CURRICULUM AND TEACHING REFORMS ESSENTIAL TO SRI LANKA PART 2
Posted on January 31st, 2020

BY EDWARD THEOPHILUS

UNESCO defined curriculum is an organized education plan and curriculum in education in Sri Lanka has not become an education plan that leads kids to achieve future success and the national curriculum documents have not organized as an education plan. The weakness in curriculum in schools in Sri Lanka is that educational curriculum in all contexts has not carefully designed plan with education of students. When I was in secondary context, I found that some schools ignored teaching certain topics and the methods used were primitive than requirement of the era. A plan should have broader aims, objectives, specific objectives and the assessment to reflect the achievement of outcomes, however, it is not successfully working in the education system of Sri Lanka.

It is difficult to observe curriculum in schools, TVET systems and universities have organized accordance the definition of UNESCO, and presented in terms of an accepted way as a national curriculum document, which clearly expresses the accepted concept such as outcome-based or cognitive strategies.  Curriculum developers may have selected the necessary area of contents, but the curriculum has not developed organizing the programs with essential characteristics and the way of teachers to adapt to the method and to assess students in support of the method. In this environment, teachers have a predicament using appropriate teaching strategies and student assessment.  In this background tuition masters, who never obtained proper teaching and training qualifications have become heroes of students and parents must spend large sum of money for tuition masters while the government paying salaries and other benefits to teachers who do not play the role expected by stakeholders.

The philosophy of president Rajapaksa on education and training has already presented and adapting to the philosophy in the country has many impediments and substages as many people including school teachers, tertiary educators, tuition masters and, politicians directly or indirectly work against the philosophy and resist the reforms.

Curriculum and relevant teaching methods need to be changed according to aims of the changes, inventions, practices in the world. It needs wider consultation and continuous debate like in the western countries and in this debate desires of stakeholders cannot be ignored and the outcome generation from the education of students in primary and secondary contexts should be given the priority.  When talks about outcomes generation, the best place to demonstrate outcomes are the schools that should have a good environment for the purpose and some schools and teachers use the results of tuition masters’ efforts as their achievements.  tuition masters have good resources environment and resources; however, it is seen that kids are persuading tuition masters than attaching to schools and using the resources of schools. Why this situation created in the country? Many reasons contributed to this situation. 

The first contributory factor is the department of education has not trained teachers to use resources and implement the curriculum in schools to achieve educational outcomes, and the inspection and supervision process of the education department is weaker to assess the practical implementation of curriculum and rate teachers and teaching from the lowest level of education, which is the classroom. 

The education department has disappointed stakeholders without considering the expectations of stakeholders and allowing the promotion of tuition outside the schools, which an expensive method of gaining education despite the existing free education.  Tuition teachers were trained and tuition places have no resources like in schools, in such an environment why students attract tuition places because curriculum has not focused to generates outcomes (including theoretical, practical and qualitative), and schools have failed to achieve the expectation of stakeholders. The government spends money but the expected outcomes have not been generated by the education policy spending money.  Investigation to the problem should be a part of the curriculum and teaching reforms.

The second contributory factor is education assessment, which concerns on curriculum and teaching and they should base on the result generation from education. Outcomes are a combination of knowledge, practice, quality, values and many matters.  Students have a misguided perception that it they achieve knowledge outcomes at the exams it would be the achievement of stakeholders. It is an entirely misconception given to stakeholders’ mind.  This wrong perception must be changed by curriculum and teaching reforms and the achievement of outcomes in a broader area should be designed to focus on education results. The concentration of the achievement of outcomes will be supported to achieve expected results from education and to change the society.

While concentrating on policy developments in education reforms in early childhood, primary and secondary contexts, TVET contexts should be developed competency achievement of students, which relates to knowledge, skills, quality, values, adaptability to work environment and selected area of criteria.  Another significant point is that education policy makers should concentrate teaching from primary context a half of subject in Sinhala or Tamil medium and the other half in English medium, which promote competency in two languages. Knowledge of English has become a major reason to polarisation of society. Education should support to eliminate fallacious attitudes from the society.

TVET curriculum needs focusing on knowledge of the subject matter or trade area, skills in the application of trade competency, practice in the application of value and the ability to converse in Sinhala, English and any other international language such as German, French, Mandarin, Arabic, Korean or any other.  When organizing the curriculum for a broader area of subject and training for the achievement of competencies, there wouldn’t be unemployment in the country as such a trained trade personnel have demand in anywhere in the world.  However, curriculum and teaching in TVET context have not organized in the international qualification framework and the education policy makers need to consider offering TVET qualifications on international framework.

Certificate 1 and 2 level could offer to grade 10 and 12 students and if they do not achieve university entrance, they can continue TVET education in TVET institutions and after an advance diploma they can enter to the university and to obtain a degree within two years, otherwise they can engaged in workplaces as skilled trade personnel.

There is no doubt that education reforms in school contexts and TVET context have lots to do and a country with a small population reforms could be easily implemented with lesser costs. 

One Response to “CURRICULUM AND TEACHING REFORMS ESSENTIAL TO SRI LANKA PART 2”

  1. aloy Says:

    The third para aptly describe our Prez’s predicament. He has just started to build the country and there is enough problems. Buddhist monks run riot on the streets and make vociferous statements on certain TV channels demanding jobs; when they should be going with begging bowls they demand increasing Mahapola payments. Some people appear to be trying to destroy the country as well as Buddhism.

    JVP which more than likely a cat’s paw, seems to be at it again?.

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