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"A long way to go for education in Sri Lanka"
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"A long way to go for education in Sri Lanka"

IndooshanSri Lanka is making strides in development, but Indooshan Shanthakumaran, 26, a Correspondent from Colombo in Sri Lanka, argues that investment in the education system is a crucial step if the country is to achieve its goals.

Though Sri Lanka has entered the new post-war development era of its history, still some parts of the educational system seem to be too traditional and out dated.

Our so-called formal education is one of the major factors which do not contribute to the growth of the country as per the expectation. One of the major defects in our system is that it guides people to a place where they end up in a situation with no way forward. For example a typical Sri Lankan student who completes the higher school and does not qualify for university will be miserable, as no any other defined system is available for an alternative career path.

The formal education system in Sri Lanka is very competitive. From the primary level onwards to the advanced level, students are guided in an exam-driven manner. They are only taught to study for exams, write the exams, and pass. The actual learning process is missing the idea that every child is unique, and talent is never realized because the curriculum says the written exams and the marks obtained are the parameter for everything.

Then comes the most important part of university entrance – our university gates are full of congestion. Every year only 10 per cent out of the entire student population that completes schooling is lucky enough to go to universities. The remaining 90 per cent have to find their own way to acquire something to fit into the labour force.

Another major defect in our formal education system is that it does not address issues like developing skills among people, for instance essential skills like interpersonal skills, communication skills, leadership skills and soft skills like music and dancing. If a child aspires to become a musician or a sports star, it solely depends on them, their parents, and their ability to deviate from the normal career pathway. More importantly the parents must be able to afford this career path. The most irritating truth is that even though we are a multicultural country and have an official tri-language policy, the interest shown in learning a second language is not appreciable.

However, there is a group among our intellectual community that shows interest in the reform of the education system as they understand the importance. Many politicians make their opinion known in parliament and there are some intentions shown by government, as science schools and cultural schools are proposed in the budget. Yet even though the debate continues, and the invitations for foreign universities are given every year, the change in education opportunities is happening at a very small rate and is not making a big impact.

This is high time that we all should take immediate action to find a better solution to the lag created in our formal education system so that we can achieve the dream of becoming the wonder nation of Asia.

photo credit: World Bank Photo Collection via photopin cc

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About me: I am a friendly and fun loving person, highly interested in travelling around getting know different people and making lovely memories. I intend to pursue higher studies in development economics and help small and medium entrepreneurs achieve their development and their country’s development goals.

I am interested in writing about common issues that lie within the Commonwealth countries and to find some reasonable and practical solutions universally.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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