Thursday, October 25, 2012

The use of percentages, who pass as a measure of improvement to the quality of education in Sri Lanka, is misleading.

Sri Lanka’s infamously uneducated Education Minister Bandula Gunewardena is at it again, to point out that the 60% pass rate for the GCE O level exams last time, as compared with the pass rate of 25% in 1994 (as reported in the Daily Mirror, page 3 of October 25th 2012) is a reflection of his success.  The depths to which his logic has sunk! He hopes this to rise to 80% in 2016. One presupposes that the standards remain the same throughout, especially as the government has in its powers, through the Examinations Department under its direct control, to make the exam more difficult or easy and therefore fudge all the figures so put out. The lack of independence and transparency is a reason for the need for separation from interference of Government from the workings of the economy. We assume of course that the facts he has given us are in fact accurate and not figments of his most fertile mind!!

We do not want to kid anyone about the state of education. We simply want to create educated workers for the future in the required skills for that time. It is how we achieve this that MUST be debated, without patting himself in the back, that he is doing a good job. If he really thinks so “May God help our resplendent land”.

We must not sit with a false sense of security and reality as it pertains to the paucity of skills of our workforce. We do not understand what the word educated means at all. Learning by rote and regurgitating some statements does not make a person educated. That person must simply be taught how to think, to reason, and to evaluate from given options, an answer that is most likely to be right, using most of all COMMON SENSE. I realize that a politician such as the Education Minister wishes to fool the reader and the people with pontification. The people must first be educated enough to realize the con in the statement and act accordingly smirking at the lies they hear instead of reporting the information as fact.

The lack of proper analysis of the utterances in the newspapers today, further exacerbates the crying need for rational thinking and decision making. The need for a National Education Policy with checks and balances along with a method of measuring performance very different from the Minister’s idea of pass marks is needed to measure the success of policy ideals that are implemented in a thorough education policy.

In conclusion, the Vision and Mission statements should be clear and a path, well documented for others to follow to achieve these objectives is needed. Further evaluation and reconfiguring policy to suit changing needs makes it a dynamic proposal that is sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of future expectations.

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