Schooling of the Young – Assessment of Costs and Benefits
Posted on February 10th, 2017

R Chandrasoma

 Professor Susan Engel is a development psychologist and School Director in the USA. Writing in the Huffington Post she has this to say about schooling in her country.  Far too many children in this country spend their energy warding off the tedium, frustration and constriction of school. At worst, they end up dropping out. At best, they simply put their heads down and try to get through it unscathed; sometimes this means getting through school without being damaged, but just as often it means successfully resisting new ideas, new experiences, or any fundamental change in outlook. Even when it works, though, it’s a poor solution. Research suggests that even when students can tolerate 16 years of suppressing their needs in the interest of future wages, things don’t turn out well. They become dissatisfied adults. Which of us hopes for that for our child?

On reading this heartfelt comment on the state of educational affairs in her country (the USA) our thoughts must surely turn to the sad state of things educational in our own  country –Sri Lanka. There is a belief – held foolishly by our political and educational leaders – that the greater the number of years spent at school or college, the greater the educational finesse of the product and, hence,  its worth to society as a whole. Schooling is a kind of penance imposed on children to ensure the stability of social structures which largely serve adults – the myth that schooling is unreservedly good for children is part  of a tradition promoted and fostered by adults. The contrary view – that the faster they get out from the prison-house of regimented education, the better – is the impassioned cry of those trapped in schools. In this context, the recent announcement by the ruling elite that compulsory school education will be extended by a further three years must be viewed with astonishment and dismay. A distinction must be made between school education and learning – the latter must be a life-long activity while sitting in classrooms presided over by pedagogues is an imposed artificiality that must be terminated as quickly as possible. Children must metamorphose into adults by working with loving adults. The faster they get out of school the better.

7 Responses to “Schooling of the Young – Assessment of Costs and Benefits”

  1. Christie Says:


    After years of education in the USA you pull a coffee and serve it to the customers.

    Ours we join the JVP.

  2. Dilrook Says:

    Extending schooling is absurd. It makes no sense at all.

    In fact, years 7, 8 and 9 should be turned into 2 years. Then students will be out of school 1 year earlier as in most developed countries.

    Teaching Tamil (Nadu) langugage to Sinhala students must be stopped immediately. Instead they should be taught more English or Korean/Japanese/German. That will give them a life skill.

    Business skills should be taught from 11 years to all students.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    Agree with Dilrook that teaching Tamil to Sinhala students is stupid and should be stopped.

    This is an ASININE political decision to placate Tamils.

    Tamil is of no use at all to Sinhala people, whereas Sinhala is a MUST for Tamil students to enable them to function in Sinhala majority areas, which is most of the country. That is a REALITY that arises from the small minority (12%) language status of Tamil.

    IF THERE WERE a 12% Sinhala minority in Tamil Nadu, India the logic would be the same; Sinhala should not be taught to Tamil students in Tamil Nadu. It makes no sense to do so.

    Teaching Tamil to Sinhala students for POLITICAL CORRECTNESS is an ASININE waste of time, opportunity and national resources.

    As Dilrook says, either more English … the premier world language …. or Chinese or German should be taught instead.

  4. Dilrook Says:


    There are many employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in Japan and South Korea. Their culture and religion also make them perfect destinations for Lankans. There is a huge demand for these languages among the youth in the country. The government must help them.

    I agree on Chinese and German.

    Even in India and Singapore non-Tamils are taught the Tamil (Nadu) language and they have no ethnic problem!

    The minority must learn the language of the majority. What happens in Sri Lanka is a tragicomedy beyond apprehension.

  5. AnuD Says:

    Sinhal Students should learn Tamil and get employment in the Tamil speaking areas.

    If Tamils do not learn sinhala they should not get govt employment.

  6. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    German Language can be learnt free from the German Cultural Institute. I was a Student during Lecturer Lalith Samarasinghe’s time.

  7. Dilrook Says:


    Sinhala people cannot find employment in “Tamil speaking areas” no matter what. The very few so employed are also under constant harassment to leave.

    Therefore, no use learning the Tamil (Nadu) language.


    Sure. However, it is even better if German if optionally offered in schools instead of Tamil (Nadu) language.

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