and Myanmar in the
map are not members
System Fails Children
country is considered home to several great religions, which discourage
mindless quest and contest.
teach us that we can derive happiness not by trying to have what we want
but by trying to want what we have. But, our collective psyche is
characterised by the very obverse of these teachings if our lemming-like
rush or the clichéd rat race is any indication.
of Education Bandula Gunawardena said the other day that parents and
politicians had robbed our children of their childhood. One could not
agree with him more! We have invented a mechanism with which to
fast-forward children's lives wickedly skipping their innocent
childhood. And it is called school education, which is focused only on
examinations, where children are tested not for what they know but for
what they do not know. We seem to have duped ourselves into believing
that the bulkier the schoolbag gets, the better educated a child
school system has manifestly failed and its failure has given rise to the
mushrooming of private tuition centres usually run by government teachers
themselves. A few days ago, we had a school principal boasting on TV of the
outstanding performance of several of his students at the last GCE (A/L)
examination. Not a single word did he mention about the private tutors who had
taught and coached those successful children. He tried to grab the credit but
he could fool none because it is known to one and all in this country that a
school hardly prepares students for the GCE (A/L) examination. We would see
the popular schools for what they really are if private tuition were banned.
In most schools, attendance is woefully low in the A/L classes as children
prefer private tuition to wasting time in school.
As Minister Gunawardena has rightly said parents are also responsible for
having reduced children to robots programmed to study and compete. Children
have no time to commune with nature. Examinations prevent them from watching
flowers, butterflies and rainbows; parents drag them from school to private
tuition classes. The race begins the moment a child enters school.
All this parents do, no doubt, for the love of their children whom they want
to succeed in life. Torturing his or her precious child is not any parent's
intent. But, sadly it is torture that the child happens to undergo in the name
of education in this country where everything is topsy-turvy. They are in the
same predicament as horses that run because others want them to.
The GCE (O/L) examination (2010) began yesterday. Each and every child who
sits it is under undue pressure from his or her parents, teachers and well
wishers to obtain nothing less than distinctions for all nine subjects.
Children need to be encouraged to raise the bar for themselves and helped to
achieve their goals but the question is how many of them are told that life is
still worth living even if they fail to live up to others' expectations as
regards examination results. Life is full of fallback positions and children
must be helped to make use of them. That way, we may be able to battle the
growing incidence of drug addiction, alcoholism, juvenile suicide etc.
Now that epiphany has finally occurred, Minister Gunawardena, a popular
teacher turned politician, ought to figure out what has gone wrong with our
education system and find remedies. There are many experts among us on
education and they will tell him what it is.
What we usually do by way of education reforms is to paper over the cracks or
effect ad hoc changes for political reasons. It looks as if the need for
another 'lessons learnt' commission were strongly felt in the field of
education, where many a lesson has gone unlearnt.
The government is talking of the formulation of a national policy on
education. This we have heard of for many years and the new policies
introduced under different political dispensations have been anything but
The onus is on Minister Gunawardena to make a difference and enable children
to enjoy their childhood while receiving a decent education sans torture.
declares to expedite release of former LTTE cadres following rehabilitation: The
Sri Lankan Government declared that steps would be taken to expedite the
release of detained cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
after their rehabilitation. Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Minister
Chandrasiri Gajadeera said that the Government was considering necessary
measures to release the remaining LTTE detainees at the earliest. The Minister
added that 7000 former LTTE cadres have already been released after being
Page, December 26, 2010.
Sri Lanka scraps Tamil
version of its national anthem: Sri Lanka has scrapped the Tamil version
of its national anthem at official and state functions, a move likely to
further alienate the ethnic Tamils in the country. Now the national
anthem--'Sri Lanka matha....' can only be rendered in the majority Sinhala
language at official functions, the Sri Lankan cabinet decided. The move will
mean that the current Tamil version will no longer be played at any official
or state functions. The decision was taken at the last cabinet meeting headed
by the President Mahinda Rajapakse, who pointed out that no country in the
world uses the national anthem in other than one language, Sunday Times
reported on December 12. Times
of India, December 12, 2010.
Prime Minister D.M.
Jayaratne accuses LTTE of executing prisoners of war: The Sri Lankan
Government on December 8 said that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
had executed Sri Lankan Security Forces personnel imprisoned by them during
the final stages of the war in 2009. Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne told the
Parliament that several hardcore LTTE cadres who were arrested from the
Vavuniya welfare camps had revealed that 60 soldiers who were in LTTE custody
were executed by them during the finals stages of the war. Colombo
Page, December 9, 2010.
Asia Intelligent Review]