GCE O/L results: We need a paradigm shift

By Sydney Knight
[Rajagiriya]

Thanks to the Commissioner General of Examinations the Sri Lankan public has been told the reality of the G.C.E. (O/L) Exam.

Some of the salient features of the statement are:-

1. Over 51% of students failed the Exam.
2. Geometry is not known either by those taught or the teacher.
3. Over 51% failed in Science.
4. 63% in English.
5. In nine Colombo Schools not a single student has qualified to do the A/L.

Some of us yet in Sri Lanka will agree with me that the quality of this Examination has failed terribly.

Gone are the days when my school/classmates would enter the world of planting in Sri Lanka or overseas or join a Mercantile Firm with the O/L.

Thank God if not all of them, most of them have done well in life.

Today we have the situation of our graduates being underemployed. In this world the O/L pass is not sufficient for work that is worthy of its name.

At the end of April/beginning of May I was on an estate in the Kurunegala region. There I met a girl who despite all the odds in life, has passed all 10 subjects and qualified to do the A/L.

What then is the problem/s? The Government of Sri Lanka spends vast sums of money on Education. What is the result?

As for teachers it must be stated that only a few of them are ‘called’ to be teachers. A vast number of them are in Teaching because of “filthy lucre” i.e. money.

Therefore the Tuition Industry thrives. How many of them are involved in Tuition?

Where the students are concerned, it is not so simple. There are a variety of factors; the main being that they are the victims of bad teaching.

Education is of course more than O/L or A/L.

As the chaplain in one of our church schools, I have gone public when we meet our new entrants with their parents that for education, the home and the Faith Community have to play major roles.

Education in its totality and entirety goes back to Faith Communities. It was the Religious Communities of several Faiths that imparted knowledge/information and participation in education.

Today alas, they are part of party politics!

As we study the Report which is the focus of this letter it is the student who is the victim.

So what are Teachers Training Colleges doing?

Of course filthy lucre has again taken from our shores some of our teachers, for the grass is greener I am told on the other side!

The Government which from media reports is supposed to be fighting terrorism should also fight this malady in Education. The Government should address the problems as seen in this report, so that in 2007 or later, we will not have similar reports.

Parents I know spend plenty of money/time on their children and education. So it is the task of the Government to deliver the goods.

The Past Students of our schools can use their time/money better. They should come back to their schools and teach.

They should spend their money on education. On better education. Not on getting foreign coaches for sports and organizing foreign trips for their teams. We need a valid paradigm shift in Education.

Our boys/girls must be prepared for life. Life is relationships. They must learn how to relate and how to handle conflicts of all types.

We must help them to stay and battle/struggle without running away.

Our students are the future leaders of our Land in all its areas of life. Thus they deserve a better start in life than given in our schools at the level of the O/L.

Over to all those responsible for this sad story.

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