SRI LANKA — South of India, in the Indian Ocean, lies a remote island known as the country of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka boasts an impressive size, with slightly more than 22 million residents. 707,000 residents inhabit the capital of Colombo, but the population of Sri Lanka is spread throughout the country, with homes along the eastern coast. The country of Sri Lanka has also proven to be diverse in various cultures and religions, with religious groups spanning from Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim, and ethnic groups comprised of Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamil and Sri Lankan Moors.
Among Sri Lanka’s success as a country, education has been petitioned as a necessity for the natives. Education in Sri Lanka has made a positive impact on the population, supported by the 92.6 percent literacy rate among adults. Further examination proves literacy among adults is only slightly gender biased, with 93.6 percent of men literate, compared to 91.6 percent of women who are literate.
Education in Sri Lanka follows a system that divides schooling into five categories: primary, junior secondary, senior secondary, collegiate and tertiary. The five levels of schooling offer students a wide range of choices, totaling 10,390 overall government schools across the country. According to Fulbright, the success of education in Sri Lanka can be attributed to the government’s involvement in emphasizing the importance of education.
The Sri Lanka government has made innovations toward achieving accessibility for local residents by requiring children between the ages of five and 13 to attend school. Continuous efforts made by the government have made education in Sri Lanka free for all students, including the government compliance to provide textbooks for students. With education in Sri Lanka accessible to all, the youth literacy rate stands at an impressive 97 percent.
After students complete their first 11 years of schooling, students wait on admittance from one of 15 public universities. However, acceptance into the universities is no easy task. Students must take the G.C.E examination, and based on their Z-scores, universities develop an understanding of students’ strength in certain subjects. Admittance into the public universities proves to be highly competitive, as only six percent of students taking the examination are admitted into one of the universities.
Among the possible universities to attend are the University of Peradeniya, University of Sri Jayewardenpura and the oldest university in Sri Lanka, the University of Colombo.
The University of Colombo has been one of the most sought after higher education in Sri Lanka for the past 115 years. Located in the capital of Colombo, the University of Colombo prides itself on its easy access to a wide range of cultural, entertainment and business facilities, along with a beautiful campus, surplus of extra-curricular activities and the New Arts Theater. Students have a choice of career opportunities through the programs provided by the school, including law, medicine and science.
Students have the option to further pursue education in Sri Lanka after finishing their four years at university. Postgraduate institutes are provided for students who choose to specialize in certain subjects. Among the courses offered in postgraduate institutes are agriculture, archeology, science and english. Education in Sri Lanka has shown a pattern of success, but still continues improving conditions in all aspects.
In a 2016 report by the World Bank, Sri Lanka had 4 million students with 215,000 teachers. In the attempt to better education in Sri Lanka for students, the government founded the Transforming the School Education System as the Foundation of a Knowledge Hub Project (TSEP). Described by the World Bank, the TSEP “has been designed to promote students’ access to, and quality of primary and secondary education to provide a foundation for the knowledge-based economic and social development of the country.”
Results of the TSEP have been quite prosperous for education in Sri Lanka. With the guidance of the TSEP, 52 percent of three million students are female, and school-based teacher development programs have been conducted in 70 percent of project areas. About 186,500 teachers (82 percent of all teachers) have benefitted.
As recently as June 23, 2017, another development to improve education in Sri Lanka was put in place. According to MasterStudies, the World Bank agreed to pay a grant of $100 million towards supporting higher education in Sri Lanka. Statistics provided by the World Bank show Sri Lanka was ranked 88th out of 115 in higher education.
Harsha Aturupane, lead education specialist, claims that, with the help of the grant, higher education in Sri Lanka will dedicate to, “promoting research, development and innovation,” in order to, “expand knowledge and technology-intensive industries and services to meet Sri Lanka’s aspirations to become an upper-middle-income country.”
Education in Sri Lanka overall has maintained a level of excellence in providing students a proper education. The country hopes to continue making improvements, and ensure education in Sri Lanka as a top priority.
– Patrick Greeley