• Sri Lanka can achieve its dream of transforming into a dynamic hub if we upgrade our education system from scratch

    Sri Lanka today has one of the best public, private and international schools in Asia. While our students top the ranks globally, we, as lawmakers need to do much more to ensure that our children are given the best education so that they can face the challenges of the 21st century.

    Sri Lanka, today mostly follows an education system which was introduced by the British several years ago. Over the years, while successive governments have made a few changes to upgrade this system, much more needs to be done today to ensure that our students are able to face the global challenges.

    Sri Lanka also boasts of a free education system which has benefited hundreds of thousands of students, whether it be in the primary, secondary or tertiary sector. But it is high time we introduce education reforms which will match global demands. For years our students have been taught the same subjects etc, but as many other countries, steps have to be taken to introduce new subjects, new faculties, new methods etc so that we can produce professionals who will one day contribute towards our per capita income.

    Today, a lot has to be done in Sri Lanka. We boast of having an ideal geographic location in the Indian Ocean and are aiming to be a trading, IT, financial hub. But in order to ensure that we can reach this aim, it has to start with the country being able to produce the necessary professionals to work to lead the country towards this path. If we as lawmakers, are making statements that we have the capability of emerging as a dynamic nation, then we have to start with upgrading our education system so that we can produce such professionals. And that change needs to be done from the basic primary education. It is baseless speaking of producing a dynamic, emerging and developing nation if we are expecting the expertise to arrive from outside the country, when our students have the talent, capability and professionalism to contribute towards strengthening our motherland.

    Just look outside this country, some of the leading doctors, engineers, CEOs etc working for overseas firms are Sri Lankans who have graduated from some of the leading universities in the world.

    Today, while our schools are doing a wonderful job, we as lawmakers have to a great extent failed our students. Before 2015, Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa had a strong vision in upgrading Sri Lanka’s education system according to global standards, and had introduced the technology syllabus in hundreds of schools across the country for the GCE A/Level curriculum. His vision to strengthen the education system continues but with a weak UNP government in place, not much can be done or expected. After all, for four years we have seen no reforms in our education system, and neither have we seen any development in this sector.

    For state, private or international schools and colleges/universities to upgrade, steps must also be taken to bring in infrastructural development. Students must be provided the latest facilities which will make them compete with global students from other schools and universities. Right now we have many colleges, but we need to hold discussions with these higher education colleges to provide better facilities, better campuses for the students. We also need to have more public, private partnerships so that more leading universities can open their campuses in Sri Lanka and our students can have a wider range of subjects in order to follow their respective careers.

    In conclusion, I would also like to raise a very strong point which has been a subject of debate in recent days. There must be no discrimination between local and international school students who wish to sit for the national exams. If there are any objections etc, they should be addressed appropriately without disrupting any child’s achievements.

    After all ensuring that a child receives an education is every child’s right. But Sri Lanka now has to ensure that our children receive the best education without any compromise which will not lead them away from this country. We need to produce professionals who will contribute back to our per capita income. It is only then Sri Lanka can be labelled as a dynamic nation.

    Our children are our future.

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