Free education is not a personal property of anyone. Be it the Minister of Education/ Higher Education or the Commissioner of Examinations their ultimate responsibility is for the children of this country, who will one day become adults and serve people in return. Yet, with the type of examples set by the adults, who are supposed to be looking into the smooth-running of the system, it won’t be surprising if the continual confusions breed confused individuals who would contribute very little to the country’s development.
Hence, under no circumstance should it be that children are victimized by the system or those who are appointed to operate it. The fact that a certain service is provided free of charge does not grant an undue authority to its administrative bodies to torment or cheat people. It also does not justify the complacence and lethargy showed by them in rectifying errors.
Thus, the recent Supreme Court order to recalculate the Z-scores is a welcome relief to the students and parents who were helpless at the hands of such an injustice. The assurance that justice is still on the side of the public, is always comforting.
Yet, the matter does not seem to end there.
University Grants Commission Chairman on Tuesday said the UGC would seek a clarification from the Supreme Court as there were some areas that need to be cleared. He also hinted that the blunder in calculating the Z-scores had occurred at the Examination Department as the department officials had not followed the guidelines laid down by the UGC. Quite contrary to the UGC Chairman’s statement, Minister of Education, Bandula Gunawardane said the re-scrutinised results will be released on Tuesday night; surprisingly, he kept to his word.
Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake reiterated that the Z- score system devised by the UGC was the best method that would cause the “least difficulties” in grading students. This is the same minister who together with others labelled the founder of the Z-score system, Prof. Thatil a traitor. Probably he is right in his judgment to stand by the system; for one cannot put the blame on the system for the blunders committed by those who do not know how to operate it.
This, however, should not become the standard way of releasing results of examinations nor should this be an annual recurrence. When the parents and teachers have little faith in the rectifying process, the educational authorities should not lead the children into a situation where they doubt their capabilities and strengths. At any rate, taking the results sheets to the Supreme Court, should not be the hallmark of the country’s education system. The authorities also owe an apology to the children who were subject to this victimization not once but twice.
Children should be going to school. If they are compelled to go to courts instead, it says a lot about the country’s education.