Posted on July 25th, 2021


The COVID-19 pandemic urged social distancing because experts on the epidemic believed that social integration through various methods will agent the spread of the virus, and it considers that the social distancing any method would be supported to control the virus. In addition, there are health and hygiene rules that are difficult to implement in the environment of Sri Lanka. The style of education delivery for kids in classrooms might support the spread of the virus and changing the method of education delivery using technology-based education or electronic delivery throughout the country would be supported to the controlling effort of spreading the virus. This issue remains in all countries and Sri Lanka has no exception for it. 

The successful delivery of education on electronic techniques requires good countrywide infrastructure facilities, it should be not only in the Colombo district. The actual situation is, Colombo has adequate infrastructure and regional Sri Lanka has badly neglected in the modernization process. The ad hoc arrangement in the current disposition has limited to perform electronic delivery using a mobile phone, it is not a fecund domain and electronic delivery also needs a supervised environment and facilities for students to take part in a mobile phone. A small domain in a mobile phone would not support attracting the attention of students. This is the biggest challenge in the education history of Sri Lanka.

Program delivery through television is in Sri Lanka for over three decades. They are one-way delivery that learners cannot directly take part with teachers. It is a teacher-centred education and the difficulty or uncontrollable situation is the teacher cannot control a classroom or distracting students. In Western countries, religious programs are delivered using television and the success of such delivery is depending on the disciplines of participants. In this way, there are two major challenges: one is maintaining the attention of students without distraction, and two is maintaining the relationship between students and the teacher. This system is suitable for students in grades 8 and above. Students below Grade 8 need a controlled environment and how to organize such an environment is the challenge.

 In Sri Lanka, management of electronic signals might be a problem and the environment might be improper, and the change of such an environment would be difficult because of various reasons. Online facilities must be in schools or at delivery places or homes in all districts and service providers should be funded by the government to offer the service free. The advantage of online delivery is students can save programs and when they are not clear about the program or need to view the program, it could be done. It is more flexible and advantaged to learners than the face-to-face delivery system. In this way, electronic delivery needs teachers’ supervision and help. As parents are working, they cannot take part in supervision.

This is a primary requirement to achieve online education and the experience in regional Sri Lanka appears to need more facilities for kids. Many do not know whether sufficient funds have been allocated for the purpose. If the annual budget has not provided allocations, alternative arrangements are needed. Trade unions blindly protest considering selfish issues and have ignored the major problem, and they are concerned with job shedding of teachers, but the rural infrastructure is the major concerned issue on electronic delivery of education.

On-line delivery of education will be supported to eliminate social disparities in the society which incurred division among students attending excellent schools, lower grade or quality schools, urban schools, and village schools. Electronic delivery of education will be the biggest social revolution in Sri Lanka because education reforms were unsuccessful in changing society.  

As the internet service is provided charging a higher fee, the use of technology is expensive and strict controls must be to prevent kids abusing the service from using the technology for irrelevant purposes, and iPad or computers to use for students at homes and other places must be available and they should be replaced when need to do so. The income structure of many parents shows they are not in a position to afford the service fee and to purchase the delivery instrument. In addition, protecting facilities is a concerning matter. These are significant issues and impediments to electronic delivery. Providing electronic service is expensive, and the government encounters many issues when it is concerned with spending in the crisis time. Technology is dynamic and expensive, and even after the Covid pandemic education delivery must be electronic-based and schools need to use interactive whiteboards.

Training teachers for electronic delivery is also expensive. There should be at least 12 weeks of intensive training for teaching staff as long as they become competent to deliver. The training facilities are needed in all districts and they should be lower-level education administration. Many teachers in Sri Lanka are not qualified for electronic delivery of education, as they didn’t get sufficient knowledge and skills through education and assessment outcomes using criteria. Curriculum development and assessment organization have been worked or not are unknown to parents and education administrators.

It is difficult to understand why teachers taking trade union action against modernizing education. These trade union leaders are living in the past and they should get out from petty politics. Education is a nationwide requirement and teachers are only a part of the process.

Many problems could easily be solved by saving money through restructuring and micro-reforms within the education department, which spends a large sum of money for unnecessary purposes, preventing dispensable spending for various activities such as scholarship examination, G.C.E.Ordinary Level examination, and others. Education in Sri Lanka should get away from exams’ culture to outcomes achievements. In this effort, examinations are about 20% of total learning. Practically, parents handle kid’s education than teachers and the outcomes of studies should be showed by students, but not parents. Parents should contribute funds reasonably to educating kids except those who are unaffordable. The nature of Sri Lanka is parents those who are affordable for contributing for expenses and not affordable are enjoyed government free education facilities and this setting should be changed ignoring the political differences. Free education doesn’t mean that parents are released from responsibilities.

Teacher’s training for the application of technology, enhancement of content knowledge, methods of assessing students regarding outcome achievement consistent with values,  the way of application of knowledge in the practical environment must be trained at least once in two years and money should spend on these training purposes. If teachers are quality personnel, they would make quality performance and admirable service in the future.

It is a widely published view that tuition for students is business at the expense of parents and tuition teachers are comparatively higher earners in the country than government teachers because there is no government control for providing tuition and free education has become a service charge oriented as teachers’ role is not playing at school level. Inspection of teachers’ roles and assessing them keeping in the job is not efficiently performed by the department. Tuition teachers have not trained personnel who can properly assess students’ achievement of learning outcomes.

The department of education has been addicted to a culture of holding competitive examinations and creating unrest among kids and parents. The education advisors of the government should stand on admonition to continue the system. They are not laterally thinking to change the system. Developed countries are too concerned about the electronic delivery matter. If the government arranges equal education provision in all schools and maintains quality and control, it could be successful in adapting electronic delivery and the broader use of technology for education.

The department of education should investigate how other countries use strategies. It wouldn’t need Island-wide expensive exams for scholarships and year 10. Schools could conduct these exams like in Australia and the department of education could help schools providing exam papers and training for teachers to assess students to conduct the exam within schools. The assessment of the achievement of outcomes concerns with attitudes of the assessor and it may be an arduous task in Sri Lanka to avoiding this issue.

The examination has become a competitive exam and spends an enormous sum of money on this purpose. The assessment of the achievement of outcomes cannot decide to enjoy marking like a multiple choice question paper. The assessor determines the decision like a judge in the court, considering many factors.

Parents spend lots of money on tuition and other help for students. These are wasting money and the government can use the money for electronic infrastructure in all schools. Education reforms are vital for this type of radical change.

Parents in Sri Lanka are not so poor compared to many poor countries and 90% of parents could provide iPads and laptops to kids and support the government to provide electronic delivery. About 20% of total students are kids of poor parents, and they should be supported by the government. 

However, rich people, past pupils, officials, so-called major schools, and politicians are against these reforms because poor people will gain equal opportunity, equity, and justice. I spoke to many Sri Lanka’s born overseas who have a fallacious mentality and the attitudes them comprise discriminating poor than giving equity and justice. Many education-related trade unions protest against the reforms because they are against equity and justice in society. 

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