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Education News, November 2020

Posted on December 9, 2020  /  0 Comments

Policy Dialogues | Budget 2021 | Reopening of Schools | Grade 5 Scholarship and G.C.E. A/L Examinations Held | G.C.
Source: Daily Mirror <http://www.dailymirror.lk/front_page/Children-climb-on-to-60-feet-high-water-tank-for-online-education/238-200868> The above picture of students climbing a 60-foot water tank in order to access phone signal to engage in school classes highlights the difficulties that students across the country have faced over the past 9 months in engaging in distance education. As the year nears its end and plans for 2021 come underway, policy makers, government officials, educators and other relevant stakeholders need to consider the most viable, effective education-related solutions to ensure that no child is left behind. Although internet access is frequently hailed as the way forward (and it no doubt is an increasingly essential component of effective distance education) nation-wide internet coverage is not a solution that we can expect to be successfully implemented for the start of the new year.
To our knowledge, the non-state sector in higher education in Sri Lanka is largely undocumented. The only comprehensive survey available was carried out by the Education Forum Sri Lanka (EFSL) in 2012 in partnership with LIRNEAsia and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The information is reposted here in the public interest. The higher education landscape is captured as a directory  of Higher education opportunities in Sri Lanka containing a listing of all degree programs offered by alternative higher education institutions or institutions that are outside the purview of the University Grants Commission (UGC) mediated system of 14 public universities and affiliated Institutions. The alternative system consists of: 10 PUBLIC institutions which admit students on their own charging nominal to significant amounts as fees and offering 41 degree programs.
A dialogue reviewing the report was held on November 21, 2020, via Zoom LINKS Full Video: PD#9, 2 hours 30 minutes Documents: Summary PTF Report; Core Group Reports OVERVIEW: The education reform plan  of the Presidential Task Force is visionary and comprehensive,  but it does not address (1)  Strategies for effective implementation (2) Limitations such as political interference(3) Inefficiencies in administration, (4) Lack of empowerment of teachers, and the (5)  Reality of insufficient funding. A more strategic approach identifying a few pivotal strategies and how they can be implemented  is needed. EFSL will present a brief on such a strategic approach using the inputs from this dialogue. PRESENTATIONS School education – Dr. Tara De Mel, Education Forum Sri Lanka (EFSL) Tertiary Education including  higher education – Prof Arjuna Parakrama, University of Peradeniya – IT enabled education – Ms.
Held on October 17, 2020, via Zoom VIDEO Link PRESENTATIONS Assessments in Primary Education  with a focus on  the Grade five Scholarship Examination in Sri Lanka Ms. Sanuja Goonetilleke and Dr. Sujata Gamage, Education Forum Sri Lanka (EFSL) Review Panel Professor Angela Little, Professor Emerita at UCL Institute of Education, UK Dr. Longkai Wu, Research Scientist at the National Institute of Education, Singapore (Presentation) Mr. Muthu Sivagnanam, Former Director of Primary Education, Ministry of Education, Sri Lanka Moderator Dr.
Held on September 19, 2020, via Zoom VIDEO: Click here PRESENTATIONS Introduction – Dr. Tara de Mel Master Plan for ICT in Education -  Prof. Kapila Perera, Secretary, Ministry of Education and former Vice Chancellor, University of Moratuwa Digital Infrastructure – Mr. Indika de Zoysa, Vice President, Enterprise Business Group, Huawei Technologies Lanka Integrating ICT into Education – Mr. Hasitha Dela, CEO, Headstart Response & Comments – Dr.
Click here for the video. Prof. Veranja Karunarathna, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Peradeniya and Vice Chancellor of Slintec Academy, noted in his presentation that there has been a definite reduction in quality of graduate education over the years due to many factors, but showed that Sri Lanka does produce a high number of academic papers by graduate students and researchers per dollar invested in comparison to many countries. He also spoke on the negative impact of irregular appointments and promotions within universities; and the need for the appointment of Vice Chancellors to be on a merit-based system. The small number of PhDs conferred by Sri Lankan universities and the corresponding low amount of research was also a matter of concern in the global reputation of Sri Lankan universities.
Click here for video. Mr. Niresh Eliatamby of Cogitaro provided a description of the global university rankings system and its important role in the reputation of universities and countries, including the opportunities for universities to generate their own revenue rather than depend on state funding. Emphasis was placed on the dramatic rise of Asian universities into the top 100 of global rankings over the last decade, with the advancement of each university displayed. Dr.
Click here for video. Mr. Anura Dissanayake, former secretary for higher education, provided insights into the challenges of funding and management of Sri Lanka’s university system and gave a key point of discussion for the forum by describing the Government’s plans for the setting up of an International University Zone in Horana, where up to 10 international universities would be encouraged to commence franchise operations to serve foreign university student in the South Asian region, with specific reference to the increased market demand from Bangladeshi students. He also spoke on plans to establish ten more universities in various provinces in order to reach a wider swathe of the population.
Prof. Bal Chandra Luitel, School of Education, Kathmandu University (Translated from Nepalese by Bineeta Baral) Lock-down has changed every day life’s activity not only mine but everyone else.  If I have to talk about me, I used to reach the University around 11 am and stayed there until 6 pm and during evening classes until 8:30 pm.  I have now shifted my evening classes to the day time. They no go on from 3 pm to 5 pm.