Great Expectations

May 27, 2010 (LBO) – Education is an issue which many of us think we know how to fix, but, nobody is giving us the reigns. Lucky Minister Bandula Gunawardna the education ministry has fallen on his lap. Unlucky Minister BG – expectations about the ministry are high but there is no way that they can all be met.

Ranil Wickremasinghe’s presented an education white bill in 1981 and a report of the Presidential task force on education was issued in 1997 during President Kumaratunge’s term but neither led to a national policy. In 2003, the National Education Commission came up with National policy framework for education, a 250 page volume published in all three languages, but that framework too did not lead to a national policy, let alone receive acceptance by the then president Rajapakse. In 2008 a committee chaired by Dr. GB Gunawardena was entrusted with the development of a national policy but their work seems to have fizzled out. In this context, the minster is dreaming if he thinks a parliamentary committee can come up with a national policy.

There is one pivotal reform idea that runs through all proposed reform and it is the rationalization of schools as primary and secondary schools. Currently in Sri Lanka we have a strange typology of schools as Type A (Up to Grade 13 with science stream), Type B