Abolition of Vth STD Scholarship Examination A layman’s point of view
Posted on December 31st, 2013

Dr Sudath Gunasekara (SLAS) former Ministry Secretary (Also Secretary Ministry of Technical Education) and President Mahanuwara Senior Citizens Movement

1.1.2014.

Abolition of Vth STD Scholarship Examination is a crime against 80 % of the population in this country and it is a conspiracy to confine higher education to families of politicians and the affluent.

I am not a Vth STD scholar; but still remains as a proud product of the Central School system. As a direct beneficiary of that system I see the decision to abolish the Vth STD scholarship examination as a political conspiracy hatched by lackey officials and urban affluent to close the gates of higher education to the underprivileged and the rural masses that constitutes over 80 % of the population in this country. If this decision is implemented higher education will remain a privy of the politicians, their lackeys and the rich only. It will shut the door to higher education for all those who cannot afford to pay for it.  To that extent it is undemocratic antisocial. As such it also kills the spirit of free education mooted by the father of free education. It is also a blatant violation of social justice and makes the best schools and higher education a privilage of the families of politicians and the affluent. This decision therefore is ill-conceived, irrational, and illogical and more over undemocratic and unrealistic in this age of the common man. Therefore I would describe the present decision as a mere political gimmick to cover the incompetence and inability of those powerful sectors in charge of education in his country to overcome the present mess in education.

Before deciding to abolish the Vth STD test first, one must understand why such examination was proposed by the Kannagara Commission and how much it has done to fulfill social justice and to human resource development in this country. This policy was decided after years of deliberation and consultation by eminent educationists for 3 years (1940-1943), both here and abroad, who’s one and only concern was the good of the entire society and the country at large within a framework of equality of educational opportunities to everyone, unlike the present day self centered power hungry selfish politicians. Educational and intellectual giants and visionaries like Prof Malalasekara, S.A. Pakeman, P.D .S. Kularatna and L.H.Mettananda C.W.W. Kannangara and Sir Ivor Jennings were the kingpins of this system. They not only incorporated the highest concepts on education both here and abroad but also the

Why the Vth STD test has today become a problem is not a fault of the system but the inability on the part of policy makers to understand the basic objectives behind it. Had the Kannagara system been properly understood and implemented with timely modifications to suit the changing needs of the country, without killing its content and spirit, the present day mess would never has sprung up. But apart from fully implementing the Kannagara proposals timely adjustments were also never done. Instead what really happened over the years was a gradual and systematic curtailment and systematic adulteration of the Kannangara system by vested interests. Abolition of the 8th STD selective Test in 1954, the neglect of the Central Colleges, that was the linchpin of the Kannangara machinery, politicization of educational administration and allowing even students already attending big schools to sit this exam could be cited as big blunders committed by those responsible for the murder of that golden educational policy invented by those great patriots who once walked this land.

Primarily both the Vth STD and the V111th tests as I understand were proposed by the Kannangara Commission as a means of selecting students for higher education based on their intelligence, aptitude, ability and suitability to a particular course of study and thereby while helping the students to fuller attainment and harness their talents to the optimum for the betterment of the society. The V111th STD test was proposed by them to give a second chance to do so for those who fail to get selected at the Vth STD test.

Secondly the Vth STD test was also used to select the cream of the underprivileged student population in the country who cannot afford to spend for higher education. That is why such students were provided with free accommodation, uniforms and board at Government expense until they complete their University education.  Under that system it was proposed to have 5 primary schools within a radius of six miles and for each such cluster one Central School with all facilities such as hostels, labs, workshops, play grounds and above all qualified teachers headed by specially selected Principals. This was the magic wand that enabled thousand of village children to enter the Universities and pass out with distinction as Administrators (Civil Servants) Doctors, Engineers and Scientists, the fields so far had been a monopoly of big schools in cities like Ananda, Royal, Trinity, Dharmaraja High School and Mahamaya, Dharmasoka, Mahinda and Visaka. Only the affluent could enter these ‘Class’ schools. The contribution made to higher education in these fielda particularly in the 1950s, 60s and 70s and even much later is remarkable. Central Schools like Veyangoda Galahitiyawa,Piliyandala. Tissa, Telijjavila, Ruwanwella, Narammala. Nugwela and Anuradhapura rank pre-eminent in their performance. If you take a count of those who have benefitted from this system and held various positions both in the public and private sector and how much they have contributed to our society, you will see what wonders it has done.  Majority of these ‘diamonds’ and ‘Gems’ would have remained eternally buried under this good earth un-mined, uncut ad unpolished for ever without any use to the country, may be as tillers of the soil or coconut tree creepers or cowboys and coolies for want of opportunity, if not for the Kannangara innovations.

The decline in output and quality started with the neglect of the Kannagara system along with its apex educational ‘Taxilas’, the Central Colleges. This situation forced Vth STD scholars to run for other popular schools. Meanwhile instead of equipping Central Colleges with better staff and facilities to attract the Vth STD Scholars while neglecting them the Scholarship exam was used to select students to big schools by introducing a mechanism called a cutoff point. This is what led to the present fierce battle that tormented both the students and parents. Along with this development the quality of education in schools in the periphery also deteriorated. This situation gave birth to a new epidemic called tuition, unknown in our day, which has now grown in to a cancerous epidemic situation by leaps and bounds. So much so today after politics, drugs, casinos and medicine, tuition has come to stay as the most lucrative and rewarding money spinner for teachers and a chronic headache for both parents and students. At the same time the failure on the part of public schools to cater to the fast expanding horizons in the technological field and the demand for English in the job market that opened the doors for a new set of private Schools called International Schools. They are patronized only by the rich, newly rich and minorities. Since these schools are international in every respect today they produce a new generation completely divorced and alienated from everything that is local, the disastrous repercussions will be seen sooner or later.  It is unfortunate educational pundits and social policy makers have completely failed to see this imminent social disaster.

At present there are more than four Ministers of education in the centre and nine in the Provinces; thousands of educational bureaucrats with Directors of Education even at the Circuit level which were manned by circuit inspectors few years back; all grouping in the dark with their own private agendas. But there is hardly a day without a commotion somewhere on simple issues like admission to grade one, exam paper leaks or a teachers strike on some trifle matter. The Higher Education Minister is busy with ‘higher activities’ like military training for new university recruits, conferring military status to Principals of schools (to my knowledge the only country in the world having such practices) and establishing foreign Universities with tax exemptions to earn foreign exchange to whom I do not know.

These are the real issues, I think, the so-called Ministers of Education and others who are maintained by the public and put in charge of educational policy formulation, should address their minds before they jump to conclusion to abolish the Vth STD Scholarship examination, a goose that had been laying golden eggs. This is nothing but only ‘Atisarayata Ambuda gesiimaki’ as the popular Sinhala say goes, trying ‘to wear a loin cloth to stop diarrhoea’ without diagnosing and treating the real malady. Why can’t these pundits go back to the ‘One Central College with all facilities for each cluster of 5 Primary Schools within 6 mile radius policy? And have the Vth STD exame to select students for these Central Colleges only. This will also reduce the large numbers currently sitting the Scholarship Exam. I suggest the Minister first put the 54 Central colleges in to order by improving their facilities before trying to establish 1000 new Mahindodaya Schools. Surely that is much easier and cheaper too than starting 1000 new Schools. Those who still want to get in to other big schools can sit the entrance tests of those schools as it was done in the past. This is only a simple solution that could be adopted to get out of the present Vth STD Scholarship mess, without severing the neck of the goat to save the pot by abolishing the Vth STD Scholarship.

19 Responses to “Abolition of Vth STD Scholarship Examination A layman’s point of view”

  1. Nanda Says:

    Unfortunately I can’t help repeating huge corruption cartels existing central to each prestigious school. There are parent who are able and ready to pay more than a million rupees to admit their children to these “Supiri Schools”. Although this has been evolved over 20-30 years now, it is the responsibility of the countries’ leadership, especially when they have 2/3 majority power, to get rid of theses evil if they are honestly working for the people.
    Can any other commentator explain this please , without blaming the leadership ?
    How long should we tolerate these types of criminal corruption ?
    Clearly they are not ! They are a part of the scandal running this, if not the whole!
    As long as the current “political criminal cartel system” exist, things will go bad to worse. Maha Ranee seems to have lost all control by now.
    Preaching Bana all the time with zero action.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    Namal – St Thomas’
    Rohitha – St Thomas’
    Yoshitha – St Thomas’
    Manoj – St Thomas’, USA school
    Imalka – Bishops, USA school

    (ALL PRIVATE Anglican schools!! Namal puts his hand over Ven Medanantha’s shoulders like school friends. How can you blame him? His ANGLICAN education didn’t include Buddhism.)

    So will they care? No.

    Tamils are NOT affected by this except upcountry Tamils.

    Jaffna has enough good schools with HUGE capacity built in 1980s to 1.5 million people. Now Jaffna has only 600,000 people. So anyone can go to a good school.

    Colombo Tamils have Hindu, Vivekananda, Saiva Mangaiyar, etc., etc. EXCESS CAPACITY.

    NO Sinhalese NO Muslim can go to these schools but Tamils can go to ANY Sinhala school.

    The losers of this will be the Sinhalese, ONCE AGAIN, AS USUAL. (Otherwise Maha Ranee can NEVER do it!).

    Sinhalese can be fooled with jets, tanks, parades, etc. Even EDUCATED people get fooled by these antics. WHY?

    Where are the Maha Sangha? Are they also sleeping? Or are they also busy worshiping the new God Almighty?

  3. Nanda Says:

    Lorenzo,
    Jaffana will keep on cheating the education system stealing the places of bright Sinhala students.

    Lorenzo too is Anglican. But he loves his country.

    “Sinhalese can be fooled with jets, tanks, parades, etc. Even EDUCATED people get fooled by these antics. WHY?”

    You ask why ? because what can they do ? No choices exist. Have to hang on to the God. We can’t blame them.

    Where IS the Maha Sangha? They face the same problem of not having a choice.

  4. mjaya Says:

    Lorenzo,

    Who is Manoj? who is Imalka? Of course Namal, Yoshitha and Rohitha are obvious!

    Its not the Anglican education, its that they have been educated in an environment that is isolated from mainstream society. Look at the famous wh*r* An*lk*li. Look at M*l*k* S*lv*. Look at P*b*. They no of no other world other than the Colombo nightclub world.

    Lets not forget that D.S. was a Thomian, SWRD was a Thomian, Ven. Anagarika Dharmapala was a Thomian. All of them did great things……why? because they new the pulse of the people.

    JR was a Royalist, Ranil also from Royal, …….. they ruined the country but Royal is a gov. school.

    Grade 5 schol has had lot of detrimental effects (it puts kids through a lot of pain) but it enables a lot of underprivileged students to a better education. Another blow to the Sinhalese.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    Mjaya,

    GR’s son and BR’s daughter.

    I agree.

    The point is ONLY SINHALESE AVERAGE kids will be affected by this. I think that GRERO UNP MP crossed over for this. Now he can expand his LYCEUM school everywhere in the country.

    In another news, SL plans to legalize MARIJUANA!!

    What the hell is happening? There is a facebook page for this. Endians and Muslims are behind this.

    When put together kids who can’t afford international schools will end up at Marijuana Maththiya Maka Vithyalayum.

  6. mjaya Says:

    Lorenzo,

    ** In another news, SL plans to legalize MARIJUANA!! **

    Well it should have been expected.

    1. Casinos
    2. Prostitution (by the PIMPS in parliament)
    3. Marijuana (aka Ganja) – the largest Ganja producing areas in Sri Lanka? Embilipitiya, Suriyawewa, …… (close to the hometown of the “FAMILY”) also being a soft drug it is used by tourists.

    SRI LANKA is fast becoming the THITHATA MATHA BROTHEL for HIPPIES.

    I will tell a story I know (not a first hand account). that happened somewhere around 2006-2007. There was a famous Buddhist monk who was pious and dedicated for the betterment of society. His sermons were televised live on Rupavahini every Poya day. He had been traveling and stopped at the Thissamaharama rest house for Gilanpasa. On that day, he had noticed how the bar of the rest house had become the “major attraction” and how the place was no longer a place for families. He had said “*****pathithumage asanema mehema nam rate ithuru hariya gena mona kathada”. This was a time when “Mathata Thitha” was trumpeted in the media 24/7 it was before Mavil Aru.

    This Buddhist monk was the first person I know who spoke against the hypocrisy of you know who. He was effectively silenced. He has never preached a sermon on national TV since! But fortunately he didn’t stop what he did, he continues to this day doing the good things he used to do.

    Next came Mavil Aru, the war was won and the rest is history. Now its back to the old ways.

    WE NEED A NEW LEADERSHIP ASAP. Life moves on because everyone knows that if the UNP or JVP were to come to power, everything would be even worse! RaWick proposed a red light district in Colombo in 2002! He (and the Mrs. Rosycheeks) planned to legalize prostitution as well. Its like the time of Chandrika, everyone hated her but needed her because she kept Ranil away!

  7. mjaya Says:

    This is the WORST time for SRI LANKA.

    The “saviours” have become the villains. The former villains (who are still very much the villains they were) have become the “saviours” (UNP, JVP, SF).

    It will be a “happy new year” for the corrupt, those who ruin SL, etc.

    It will be a “prosperous new year” for casinos, brothels, bars, drug barons and ganja karayo.

    For the Sinhalese people? I’d rather not say it and make it seem as if there is no hope. There is hope, if we can change the political landscape of this country by getting rid of all political muck!!!

    Welcome to 2014!!!!!

  8. mjaya Says:

    Lets make 2014

    1. The year of abolishing the 13A
    2. The year political appointments finally end
    3. The year the corrupt ruling party and filthy “opposition” dissolve into oblivion
    4. The year the TNA and other minority racist parties are liquidated
    5. The kallathonies are repatriated
    6. Common people (mainly the Sinhalese) can finally live with dignity in a country without minority racists, drug barons, casinos, legal blood suckers, medical mafias, pesticides, kidney disease, chemical laced milk powder, etc. etc. etc.

    wishing all patriots and Lankaweb a Happy New Year!!

  9. Nanda Says:

    Mjaya,

    We wished thus every year.
    They cheated us ever since 2009.
    Wish your dreams will come true in the new year.

  10. Lorenzo Says:

    Happy New Year to All SL Patriots!

    Please enjoy the start of the year WITHOUT alcohol, meat, fish or eggs. It will do you GOOD.

    We have to REGAIN our human qualities.

  11. Lorenzo Says:

    Well said Mjaya!

    So marijuana = ganja!

    That is even more dangerous. There is an aphrodisiac drink made out of ganja named MODAKA. I have never used it but legend has it if you drink it you get a 2 hour erection and permanent mental sickness. Then SL will have lunatic sex maniacs too.

    Looks like everything is fitting to the puzzle – brothels, ganja, no good schools, kasippu, casinos, mafia, terrorists, murderers, rapists, arsonists, crooks, TNA racists, SLMC racists!

    It will be one heck of a HELL on earth! It will be even easier for MR to win elections.

    My wish is a MILITARY TAKE OVER of SL in 2014. Bananarama – army commander took over Fiji and now we don’t hear riots, economic collapse of Fiji anymore. Fiji was kicked OUT of the commonwealth and that was the best thing that happened to them.

  12. mjaya Says:

    Lorenzo,

    MODAKA is a legend. If it were true, Viagra and Cialis would be out of action for good! :D

    You are right about Fiji and leaving the Colonial-wealth (if it were a commonwealth, Britain would have at least returned our artifects) is a good thing. What did CHOGM achieve? A waste of public money and Cam-moron behaved as if he was Robert Brownrigg.

    The patriotic forces of SL are back to were they were during the Chandrika era, the only difference is that no LTTE and the SL armed forces are now revered. Back then if you said that the LTTE should be militarily defeated, you’d get a look as if you deserved to go to the lunatic asylum. Now it is different but those who gave you the look back then will say things like “Karuna rajagedara General hiragedera” (its the same poison in a different bottle)

    Now we have to organize ourselves and create a new leadership (without any political affiliation), it can be the military, it can be a civil movement whatever we must act fast.

    Back in the days of Prince Dutugemunu it was only the “Demalas in the north and the sea in the south”,

    now its…
    The TNA, Toilet Nadu, Jayalalitha, Karunanudhi, scarecrow Man-Moron in the north, the Taliban in the east, north west coast and Colombo (and everywhere else in small numbers), the Malayanadu in the hills, casinos in Colombo, kasippu, brothels, kudu and ganja everywhere, Kasuppu Joseph clan everywhere (like the tentacles of an octopus), arsenic in drinking water, pesticides, poison in food, medical mafia, academic mafia, legal leeches and Oluwak-Nethi media (from the Endian Rajas) in the air!

    Kumbiyane kumbiyane thopatath rajek ethe….(dear ants, at least you have a leader….)

  13. mjaya Says:

    Lorenzo,

    MODAKA is a legend. If it were true, V***** and C***** would be out of action for good! :D

    You are right about Fiji and leaving the Colonial-wealth (if it were a commonwealth, Britain would have at least returned our artifects) is a good thing. What did CHOGM achieve? A waste of public money and Cam-moron behaved as if he was Robert Brownrigg.

    The patriotic forces of SL are back to were they were during the Chandrika era, the only difference is that no LTTE and the SL armed forces are now revered. Back then if you said that the LTTE should be militarily defeated, you’d get a look as if you deserved to go to the lunatic asylum. Now it is different but those who gave you the look back then will say things like “Karuna rajagedara General hiragedera” (its the same poison in a different bottle)

    Now we have to organize ourselves and create a new leadership (without any political affiliation), it can be the military, it can be a civil movement whatever we must act fast.

    Back in the days of Prince Dutugemunu it was only the “Demalas in the north and the sea in the south”,

    now its…
    The TNA, Toilet Nadu, Jayalalitha, Karunanudhi, scarecrow Man-Moron in the north, the Taliban in the east, north west coast and Colombo (and everywhere else in small numbers), the Malayanadu in the hills, casinos in Colombo, kasippu, brothels, kudu and ganja everywhere, Kasuppu Joseph clan everywhere (like the tentacles of an octopus), arsenic in drinking water, pesticides, poison in food, medical mafia, academic mafia, legal leeches and Oluwak-Nethi media (from the Endian Rajas) in the air!

    Kumbiyane kumbiyane thopatath rajek ethe….(dear ants, at least you have a leader….)

  14. mjaya Says:

    To add to the long list…

    Cam-moron, No-bama, Harpic, UN outside!!

  15. mjaya Says:

    At least here is something funny for a change…..

    If you don’t get your change Rs. 1/= from a bus, there is a Skype account to make a complaint. :D

    At least its better than building casinos to get rid of black money!!!

    I am surprised that they don’t issue Amuda when you get diarrhea!!!!!!!!

  16. AnuD Says:

    Grade FIVE scholarships were good when Sri Lankan schools had so much variation with respect to the quality of education and offering scholarships to some schools automatically accepted that those schools were not as good as the other schools that these highly intelligent children were directed to.

    So, that gave way to keep some schools underdeveloped and under achieved.

    Don’t you think that almost every school should be at the same level of quality of education.

    Because of the difficulty assigning similar resources to every school, it is OK to have one good school and some feeder school or schools. There was a SCHOOL CLUSTERS (pokuru paasal) concept earlier. That was a good concept.

  17. Lorenzo Says:

    SL has NO hope of a BRIGHT FUTURE (my foot!) unless the HEROES save SL.

    The HEROES died in tens of thousands (27,000) to SAVE SL. But it was the politicians who enjoy from their sacrifices.

    Very strange NO ONE in Maha Ranee’s EXTENDED family died or got injured in war!

    Mjaya is right. A new leader will have to fight SO MANY EVILS not just Tamil racists. ONLY the military can do it.

  18. aloy Says:

    Happy new year to all.
    I think the education minister has done the right thing by abolishing 5th grade scholarship exam. Children at that age should be allowed free time to observe things in the nature and enjoy. They should not be burdened with lots of book work. SWRD had a system of picking bright students from villages at 8th standard. I thought it was a successful one and he had a plan. Unfortunately he was killed by our usual enemies. Every good Sinhala leader (including the aspiring ones like Upali wijewardana ) were killed by our enemies.
    Anyway let us not give up hopes. This nation has survived for over 2500 years. There are guardian angels.

  19. aloy Says:

    I have read that Einstein did not go to school until he was 14. He was considered a daft boy by every one. He used to go and watch how the reeds swayed and trains moved with speed. It seemed this gave him an insight into relativity.
    Children should be allowed to be free and observe the nature. I think then only their creativity will develop. As at now even the well to do people try to get scholarships for their children to enter good schools; there is no way students from backward areas could enter good schools. Government should devise a way to give scholarships to students from backward areas and not to civil servants children.

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