Forty nine per cent of students who sat for the GCE O/L examination last year had failed in mathematics, well informed sources told The Island.
Sources said that 145,140 and 163,725 candidates (55 %) had failed to obtain at least a simple pass in mathematics and Science, respectively. Sources said that about 56,000 had failed Sinhala, while 203,845 (69%) had failed to obtain a simple pass in English.
According to the Examination Department, 295,000 sat the examination conducted last December.
Sources said that Examinations Chief Anura Edirisinghe had briefed a top level conference chaired by Education Secretary Nimal Bandara of the deteriorating standards of the GCE O/L examination. The World Bank, too, had been represented at the meeting.
Sources said that World Bank representatives had emphasized the importance of being focused on imparting knowledge at schools. They had also pointed out that growing dependence on private tuition classes had contributed to the deterioration of standards in schools.
Edirisinghe declined to comment as results hadn’t been released officially.
A senior Education Ministry official told The Island that when compared with the previous year’s GCE O/L results, there had been a significant drop in standards. According to him, the number of students sitting for science and mathematics for the Advanced Level examination would definitely go down this year.
The Island learns that the government had directed the Examination Department not to release results before the recently concluded elections to the WPC as it feared the Opposition would have exploited the issues.