. Says Lee: “My whole system should be different from what you get anywhere else in Asia. The others are catching up. So even as others step into where we are, we have to be at the next level (available here ).

Crises are mothers of progress

Hence, being dissatisfied with the current education system is a blessing rather than a bane. It gives energy to a nation to push itself forward vigorously. In that respect, what transpired at the TV talk show is something that should be productively used by Sri Lanka. Untitled-5Crises are mothers of progress and not ailments about which one should keep on lamenting continuously.

An important dictum in strategy has been that one does not have problems but a series of opportunities. It is up to the strategist to harness the opportunities productively to solve the problems. But to use a crisis as a stepping stone for progress, there should be a number of steps which Sri Lanka should take. Those steps involve following good public policy governance as this writer has emphasised in a number of articles in this series.

Knowledge is the wealth-creator today

Education policy is an important public policy because it involves the government’s intervention in education to build a knowledge-based society. Knowledge today is the wealth creator and those nations which have this asset in abundance are top on the list of progressing nations. That is why all nations today are aspiring to acquire this wealth-creator by investing more and more funds in human capital development of which education is one of the three key ingredients.

The other two key ingredients are research, development and marketing on one hand and improvement of the talent base of society through training and skills development. Education at school and university levels produces an essential input for the latter two ingredients.

Education is only one contributor to knowledge

But, how does knowledge come about? It comes from learning. Learning is imparted by all types of education – formal, non-formal and informal. Learning facilitates research and research brings about inventions. Inventions lead to technological advancements and technological advancements lead to economic growth.

In the case of advanced countries today, it has been found that between one-third and a half of economic growth they have attained have been due to the technological advancements they had had in the past. So, a country should foster technological advancements if it is desirous of having a high economic growth. Any economic growth not accompanied with technological advancements, as is the case of growth of Sri Lanka today, is short-lived and unsustainable. Thus, a country is required to enhance its investments in both education and research and development.

Education will produce knowledge workers and research and development will foster technological advancements. These important aspects of human capital development to which education contributes partly were not touched upon by either the politicians or the experts. The discussion was wholly confined to school and university education and not to the human capital development at large.

Alison Wolf: Education doesn’t matter if entrepreneurship isn’t there

But the availability of knowledge workers and technology is necessary for economic development but not sufficient to attain that objective. For education and technology to do that job, there should be a different set of ground conditions available in an economy. This has been lucidly explained by Alison Wolf, Professor of Education at the Institute of Education of the University of London, in a book she published in 2002 under the title “Does Education Matter?” The subtitle of the book, “Myths about Education and Economic Growth” explains her thesis well.

According to Wolf, the countries which have spent a great deal of money on education have got mixed results: Some have got higher growth, some no growth at all and some, negative growth. Thus, there is no clear relationship between educational attainments and economic growth. What is necessary is that a country should invest in correct type of education, build correct type of attitudes amongst its student population and have correct type of policies to translate that knowledge into commercially viable businesses.

Finally, it is entrepreneurship that matters and to promote entrepreneurship, a country should have ground conditions that are helpful for promoting entrepreneurial spirits among its citizens. These ground conditions, though Wolf has not mentioned, are the protection of property rights, maintenance of law and order and adoption of market friendly policies by the government – the job of a proactive development state.

Sri Lanka’s schools don’t produce quality outputs

Experts at the audience of the TV talk show under reference were critical of the output which Sri Lanka’s school system has produced. With respect to language skills, one university academic was frank in revealing that those who join universities in Sri Lanka today are not the right university material because most of them have the deficiency of expressing themselves clearly even in their mother tongue. On top of this, universities have imposed as a policy that university courses should be conducted in English possibly to cater to a popular demand by students who desire their certificates to carry that they have done the degrees in English.

When a student who is weak in mother tongue is inadequate in English, the process of expressing oneself gets retarded because one has to first think in his mother tongue, then translate his thinking into English and finally present himself in a language in which he is not competent. Another expert stressed the need for developing a balanced brain – the subtle side through math and science and intuitive side through arts and literature. Thus, the experts made a serious indictment against the school education system for which the politicians on the stage are alleged to be responsible.

A secretively-prepared National Education Policy

It was revealed that 25 Members of Parliament got together, consulted experts on education and prepared a national policy document on education for implementation by the previous government. It was also revealed that even after six months, the policy remained just on paper without a practical programme for its implementation.

An expert in the audience who happened to be a senior professor and Deputy Vice Chancellor of a university confessed that the preparation of such a policy document was news to him despite his standing in the education field. What it meant was that it was a document prepared secretively by a select group of Parliamentarians without consulting those who matter in the education system of the country.

Public policies should be made after wide consultation with civil society

This is a flawed method of public policy making. To be successful, a public policy should have been made openly, in consultation with experts in the field and those who are interested in the subject under consideration, with a policy owner who will take it forward.

Since it is a policy concerning the future of the country, it should first be released in the form of a public discussion paper inviting views of all the interested parties. Open discussions should be generated by civil society organisations through media, public debates and public forums. Once those views are known, the policy document should be revised in the light of the proposals made.

In this way, it becomes a national policy rather than a policy document prepared by a select group at the top and imposed on the rest of the people in society. With clear ownership of the policy by people of the country, the change of politicians from time to time will not adversely affect its implementation.

The development of math and science base is a must

The development of math and science base among students has been the main thrust of educational reforms throughout the world today as demonstrated by global tests like PISA. In Sri Lanka, the majority of students have failed in these two subjects at the GCE (Ordinary Level) Examination thereby becoming ineligible to join the Advanced Level classes.

It was revealed that, instead of improving the teaching of these two subjects at schools, an arbitrary decision had been made by political authorities to take out mathematics from the eligibility criteria for enrolment for the advanced level classes. This arbitrary decision was justified at the TV talk show on the ground that mathematics is not necessary for most of the occupations and there are many successful people in society who have not passed math at the Ordinary Level examination.

Math will equip a person with logical thinking

The flaw in this argument is that it ignores the value of learning mathematics. Math will equip a person with logical thinking and that logical thinking is essential for a subsequent creativity of a person.

When math is removed from the eligibility subject list, students will neglect learning math and as a result, the school system will produce students with a serious deficiency in decision making. If Sri Lanka is to move to the next level of economic development, it should necessarily develop its math and science base in its talent pool.

National Education Policy is too important to be left to politicians

Thus, education is too important to be left to politicians who are not experts on the subject. Education policy should be decided by experts and politicians should simply make available the needed resources and take political leadership in implementing the policy.

Hence, the ownership of designing and implementing a national education policy should be taken by professionals and not politicians.

*W.A Wijewardena, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, can be reached at waw1949@gmail.com.

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Latest comments

  • 2
    0

    Why Bother with Higher Education, or any Education at all?
    When we have Politicians with hardly any Education, (as seen on the Platform) governing our Country and amassing vast amounts of Wealth

  • 1
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    ‘One change would have been to seat the politicians in the audience and the experts on the stage’, – Only a wise man could visualise this.

    What were the experts on Education doing there. Why did they agree to go with such a format.

    Education is the movement from darkness to light. – Philosopher A Bloom.

    Darkness shrouds every aspect of our lives. It engulfs our knowledge and understanding. There is no redemption until our system of education, from preschool to postgraduate, is made remote from the dictates of politicians. Only a well planned system of education managed by national minded educators, will redeem us.

    No amount of emphasis is too much.

  • 1
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    I too watched this “staged drama” on education aired over Derana TV. Both the past and the present Ministers of Education tried to spell out what each of them did and doing with the one and the only aim of “winning votes”. Both of them made “political propaganda” in spite of the disruptions made by the the mediator.

    Mr. Sam Samarasinghe who is a consultant to Singapore education establishment quite clearly and categorically said: “the whole problem with the education in Sri Lanka is due to it being “enveloped” in a political system and its interference.” Mr. Devasiri challenged the politicians who were seated on the stage to “get rid of the “Tution Shop” system and he correctly stated that schools are not educating the children; but these “massive scale” shops. Interestingly the Minster of Education under MR Regime Mr. Bandula Gunawardane and the State Minister of Education Mr. Grero were both “Tution Masters”. So what could we expect from such persons. Another very interesting story was when the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Peradeniya University “Denied” any knowledge of an “existing education policy” introduced by the previous Government.

    Anyway, we all know that there is NO EDUCATION (FREE) SYSTEM dished out by the schools to children. The entire “SYSTEM” is managed by the “TUTION SHOP” and all the parents know how much they suffer as a result of it. Simple as that.

  • 2
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    This is a good article, an eye opener to the experts and people in Sri Lanka. i can share some situations in the Ministry of Education (Ministry of Mathena Muthas).

    Most of the Education Administrators in the Ministry of Education are not well qualified and got into the service of SLEAS through political victimisation, special cabinet papers and through some aptitute exams. They are neither academic nor educationists. But they are taking all the educational decisions. College of education and teachers Colleges are not supervised and run by these officials neglecting the Board of College of Education whcih consists of experts. These institutes are producing teachers with less qualifications and that lead to poor teaching in schools. No body is focussing this serious issues. NIE is waste body and only changing syllabus.

    The best solutions
    1. The secretary and the higher decision making officials should be placed by academics as in other countries rather than just filling by SLEAS poeple.

    2. Bring NIE, Teachers College and Colleges of Education under UGC
    3. Bring Exam Department (one of the most corrupt institutions)under President or prime minister
    4. Delete the service of SLEAS or Include more academic Qualifications to enter the service

    These are the idease received from experience

  • 0
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    Vcational and adult education must take pride of place. It is the people who are to be strenthened and vitalised to develop our economy are who should be heard. t is allways a multi disiplinary field that can assess the needs of the people. People particpation is important.

  • 1
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    ” ….ignores the value of learning mathematics. Math will equip a person with logical thinking and that logical thinking is essential for a subsequent creativity of a person.”

    Where did u get this idea? from studying maths I suppose.
    People think logically naturally.

    what they have to learn is to spot and question assumptions, prejudices masquerading as wisdom like your statement above etc. And this they would NOT learn by a maths or science education. On the contrary they get addicted to one form or another of reductionist rationalism which probably is more the cause of most of our political evils.
    To think usefully, politically or otherwise in society, you have to learn to see the other, to be flexible, not to worship power, to accept that there are no clear or perfect answers, not to be blind to your own pettinesses etc.

    Do you know some of the brilliant Tamil mathematicians were great admirers of VP?

    And you talk of experts in education. Pray, who are they? where do you find them – in our university education departments which are notoriously the home of mediocrities with a few notable exceptions.

    Setting up experts is not very different from setting up kings.

    See the condition of education in our schools today for evidence. They have handed over the children to tuition factories which produce examination results not thinking people.

    You should use your good name to campaign for some way of making tuition illegal in the country. Apart from making school teachers idle sinecures, it has also made “free education” non existent in this country

  • 0
    2

    Dear Dr Wijewardane,
    You have badly mistaken the whole thing. Two third of SL legislators have not completed 12 year education, but SL is the greatest, economically profound and best in culture in the whole world. If you have any doubt, ask any Sinhalese Buddhist… If education and maths are important, how could this happened?
    This is the problem in the West, their politicians are unnecessarily educated.

    • 1
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      “but SL is the greatest, economically profound and best in culture in the whole world. If you have any doubt, ask any Sinhalese Buddhist… If education and maths are important, how could this happened?”

      We have the Best Culture with Best Legislators, Who are Promoting RAPE, Looting, Thuggary, Dealing with Heroin, Prostitution, And pedalling of Drugs.

      “ask any Sinhalese Buddhist”???????.

      Our Sinhalese Buddhists Even Do not Know What is Buddhism IS?????.

      BUT WE ARE The GRATE SINHALA BUDDHISTS.

  • 0
    3

    Dear Dr.Wijewardene,

    Thanks for raising an issue that had been long ignored, despite the concerns of many.

    The Ministry of education, overseeing and directing our a schools, is misnamed. Education is by a definition a combination of knowledge, culture (refinement of mind , moral and taste) and wisdom. Do our schools inculcate culture and age old and modern wisdom to our students. Do they provide the experiences for students to develop their own wisdom? The are cram shops that teach that at best impart mainly knowledge. We should call the concerned department, ‘Department of schools, to define their mandate better.

    The Ministry of Higher Education should not exist,. What we need are universities that function independently and compete for staff and students. ‘Educere’ in Latin means to stand up and look around. The purpose is to make those who pass through its portals question and think. Does this happen in our universities and if so, to what extent?

    Both the education and higher education ministries at the center should be drastically down sized.

    What to most of our politicians understand of the purpose of education. According to recent figures I have seen, most do not have even a basic university degree. What do university degrees mean in the prevalent circumstances? We even had a Higher Education Minister, a graduate, who wanted an Ex-President-a lady, to run naked on our streets!!

    Any change in our society and country for the better should start with changes in our schooling and university systems. This cannot be defined by a GDP limit. What needs to be done, whatever it costs. The investment in the education of our children is the most important we can make. They are our wealth. However, we have to develop that wealth.

    Schools must be independent units, with the right to hire the teachers and the Principal. They should be managed by ‘School Boards’ made up of parents, eminent educated persons in the area and representatives from the department concerned. The system of school inspectors should be invigorated. While the system national examinations at the A-Levels should continue, the broad outlines of the standards to be achieved at each level of schooling should be defined at the national level.

    There should not be national schools any more. Schooling must be a provincial function and the provinces should be permitted to have their independent evaluation and examination systems up to, including the O-levels. The A-level examinations must be conducted by the national government. The individual Universities should must also be permitted to select the quality of students they desire to admit though an admission tests and /or interviews. The possibility of having provincial and national universities and technical colleges should be considered.

    Competition between provinces to provide good schooling and tertiary education, should be encouraged. The central government should through its funding and other assistance ensure a level playing field in each province.

    These are random thoughts of someone who is also very concerned about what is happening in our schools and universities.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 2
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      Dr R N:

      What are you talking about.

      Take yourself as a Model Example [Edited out]
      Just to pick up on one thing.

      In your words

      Schools must be independent units, with the right to hire the teachers and the Principal. They should be managed by ‘School Boards’ made up of parents, eminent educated persons in the area and representatives from the department concerned.

      *** Let me ask you a Question. Do you know antyhing about the two tier system.
      If all the Schools are independant who is going to fund it. It they are publicly owned ( State Owned ) why would you give the right to run it a Board who have not contributed financially.
      The body that invests should be the final arbitrator with some input from parents.
      Now you will see why you and your family come up with ill thought out ideas.

      • 0
        2

        Whoever you really are, Kali,

        What are you talking about?

        Dr.RN

        • 0
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          Dr. R N: [Edited out]

        • 2
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          Your Solution:

          Schools must be independent units, with the right to hire the teachers and the Principal. They should be managed by ‘School Boards’ made up of parents, eminent educated persons in the area and representatives from the department concerned.

          Historical facts which you ( a muppet simply nodding the head)and the writer have no clues about.

          *** Primary school to higher education are primarily funded and overseen by three governmental ministries.
          Ministry of Education: for schools, pirivenas (schools for Buddhist priests), teachers training colleges and colleges of education Department of Examinations: National examination service

          Ministry of Higher Education: for universities
          Ministry of Education Services: for supplying the physical facilities required for general education
          Ministry of Vocational & Technical Training: for vocational education and technical colleges

          Exceptions to this system exist — mostly when it comes to tertiary with several public universities and institutes coming under the purview of different ministries.

          POINT TO NOTE:

          These divisions have led to a high degree of mismanagement and inefficiency over the years.

          *** The Solution is not what the writer suggests and you shaking your head in Agreement but a Coordination and Stringent Discipline with emphasis on achieving better results.

          The body that funds all this must have the ultimate say with Input From Parents.
          But appointing eminent educated persons in the area and representatives from the department concerned will create more bereaucracy costing money which Sri Lanka can ill afford with limited resources.

      • 0
        2

        Whoever you really are, Kali,

        What are you talking about?

        Dr.RN

  • 3
    0

    The vision of education in SL is reflected in the number of international schools some of them affiliated to universities in the UK. The vision of these schools is to earn money and most of these schools cater for london A Levels. The vision of the parents is to give the children a foreign education so that they can get a job abroad. The cream of the country wishes to leave the country. when this happens the future of the country is bleak. The responsibility for this must be laid at the feet of our politicians. Essentialy they are imbeciles who are not qualified to lead a country. It is a sad state of affairs. It is time our educationists took over the educational policies of our country to develop a national curriculum geared to the development of Sri Lanka but not for the development of foreign countries.

  • 1
    0

    Your recommendation that the ownership of designing and implementing a national education policy should be taken by professionals and not politicians is partly correct. There are professionals like Eran, Harsha who are politicians. The expertise of Mohanlal Grero was not used to improve the secondary school system. In fact Eran Wickramaratne when he was the CEO of NDB Bank, funded the establishment of a Chair for Entrepreneurship at the Moratuwa University. Number of alumni of this university are successful entrepreneurs.

    The next government must recognise the importance of education and appoint competent Ministers with vision and an understanding of the needs of the Sri Lankan & international job market. They must use a multi-disciplinary panel of advisors to formulate our educational policies to ensure that Sri Lankans seeking foreign employment are trained as nurses, doctors, skilled people required by the construction industry, hospitality industry Etc., rather than housemaids and unskilled workers.

  • 0
    2

    Sounds cool..

    Brain Surgeons, Leading Edge Engineers, IT specialists, Artificial Intelligence Experts,Quantum Physicists ,Master Class business Managers , Financial planners , Investment Bankers and many other categories must be on the list.

    Unfortunately our great majority of the inhabitant population who are Dalits can’t afford to help their kids make it to this A list.

    Because they don’t have proper schools, and qualified and competent teachers,

    Plus the these kids need a breakfast before school and a decent meal after school to keep their faculties in good order.

    We know Mahindodaya Vidayalayas were established to give these kids a fair go and provide a level playing field.

    Mahinda also gave Development projects to the Village so the parents can make a quid and put food on the table.

    But Batalanda Uncle and Galleon Ravi stopped all that .. Didn’t they?.

    May be Batalanad has better ideas.

    Like Assembly Jobs for the Dalit Kids so that Elite Kids can make it to the A list.

    Otherwise why would Batalanada is making 2500 cluster villages to employ One Million youth. with the money saved by culling the Mahindodaya Vidayalayas and the Development Projects.

  • 1
    0

    Every citizen in Sri Lanka yearns for education in the English medium for his/her children.
    Those who tout the glories of education in Sinhala and Tamil, send their children – if they can afford – to ‘international schools’ for basic qualifications in the English language, and then, abroad for degrees which will enable them to obtain jobs easily on return – IF they return.
    Those who also tout the glories of religion as a subject in schools, do not send their children for additional instruction in same in temples etc.

    Tuition in the English language from the primary classes is essential, if the nation is to progress.
    Teaching religion in schools is a waste of time and resources.

    If there is political will, this will & can happen.

    • 1
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      justice:-

      “…. English language from the primary classes is essential, if the nation is to progress. Teaching religion in schools is a waste of time and resources.”

      If You want Proof of this Statement, look at Singapore and Hong Kong and Compare them with all the other non-English speaking Nations of South East Asia.

      Singapore and Hong Kong did not throw the Baby out with the Bath Water! They had access to New Developments in the rest of the World, and the Internet.

      ” If there is political will, this will & can happen.”

  • 0
    0

    Dr. Wijeyawardena,
    Thank you for highlighting the problems in the education system. One of the main contributors to the state of the education system in Sri Lanka is the three National Examinations. The universities prescribe the curricula and examinations for the AL to select a group of students to enter the Universities and the next level of students to pursue tertiary education. The OL curricula and examinations are to filter those who would enter the AL. That is 50% of those who sit for the examination. This process pushes out 50% at each of the two levels. At the AL students study three subjects and those who enter the universities continue the three subjects for another 3 years and the one or two subjects if they go on to the 4th year. Such is the narrowness of the secondary and university education. What else can we expect from such a system that encourages studying for examinations. The teachers and the Tutories continue the farce because the examinations demand such cramming.

    I facilitated the Review of the Northern Province Education System. It is published – July 2014 – in English and Tamil in http://www.edudept.np.gov.lk the review started by asking the public for their inputs on the NP education system they went through as students, teachers, principals and administrators.Their contribution is summarised in Appendix I of the Report.

    There is a chapter on Tutories – the alternate education system that is not free but more popular than the schools for students in Grade 1 to Grade 13. In fact parents or teachers do not want schools to schedule sports events after 2 pm as they don’t want their children to miss tuition classes and the Teachers don’t want to be late to their classes in the Tutories!

    The North has excess teachers in schools in Jaffna and not enough teachers in the Islands or the schools in the Vanni. Neopotism and cronism in the administration prevents equitable distribution of teachers. Effort are now being made to implement many of the recommendations but the archaic education administration system is petrified and remains the same as when the British left. In the North the 30 year war has left the education system dysfunctional as it adjusted to the embargo and made decisions as schools and families displaced from place to place since 1990. The teacher education system operated by a Commissioner in the Ministry of Education is still in the 1940’s. I would not put them under the UGC which is now an extension of the Minister of Higher Education – and the political party in power.

    • 0
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      Dr.Ethirveerasingham,

      Thanks. The tuition industry is a curse on this country. It stunts the wholesome development of children. The whole system of education has become like a dog that runs in a circle, chasing its tail!

      The fact that we are discussing this topic at this moment is a tribute to ex-President Abdul Kalam of Indis, a truly educated man, who lived in our times.

      Dr.RN

      • 0
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        Dr R N

        It looks like you are speaking from experience.like a dog that runs in a circle, chasing its tail!

  • 0
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    Math is undoubtedly very important in the modern world. That subject should be made compulsory up to O Level. There could be graded Math of differing standards to cater to the differing altitudes of children. As an alternative, teaching of logic as a subject could be introduced.

    Sengodan. M

  • 2
    0

    Dr. W.A Wijewardena:

    I got distracted by an argument with Dr R N who is like a puppet. If a writer happens to be a Doctor he just nodds his head in agreement.

    Where I think you have gone wrong is failing to identify importance of Funding which has two sources.

    1) Public
    2) Private.

    Primary and Secondary Education ( which is compulsary) especially in a Country like Sri Lanka has to rely on Public Funding and the question one has to ask is if you want to set up private schools who will fund it and just the sheer number of Scools one has to set up is beyond the realms of capabilities.

    When it comes to Higher Education it is opitional but here again funding is Crucial. Sri Lankan universities cannot attract the Kind of Foreign Students like say for example britain to raise money.

    In the UK Statics is as follows.

    Scotland 48,360 Overseas Students 21%
    Wales 25,610 19%
    Notern Ireland 5950 11%
    England 435,500 18%

    The University Fees for an Overseas student is £11,000 a year.

    That gives you an idea of the Scale.

    Sri Lanka will never scale the heights of Western Countries and therefore the Higher Education Establishments will always have to take orders from peole who provide Funding.

    The official functions of the UGC are;
    Allocation of funds to Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) that come under it
    Planning and co-ordination of university education
    Maintenance of academic standards
    Regulation of the administration of HEIs
    Regulation of student admissions to HEIs

    I am afraid you have to lower your horizons.

  • 2
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    Dr. W.A Wijewardena:

    I forgot to tackle the following as I was still brooding over the attack by Dr R N and his clan on me.

    Now that I have recoverd my composure let me tackle it.
    1) Singapore wants its education to take the country to the next stage

    Singapore which should be proud of scoring the second highest in all the three key areas has other complaints. On the eve of celebrating Singapore’s 50th independence anniversary in 2015, its Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says that the city state is trying hard to increase the inclusiveness of the university education from the current 30% of population to 40% of population and narrow the income gap between university graduates and non-university school leavers.

    His problem is to move to the next level of economic development. Says Lee: “My whole system should be different from what you get anywhere else in Asia. The others are catching up. So even as others step into where we are, we have to be at the next level (available here ).

    *** I hope you are well up on Maths and let me give you the spending power of Singapore to achieve the above.

    Population of Singapore: 5.39 million

    Singapore GDP 297 Billion USD

    Population of Sri Lanka 22 Million

    Sri Lankan GDP 67.18 Billion USD

    Work it out for yourself.

    2) Sri Lanka’s schools don’t produce quality outputs

    Experts at the audience of the TV talk show under reference were critical of the output which Sri Lanka’s school system has produced. With respect to language skills, one university academic was frank in revealing that those who join universities in Sri Lanka today are not the right university material because most of them have the deficiency of expressing themselves clearly even in their mother tongue. On top of this, universities have imposed as a policy that university courses should be conducted in English possibly to cater to a popular demand by students who desire their certificates to carry that they have done the degrees in English.

    *** I think you have done a diservice to Sri Lankas Education System. Sri Lanka has produced exellent

    Doctors who are working as Consultants , Surgeons in the West.,
    Engineers who have gone to become Rocket Scientists: I know one from Vadamaratchi who invented a Communication System in Space Probes.

    Have some pride in yourself.

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      ” Attack by Dr.Narendran & his clan” ?

      There is something seriously wrong with you. My clan? How many are there in this clan? By brother, has reasons to be happy with you too. He has a right to respond the way he deems fit.

      You are paranoid and imagining non-existing ghosts. It is you who is abusing others using slum language, under various assumed identities.

      You have accused me of various things and have even threatened to tear me apart and report me to the Veterinary Council. You have talked about Rinderpest, having only heard about the name only after my comment relating to the IPKF.

      As I have stated I know who you are and have known you from 1978. I also know what you been up to since, However, I will not divulge details in a public forum, as I had indicated in an earlier comment.

      Incidentally, although I hold my first degree in a veterinary a Science, I have never been a practicing Veterinary surgeon, I have been in the academia since my basic degree and post-graduate qualifications. In the past twenty years I have held senior management posts in the food industry. I am retired now and am trying contribute my mite in words and deeds in Sri Lanka and her North. I am of course for a United Sri Lanka, where all communities can live in peace, share her bounty and progress.

      I welcome your comments, even if I do not agree with them. But do not use the opportunity, denigrate and insult others as individuals.

      On most occasions you and your avatars have been a blight on CT and those who contribute and comment there.

      Look at your self in the mirror!

      I have tried not to be harsh on you and your avatars, and have avoided getting involved in acrimonious arguments, even when acutely provoked by falsehoods and insults. This was not due to any cowardice on my part, but out of respect for ethics that should govern a public forum. You have flouted it with impunity, under the cover of assumed identities.

      This is the last occasion, I will respond to you. You do not deserve a response. You can reform or carry on in your obnoxious way. The choice is your’s and that of CT. I am sure CT is aware of your multiple avatars.

      Dr.RN

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        Dr R N

        There are five
        [Edited out]

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        Dr R N :

        [Edited out]

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    The Education policy development and enhancing the quality of the education can be viewed as two different things within Sri Lankan context.

    First of all as policy can we ensure the education and higher education right of all needed citizens are assured?

    Other part of the policy should be as to how to connect the higher education with local development research studies?

    Without focusing these two areas and merely writing around the bush will not make any progress. Instead, its going to be just an academic political statement.

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    Dear all,

    Education – What for ? Why ?

    Nice debate on positives and negatives of present preschool /school /University Education.

    Lot of blame is attributed, regarding morals, values and behavior of the whole population . The glaring degradation, is because of ‘my and mine thinking’. What and where is the rot and wrong? Where does it start? What is the root cause?

    1. Is it because the education has no societal control, influence, aspirations and values as at present and left in the hands of bureaucrats and politician, and not by educational thinkers?

    2. Is it because, it is entirely Govt. centered, controlled, directed affair, divorced from public, and parents?

    3. Is it because the educated men/women of morals, culture and vision are not wanted to correct the major aspect of the societal failures through education?

    4. Should we go back to society controlled establishment to manage / oversee / direct all aspects of these establishments with enlightened, knowledgeable, qualified persons in the area / locality/ specialty?

    5. Should values, commitment to society, culture , moral values, mannerisms, religious morals be taught compulsorily, from kindergarten to university, including for all professional courses, to produce end products who will in future handle all facets of societal affairs, to build an excellent society of men and women and to set norms locally and to the world.

    6. What are future trends in education methodology in the world?

    7. Have we got anything to learn from Singapore?

    Old Yarlppanathan 25/07/2015

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