Thursday, February 23, 2012

Back to Education – “Reopening of 1000 Closed Schools” – another spanner!

Due to the emotive nature of the closure of local schools, especially those with less than 50 students the Govt. has decided to take reverse measures by reopening previously closed schools. This to me is only a reaction to bad publicity and is a retrograde step, taken to boost sagging popularity by emotive moves.

I have noted earlier about why so many schools have had to be closed, as it is very difficult under the current system of state education to firstly attract good teaching staff to mainly primary village schools, due to teachers having to commute from homes far away with minimal accommodation facilities in the rural areas. In fact I was informed just two days ago of a co-worker whose wife, who taught in a local school in Payagala (local to her home) and was just transferred to a school in the interior. She has to walk the final 3km after taking two buses, as there is no bus service to the village at that hour. She is trying all it takes using influence with the Chief Minister of the Western Province to get herself transferred back or at least to somewhere she can get to with less pain.

I presume this school would be one according to my criteria, which will soon have to close as parents lose faith in the teaching staff’s competence and dedication, and put their kids into more urban schools at a greater distance from home. How can the govt. keep this open? The news also referred to considerable sums being spent to repair, and do the necessary capital expenditure to get these previously closed schools back to a state to accept students. It is an UTTER WASTE of money UNLESS good teachers can also be attracted to the schools. No parent wants to send their kids to understaffed schools where the quality of teaching is not up to par. The money thus spent will be wasted. Cost of keeping them open is colossal.

It is therefore NOT the look of the school and its facilities, it is the Teachers stupid

Unless good teaching staff can be recruited, it makes no sense to waste money on this fruitless exercise. It is important that the money is spent wisely in giving the schools the necessary teaching tools, and basic facilities like toilets at existing schools many of which are thoroughly neglected. It appears that common sense evaluation does not take place in this proposition. All the factors of keeping a school open must be looked into along with population, age statistics also, the forthcoming census will give further accurate information for this evaluation.

Current thinking is devoid of a master plan, meant to address all problems, but is a collection of decisions, based on gut reactions at the cost of wasted opportunities.


Anonymous said...

It is not too late to put a lot of emphasis on teacher education, to get more teachers into the carder. The problem still is that the best teachers will join the private sector after gaining the training in govt colleges at minimal cost.

The answer would be to limit giving their certificates until they have done at least 5 years service in underserved areas to ensure some resource allocation to where it is desperately needed.

However they MUST be remunerated adequately to be motivated. The funds will come somehow if the will is there to really improve academic and life skills.

Anonymous said...

There is only one missing link in the Education system in Sri Lanka. It also applies to the Private sector too.

Children have little if no problem solving skills. If we can only have a real curriculum based only on that it will improve their brain function and turn them into geniuses. Until that happens they will just be mutts.

There are a few parents who realize the importance of this and engage their children in discussions and getting them to act and think of different scenarios, so they get a rounded picture of every event.

It is also good to pick a topic and ask them to argue for it and against it, so they will think about both sides, and it helps to reason why the chosen side is better.

Actually schools are redundant in this day and age, it is all about distant learning and being self taught.

Easting any more money on new schools is a crime. Just improve what you have at a thinking level. It will not cost a lot of money either.

Anonymous said...

That money is not wasted. The majority will go to Ministers pocket and his henchmen's.

I recently took up a job in Sri Lanka in the education sector giving up my job in England. Was planning to bring down my family as well. Now I have my doubts! Mainly because the 'education' for my children. They are going to best schools in England and are doing well. I feel like I am going to do a serious crime by bringing them back.

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