All seem to agree today that education imparted in most schools in Sri Lanka seem to be lacking what is important and need to be reformed.
Students in schools and other institutes of higher learning need not only to be led to be knowledgeable and practical in the disciplines they study, and be good sportsmen and women, they also should be able to make use of that knowledge and all their capabilities in the right manner. Imparting education and training in skills in any field should be soundly and solidly based. It should be on the value, dignity of and respect due to the human person, the search for freedom, equality, solidarity, truth, justice and fairness.
Those concerned with any kind of training of youth, for example for technical skills and expertise in agriculture, industry, numerous modern day services including public services have often based themselves on dreams and projections of the future inconsistent with existent reality that needed to be transformed into what is desirable and possible by the best use of available resources.
The training of the mind and the development of knowledge should be accompanied by a corresponding education of the heart and the spirit to make every individual a wholesome human being who has a good command of himself/herself. This is attained by the formation of consciences and the character of the students with a concern for others in a manner that promotes confident, responsible and upright living in humility and self-control and healthy social collaboration with a motivation to service. In no part of life or professional conduct could character, conscience and a concern for others be absent in a human being. Frugality and non wastefulness of time, money, food, water, energy, are overlooked in today’s consumerist environment. Even some so-called educated have become so profligate that they cannot manage their lives and live contentedly with the abundant means they earn. Students who have been well prepared through a wholesome education become a valuable resource to society. Each and every student should become such a rich human resource through the reformed education system.
These dimensions of a wholesome education at every level in every sector have been overlooked by the prevailing system as a whole and Sri Lanka has been the poorer for it. All our schools should be good schools that are like good trees bearing good fruits.
Good Teachers are like parents
Good teachers educate, train and imbue pertinent skills to students not to make them robots but autonomous, thinking men and women who freely submit to accepted human and professional norms. Those who make positive contributions to society have been influenced by good parents first of all, and then by good teachers.
Unfortunately, because of politicization of the administration of education, unqualified, ill disciplined, irresponsible and socially unbalanced heads of primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions and teachers who are narrow minded and biased are abounding; with such individuals, schools cannot produce well disciplined, responsible students who will become socially integrated citizens. In our Country we have seen too many warts imbedded in the characters of feudal minded Presidents, Ministers, egotistic Chief Justices and all sorts of important public officials. They have debased their positions and defiled themselves too by their actions and have done injustice to people and misled the whole Country to confusion, disorder and disaster.
" In no part of life or professional conduct could character, conscience and a concern for others be absent in a human being."
And they have been produced by parents and teachers and other guides who were wanting in their capacity. Education reform should produce well educated and responsible citizens who would be productive of a common social wealth they know how well to administer.
The President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Chief Justice and members of the Judiciary, Vice Chancellors, Law College Heads, University Dons, I.G.P.s and Police personnel, heads of Institutions of Professional bodies, School Principals and Teachers and all high ranking officers responsible for the well being of society are persons formed by the education al system. Teachers are the all important cogs of the wheels of this system. Education reform should put good teachers in charge of education.
Those unfit for teaching should be eliminated. Competent boards and panels of educationists and not politicians should select and recruit good candidates for teaching; they should be justly remunerated, professionally trained and motivated towards personal integrity to strive for national goals.
Today, unknowingly the good and dedicated but humble teacher may well be educating a head of state, a head of the judiciary, ministers of state and important holders of public office and numerous others motivated to serve mankind.
May a new dawn be ushered with educational reform!