Learning Lessons

June 25, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has lost the lead it once had in education, slowing the progress of the country, education specialists have warned. A telling sign of the times is that a large number of recently recruited teachers are being trained on the job with students as guinea pigs.

While university graduates have been appointed teachers even earlier, they were usually appointed to teach older children.

Critics have claimed that the failure to maintain high teaching standards and modernize the curriculum has resulted in appalling pass rates among high school students.

It has also led to successive crops of unemployable graduates, who are shunned by a thriving corporate sector which has many vacancies and face serious skills shortages.

Senior educationalist Thilokasundari Kariyawasam, a former director of teachers training at the National Institute of Education, points out that teaching methods have not been modernized.

“The latest techniques and learning methods should be introduced,” she said in an interview.

A teacher should be able to identify the competency and potential of children and allow them to develop