Thursday, April 26, 2012

Education – Bandula – who says O level pass rates will rise to 80% by 2016?

The Education Minister in a statement yesterday stated that the pass rate from O levels will increase from 40% in 2001 to 80% in 2016. To the uninitiated this sounds like a wonderful goal. To a realist they can see right through mischievous words of a disingenuous politician, trying to get credit for something he has not done. Remember it is easy for the Education Department to lower the standards and raise the pass rates. So playing a numbers game with the real issue of educating our future (generation) is a challenge that MUST be faced without artful semantics meant to confuse, and obfuscate the listener.

I refer again to the hugely important task of focusing the Government’s attention to Education, with emphasis on Primary Education especially so that these products can then graduate with a better foundation into the secondary streams with more tools at their disposal. The challenges are many, with a refocus on training good teachers. With regard to the latter point, yesterday’s papers stated that there were over 3000 recently graduated teachers from Teacher Training School who had yet to receive appointments to schools. Obviously there is a severe bureaucratic block in ensuring the smooth flow of duties and responsibilities in the Education Dept. reeling from the aftermath of the Z score fiasco.

I cannot emphasize enough the immediate need to agree on a policy of teaching, so that our future generations are better able to cope in an environment where they will have to bear greater burdens at an earlier stage and due to demographic shifts have to support those who are not in the workforce. This added strain will cause a breakdown of the social structure unless the individual is prepared to face these massive challenges.

It is clearer that education from primary is not just ABC but far more sophisticated in being able to live in a society that is more tolerant of others, learning to overcome and not fear, as fear begets hatred. Optimism in the future and not pessimism is the way to survive in this century and from my experience our youth are woefully short of these skills, looking to have their hands held in their twenties, not knowing what they want, how to get it, and how to manage what they get!

Let us improve our education not just by O level results, which is but just one criteria of achievement. Sport, leadership development, life skills are all part of this process, which is gradually instilled at the primary age. We CANNOT rely on parents today, due to their lack of understanding brought out by their parents who handed this over to schools which failed at the task.

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