By Vijitha Herath
The Supreme Court ruling on the Z-score and its repercussions created a number of controversies in the country for the past two weeks. Concerns were raised about the Z-scores issued for students who sat for the G.C.E. Advanced Level Examination in 2011 as it was alleged that Z-scores issued were wrongly calculated. The situation arose when the authorities took steps to issue much delayed Advanced Level results following increasing demands by students and parents to do so.
At that moment, four ministers and parliamentarians who are in charge of education came forward to thwart demands to rectify issued Z-scores. To make it easy to explain, it is important to note that not only Ministers S.B. Dissanayaka, Bandula Gunawardena and deputy minister Vijith Wijayamuni Soyza that came forward to suppress these demands, but also monitoring the MP who joined the government from the UNP to strengthen and uplift education in the country, Mohan Lal Grero.
However, apart from these four, the parents, teachers, lecturers’unions, intellectuals and all those who are connected to education stood by the stance that the Z-scores issued were incorrect. Even, Professor Thattil, who introduced the Z-score system to Sri Lanka, clearly maintained that it was incorrect to calculate a common Z-score for students who sat for the examination under two different syllabuses. What actually should have been done was to issue results after rectifying all those mistakes and if not to rectify already issued Z-score results setting aside the ego and pride of these ministers. Students should not have been allowed to take decisions based on the incorrect Z-scores issued. Yet, since the government was not ready to set its ego aside and rectify the matter, students and parents were compelled to go to courts and this in return delayed the process by another six months.
Even though, six months could be considered unimportant when compared to the lifespan of an individual, this is the most important period for an A/L student who plans to re-sit the examination.
Now, court has given a ruling which was requested by the students some six months ago and there is only one month left for this year’s Advanced Level examination. There is nothing or little left for the students who took decisions based on the previous results.
Ironically, there is no one to take the responsibility for this blunder. The Education Ministry passes the ball to the Higher Education Ministry, which passes it to the University Grants Commission and then the latter passes the ball to some innocent lecturers. They do not have anyone to pass the ball on to and Education ministers are still holding media briefings to prove they do not have a blemish with regard to issued Z-scores.
This is not limited to the education sector alone and is relevant to all important sectors; be it health, agriculture, irrigation or transportation. Today paddy fields are completely dried up without adequate water for cultivation and according to the Minister of Irrigation the fault is with the farmers. Dengue has reached epidemic levels and is spreading all over the country and the fault is with the public. No matter what goes wrong there is no one to be held accountable. There is hardly anybody to take the responsibility if any shortcoming took place in these fields. Yet, if an individual works singlehandedly to achieve something worthwhile there are more than enough people to take the credit for it. Despite the fact that it’s an achievement of a single individual, it belongs to the President who gave the concept or the ‘Chinthana’, to the minister who showed the path and to the advisors and consultants who monitored the project. Things that take place in the country in these fields and decisions taken could even challenge the rulings by King Kakille in the past.
The unofficial message given from the top to the bottom of the government is that there is no need to be accountable for whatever the acts committed by one. Thugs sponsored by the government engaged in killings as if they were acting in action-thrillers; yet they are not being brought to book at all.
Even the institutions established to ensure law and order are taken into the grip of the government by a piece of legislature brought in the name of abolishing the 17th Amendment. Therefore, the message given by ministers that if one had a connection to the government that person would get away with any wrongdoing was wholeheartedly adopted by their henchmen and business community that dine together with these ministers. These clearly indicate the conditions of a social anarchy. The beginning of the A to Z social collapse lies there.