One of the immediate effects of this was a rapid rise in educational participation. As Jayaweera notes, urban, rural and gender discrepancies declined unlike any other country in South Asia. Post independence Sri Lanka also saw a number of other changes. In , Sinhalese was made the official language giving it prominence over Tamil.
As Davies notes, this segregation promoted inter-ethnic enmity and mistrust. The Sinhalese majority government also passed a number of other educational policies at the direct expense of the ethnic minorities. The Act of made fluency of Sinhalese a requirement for all government jobs. This meant that migrant Sinhalese people occupied the government jobs of the majority Tamil areas. Furthermore, the government introduced quotas for university entrance that required Tamils to get much higher scores than the Sinhalese.
Adding to this problem, mistranslations from Sinhalese to Tamil in textbooks for example, made the physical infrastructure of Tamil schools much poorer compared to the Sinhalese schools Stewart, Barron, Brown and Hartwell The national schooling system thus contributed to the creation and perpetuation of conflict.
In Sri Lanka, most of the political leaders soon after independence were those that were educated in private English schools. However, affiliations with the English language were seen as unpatriotic and at odds with the emerging sense of nationalism. Thus, English was subdued and the shift to education in the national languages took place. For those that grew up within the free national education system, private schools continued to be a reminder of colonial power and a driving force for social stratification.
In therefore, the government of Ceylon decided to ban the establishment of any new private schools under a special act. Existing private schools were given the option of abolishing fees and receiving state grants to become semi-government or continue to remain as unaided fee levying schools. The Sri Lankan education system is thus a unique case where the private sector is discouraged from financing and delivering education. There are legal restrictions concerning the establishment of private schools and government reluctance to accredit private universities.
This has weakened the flow of resources in Sri Lanka when even former communist countries such as Russia and China have thriving and expanding private education sectors today Aturupane Hence Sri Lanka has about national schools in the government sector and only 78 private schools Ministry of Education By the s, youth educated in the vernacular languages were still not able to reap the benefits of free education, as jobs required a high standard of English proficiency.
English, referred to as 'kaduwa' the sword needed to be overthrown. These sentiments stemmed from a notion of inequity and elitist views associated with private schools. Thus there was a rise of insurrections by the JVP a leftist group in and Any attempts to improve the quality of English education or the setting up of private education institutions were viewed as reforms that challenged the status quo of post independence Sri Lanka.
These issues were politically very volatile and as Wickramanayake note, had a strong element of inhibition. Progressive change therefore was met with opposition influenced by past colonial sentiments. The government schools are further categorized into national schools and provincial schools. The Ministry of Education is directly responsible for the administration of the national schools.
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The provincial council department of education supervises the provincial schools. The Sri Lankan schooling structure is a year program where Years constitutes of Primary Education while years include Secondary Education. Education is compulsory for all students aged and hence the schooling years 1- 9 are considered mandatory. At this stage the class teacher promotes English via conversational and situational approaches. In Years also known as the junior secondary level , the curriculum is organized on a subject basis where in addition to mother tongue teaching, a second national language Sinhalese or Tamil and English is included.
The next two years focus on the GCE Ordinary Levels for which students take 8- 10 subjects and the final two years focus on the Advanced Levels for which the students select three subjects from the streams science, commerce and arts. In addition, students are also required to sit for a common general paper and a paper in General English. In addition to the general path, it is also possible for students to follow a vocational path after Year 9. Amarasinghe and Ratnayake note that attempting to provide free education to an entire nation has come at the cost of poor quality.
However Amarasinghe and Ratnayake also observe that the government expenditure has been on recurrent expenditure rather than capital accumulation. The majority of investment is on textbooks, teacher salaries, uniforms and scholarships while little is spent on building new infrastructure or putting in quality inputs such as equipment, technology or furniture.
Moreover, not all schools however are of a similar standard. Schools from the major cities such as Colombo, Kandy and Galle are generally of a higher standard with better infrastructure. There are regional variations in cognitive achievements with the more affluent schools from the Western Province having the highest achievement levels. Small schools do not have the same facilities as some of the well-known urban schools. Thus there is an increased demand for popular prestigious urban schools.
Parents force residency details in order to gain access to these popular national or central schools despite government restriction. This has meant that most urban schools are overcrowded Amarasinghe and Ratnayake As Hettige note, the ban on private education did not necessarily lead to equalization but reinforced the importance of privileged urban schools. In Sri Lanka, English continues to be the path for upward mobility.
The expanding corporate sector for example use English as their language of business and hence employ English educated youth. Not only is there an apparent lack of English teaching in the island, but the field of Information and Communication Technology ICT is also criticized for being rather poor. Furthermore, the curriculum is criticized for not being par with modern day needs and the lack of teachers and teacher absenteeism are adding to the problem of quality.
In Sri Lanka, teaching is one of the lowest paid sectors of government employment. This coupled with the availability of 40 days personal leave annually for teachers in addition to their normal school vacations and public holidays raises several red flags about the quality of the national schooling system.
For Hayden and Thompson , international schools were those schools that catered for the children of foreign diplomats and expatriates that were based temporarily in major global cities. Consequently, international schools were places that celebrated the diversity.
World Yearbook of Education 1991: International Schools and International Education
Both national and international schools alike can provide an international education but what sets international schools apart is the presence of a more culturally varied student population that allows for greater interaction between different groups. However all schools have imagined communities that they wish to envision for their students Bagnall and Cassity When schools foster intercultural tolerance, it is likely to manifest in society at large as well.
In an attempt to define international schools, Terwilliger came up with four prerequisites for a school to be defined as international. He notes that not only should a school have a certain percentage of foreign students, but the administration board should also comprise and deal with a local and foreign blend. Furthermore, teachers should have experience with cultural adaptation and the curriculum should be one that enables university entrance to other parts of the world.
In Sri Lanka, Punchi points out that with globalization and the implementation of trade liberalization in , English nevertheless became a vital tool for participation in the greater neo- liberal economic sphere. Thus, in recent times, a new set of co-educational most of the time , fee- levying private schools that teach foreign curriculums and more recently the Sri Lankan Curriculum in the English Language have emerged to be known as International Schools.
They have diverse modes of instruction, fee structures, curriculums and standards. However one thing that all Sri Lankan International Schools share in common is that their medium of instruction is English. Sri Lankan International Schools hence are primarily a language driven response to education with a secondary finance driven element that is a response to increasing competitiveness. International schools are attractive due to the gateways that English medium educations open to their students.
International students have an ability to speak English, which holds much prestige. Those who attend international schools are more likely to get better-paid jobs. However, it is a luxury that only a privileged minority can afford. While the establishment of private schools is banned in Sri Lanka since , international schools operate under a loophole in the system. Initially, International schools were established under the Board of Investment BOI , which is an administrative body that accepts and manages foreign investment.
Lately, they are set up under the Companies Act and operate as private businesses. This has meant that International Schools are not regulated by the Ministry of Education and therefore show vast diversity in quality. However the popularity of International Schools reflect the demand that is present for English education. One of the functions of these schools is to downplay ethnic differences by welcoming students from all backgrounds. However, by imposing very high fees, these schools accentuate class-based discrimination.
The average term fees of vary from Rs. Class, in this instance, can be purchased if one possesses enough capital Jayawardena Thus international schools cut across the traditional schooling system by producing socially constructed knowledge of what it means to be classy. They are criticized of creating a new kind of privilege. However, a vital point to note is that the majority of students that attend Sri Lankan International Schools are locals.
The International School in Colombo, at first glance was a high rise complex which seemed to expand vertically with little space for children to play.
Global Rise of Education - Our World in Data
Located in the heart of Colombo, this was the main branch of several schools which were owned by the same entrepreneur who is the founder of a leading private tertiary education provider in the country. Facilities included the availability of numerous extra-curricular activities and the provision of transport to a modern sporting complex built away from the urban metropolis where the students had access to tennis and basketball courts as well as a swimming pool.
The case study in Kandy was a branch of a chain of well-known international schools in Sri Lanka. This school was owned by a group that was reputed in Sri Lanka for providing not just International School education but ICT schools, language schools and teacher training institutions. The school provided a British curriculum in English medium. Apart from all basic facilities such as numerous extra-curricular activities, ICT labs and transport provision to swimming pools elsewhere, the school also took senior students annually to the Universities of Hong Kong and Canterbury, New Zealand for them to get a taste of foreign university education.
The School in Matara was relatively smaller. It was again a branch of another chain of International Schools. The Matara Branch was initially a converted old manor house. The bedrooms were converted to offices and classrooms. Upon further expansion, the back garden was converted into two high rise modern buildings that currently hold most of the classes. This school provided the British curriculum once again in English medium.
The fourth case study was a Christian International School built soon after the Indian Ocean tsunami as a relief school for those displaced with the help of German Aid. Compared to the rest of the schools, this internationally school charged lesser fees and provided scholarships to students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Jaffna was in the centre of the year civil war that plagued the island and as a result has experienced massive depopulation; particularly of the Sinhalese.
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Thus the majority of students at this school were Tamils. Since the school had affiliations with the church, there were several foreign Christian volunteer teachers who were teaching there short term.
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The school provided both the Sri Lankan curriculum as well as the Cambridge curriculum in English medium. School or in this case company owners are required to pay taxes which in turn bring income to the nation. In addition, the comparatively superior level of English of the international school student means that they have a greater chance of gaining employment in the private sector where English proficiency is a must.
Fluency in English opens many doors to the international school student. Another argument is that when those who could afford international school education shift to this education system, it takes pressure off the existing national education system. The state has the possibility to improve the quality of education as overcrowding and intense competition for entry to national schools reduce.
As the interview with the secretary for education revealed, it is in the best interest of the state to produce Sri Lankan children who are both grounded locally yet able to portray their talents in the international arena. Most students who attend Sri Lankan International students tend to go abroad for their higher studies. This is a major cause of concern for the country as it indicates brain drain as human capital is lost in the hands of global competition. However, by the same token, foreign revenue received from those who currently live abroad is benefitting the Sri Lankan economy.
The international school student is fluent in English, familiar with actively engaging with students from different religious and ethnic backgrounds, exposed to a global culture and hence described as emitting a sense of confidence that makes them stand out and at the same time fit in anywhere. As Edise and Sichel describe, this raises certain issues about the identity and belongingness of the international school student.
The research revealed that international school students were both the perpetrators and victims of social stereotyping. Since international schools charge much higher fees than the existing private schools or the free national schools, international school students were perceived as rich students. Anecdotes about students who requested the teachers to braid their hair or clean up after them were hence brought to light. At this time, bill co-ordinated a major project for the Australian Department of Industry on the impact of new technologies on publishing, Creator to Consumer in a Digital Age , and became involved in research and development work on semantic technologies, including the development of Common Ground Markup Language and a patent addressing aspects of the creation and location of digital texts.
Just what should the Council be advocating as an imaginative yet workable future for education? What should it be asking of Governments? The Deans tried to answer this question in a Charter which outlined an agenda for New Learning. This led us into a more widely encompassing reconsideration of the nature and role of education in a dramatically changing society. In the early s we returned to the down-to-earth world of classrooms and curriculum where we had begun several decades before, bringing together our longstanding concerns about learner diversity and pedagogy, and add to these our more recent insights into the new, digital media.
These are new times, and a new generation will not necessarily respond well to the balance of agency that existed in earlier classrooms and families between teacher and learner, and adult and child. In , moved to the United States, and at an interestingly uncertain moment in the history of education. The excesses and failures of this swing are now coming to light. This has translated into a series of publications, listed below, and also the development of an online masters degree in New Learning and New Literacies. Although our focus has moved to the use of technologies in learning, our work remains steadfastly about people.
The new technologies are cheap and lightweight, and within the reach of every learner via one kind of device or another. They are technologies of self-creation as much as they are technologies of content reception. They present opportunities for the creation of learning communities which energise knowledge communities by supporting lateral, peer relationships of co-creation and learning. The technologies themselves are not the point. It is the social affordances of these technologies that interest us. They are also becoming cheap and accessible enough for every learner.
We have an opportunity here to transform the social dynamics of learning and the outcomes for all learners. Cope, Bill and Angus Phillips eds. Cope, Bill. In , we began research into academic knowledge systems. Scholarly publishing is in a state crisis, and at the same time on the brink of potentially transformative change. For us, the central question for research into academic publishing is that of the immediate past and future shape of our knowledge design processes. Our research analyses the impact upon academic publishing of disruptive changes in our technological, economic, distributional, geographic, interdisciplinary and social relations to knowledge.
This investigatory and theoretical work is complemented by the practical interventions of Common Ground Publishing. Since coming to the United States, we have been fortunate to receive a cluster of large grants from the Institute of Educational Sciences in the US Department of Education.
These were awarded to design and text a new writing environment that used social networking and cloud computing technologies.
Professor, Sociology of Education, University of Bristol
We have been fortunate to find ourselves in an environment so well suited to this work. In this rich intellectual context, we have brought together cross-disciplinary teams of literacy experts, psychometricians and computer scientists to build and test a student working and assessment environment, Scholar. Here is our vision for this work: imagine having a learning information environment which provides learners, parents, teachers and the public with all they need to know about student progress without having to have end-of-program tests.
In this social web working environment, students can create written texts, as well as embed images, sound and video. Students work both individually and collaboratively, representing online various kinds of complex knowledge performance—such as scientific report writing or persuasive writing in language arts. In this research and development work, we use cutting edge natural language processing technologies and psychometric mechanisms to provide on-the-fly feedback to learners.
Eventually, it will track and measure individual student progress over time and individual student performance in relation to cohorts the class, students of the same demographic profile, and so on. Social web technologies such as these allow the relationships of learning that have been initiated in the classroom to continue beyond the walls of the classroom and the timeframes of the school timetable. In these projects, we are developing multimodal working environments for learners. They support the capture of text, image, tables, diagram, video and audio, thus allowing the construction of a wide range of multimodal texts such as scientific reports, history essays and social studies projects.
Our aim in these projects is to reconfigure traditional curriculum design and instructional roles, no less. If we even make small progress in that direction, we will consider that a significant achievement. We finished school, went on to university and became academics. We consider education not only to have been a privilege.