How community participation is changing face of Sri-Lankan Education
Despite the past progress in the general education system of Sri Lanka, the country faces the challenge of skills and competencies required to realize its true potential of becoming a modern knowledge-based Middle Income Country in lasting peace. As of now, 52 percent of children were failing to master their first language, 47 percent in mathematics and 81 percent English language ability. Moreover there are marked disparities in performance by province, location, school type, gender and medium of instruction. Out of the 2,650 school offering GCE Advance Level course (ages 16-18) only 27 percent of schools offer mathematics and science subjects and only 8 percent of secondary schools are of adequate standard in subjects such as science, mathematics and Information Technology needed for knowledge based economy. Further, the ability of the education system to deliver a high quality education experience for school children is tightly constrained by the relatively low level of public investment in education. Another challenge the education system has taken is to meet broad social goals including the promotion of civic values and good citizenship among students. This includes inculcating values, attitudes and behavior needed for a modern political democracy. This is with the aim of fostering a favorable environment for multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural society. Community contributions and community participation have helped schools in remote areas to overcome challenges by improving access and quality of education.
The parents have expressed that they are keen to be engaged in school development activities because they want to be involved and do the best they can to support his child’s education, which they see as a path to a better future for their whole family.
Transforming the School Education System is being seen as the Foundation of a Knowledge Hub. The community participation improves access to primary and secondary education,quality of education and strengthens governance and delivery of education services, and its components are aligned with the themes of the Government of Sri Lanka’s Education Sector Development Framework and Program for 2012-2016
- The survival rate of students through grade 11 improved from 82 percent to 84 percent (87 percent for girls and 81 percent for boys) at the end of 2012.
- A national assessment of learning outcomes of children at grade 8 was completed in 2012 and the report of its results has been disseminated. A national assessment for grade 4 was conducted at the end of 2013.
- School-based management has been introduced in 44 percent of education zones during 2012-2013.
- About 2,400,000 students (55 percent of all students) are enrolled in schools in these zones.
- School-based teacher development programs have been conducted in 44 percent of education zones during 2012-2013.
- About 140,000 teachers (63 percent of all teachers) have benefited from these programs.
Community Participation will continue to help the government strengthen the country’s education system at multiple levels, including national, provincial educational agencies and schools. Linking financial support to the achievement of results, the focus has shifted from the input to the output.
Source: Rohit Venaik, Linked in. Date: Jul 7, 2015