[CITIZENS' Mail - (29-11-2017)] | Daily News

[CITIZENS' Mail - (29-11-2017)]

Education – a bitter pill to swallow?

With the GCE Ordinary Level Examination due next month, it is not a surprising sight to witness students going from one private tuition to another - all in a bid to achieve the dream goal of obtaining nine As. The subtleties of this examination have not taken me by surprise. Instead it is the blind eye of the so-called officials in the Ministry of Education that has drawn my attention towards this subject.

Students, sitting for the GCE O/L examination, have to sit for nine subjects and pass with a minimum of three Cs in order to pursue their education in the Advanced Level. The deciding factor of a student’s eligibility to study in the A/L’s is based on the performance of the student in both Mathematics and first Language (Sinhala or Tamil).

It goes without saying that a student requires a basic knowledge of Mathematics and another language in order to survive in the society. However when it comes down to the O/L examination, the test paper is not confined to basic Mathematics or the basics of Sinhala/ Tamil. Mathematics in the O/Ls is based on the study of the theorem of Pythagoras, mathematical formula, graphs and so on. On the same note, the subject content of first language (Sinhala/Tamil) includes advanced grammar and literary studies.

Dear Education Minister, the theorem of Pythagoras and the study of Algebra will only help those interested in pursuing their education in the streams of Science/Mathematics. In which way would the above mentioned subject content help those who intend to study in the Arts and Commerce Streams?

If we conduct a scrupulous study on the systems of Education that prevail in the countries which are ranked among the top in respect of Education, it is quite evident that these systems allow the students to choose their desired stream from Grade 9 onwards. However, in Sri Lanka we start the “forcibly infusing” educational method from Grade 9. This is a very pathetic situation as it makes education a bitter pill to swallow. Could you please clarify to the public the reason behind making the subjects Mathematics and First Language (with the above mentioned content) compulsory? Is it because the government wants to curtail the number of people taking up employment in the State sector?

It is the norm in Sri Lanka to appoint an infinite number of “ad hoc committees” to probe on various issues of our country. The public knows very well that these committees have never produced the desired end results. Therefore, instead of appointing “special committees” to investigate these matters, we as the public expect you, dear Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, to directly intervene and provide a feasible solution for this long standing problem.

Hassaan Shazuli

Zahira College


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