It is a complete myth to think that those receiving an education from a State System are treated fairly. Most certainly not!
I am familiar with the US, UK and Sri Lankan systems and I see that they are ALL similar in that the quality of the education that your child receives from a State, and therefore free primary and secondary education, differs depending on where you live.
Surprise surprise that when you live in an affluent area, the education system also is MUCH better! Whether you take Royal College in exclusive Cinnamon Gardens, or Beverly Hills High in exclusive Beverly Hills, or Holland Park Comprehensive in exclusive Holland Park in these three countries, the education quality is much higher than in deprived neighborhoods.
It is therefore no wonder that the new British Prime Minister wants to further the grammar school system, that attracts excellence as a counter to some of the failings of the state system, under opposition from those who favor state systems on the mistaken notion that they give all children the equal right to quality education.
Having now understood that fact, and the fact that when people, buy or build they look at the quality of the schools within that area, and therefore bid up the land values of homes, in areas where the education system is best, it is a NO BRAINER that lower income people are priced out of those areas.
I know the US had a system of busing children from poor districts to other districts to counter this, and failed for the most part, as there was opposition from the hosts, when the quality of the education sank. So how do you solve this problem.
I say very simple! Today’s technology means that the child can have the same if not similar education no matter where they live, IN THE WORLD. Here in Ratmale I can have a student who has never left the village, have more knowledge and be more versatile that anyone in Oxford, as they have access to the same information via the Internet.
It is the internet that is the GREATEST LEVELER IN HISTORY. So all that is needed is some good teachers sent our way to get the most of the innate intelligence of the locals here, and spark their natural curiosity. So I say determine rural areas that perform poorly. Then double the salary one pays the teachers in those areas. Then you will attract the best teacher to these areas, where they are MORE likely to even move home on a semi permanent basis if their tenure is at least 10 years. Immediately the quality of the local schools will improve, and then perhaps people will also want o move here! GOD FORBID an influx of migrants to unsettle my peace and quiet here!
In this way, WE DO NOT NEED ANY SORT OF DISTRICT BASED POSTIVE DISCRIMINATION using the Z score that gives rural disadvantaged children a better chance to get into the University system. A fairer system will prevail, where NO ONE gets preference. ALL Students are judged on the SAME merit and so one cannot say he got into medical college with three Cs when from Colombo four As was still not sufficient to get the Z score from that district to enter Medical College.
In the long term the rush to places will stop, and the property prices will also be more sensible, and NOT out of proportion to reality as it now is depending on the quality of the school district you belong to.
Make no mistake this is a UNIVERSAL problem NOT peculiar to Sri Lanka. Once that is understood, what we MUST do is to give students anywhere in the Island a truly equal stab at the top, and when we find that technology and teachers are the difference then we fill the deficit and carry on.
We will then have NO NEED TO BUS KIDS TO COLOMBO. Those schools on kill students at a young age, as they have breathe increasing pollutants on their 4 hour commute to school, and take away their childhood. Parents will not have to torture their children into a false sense of priorities and instead prioritize the quality of life for their children over stupid pass rates.
There is ONLY one other area to overcome which is the OLD ROYALIST complex that people feel is a passport to the top, as a disproportionate number of top professionals and politicians come from Royal. That can be neutralized in time, as more people from the global workforce are recruited no matter where one schooled, merely on experience and ability. This too will NOT be an issue, and the preferred location in Sri Lanka may turn out to be Polonnaruwa! You never know. We can use teachers as the catalyst for social transformation!