Education remained a hot-topic of discussion on the second day of the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2013 with University of Sri Jayawardenapura Senior Professor, Ajit Abeysekera voicing support for tertiary education curricula.
“Recent superficial statements made by politicians against University curricula do little to address the real problems currently being experienced in the system. Our curriculum is comparable with those taught in Harvard and Yale.
It is not the University curriculum but the whole education system which is at fault.” Prof. Abeysekera asserted.
His statements were in direct response to comments made by Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation, Dr. Sarath Amunugama at the inauguration of the SLES.
During his speech, Amunugama denounced calls for 6 percent of GDP to be invested in the education system
“What is the point in giving 6 percent for education if we’re teaching garbage? If we put 6 percent on the current curriculum then I think we’re being regressive, we must invest in the right type of education.
We have to improve our investment in health and education only if there is an internal transformation which is more growth-oriented,” he stated.
Prof. Abeysekera however stated that fundamental flaws in Sri Lanka’s education system are derived from an overemphasis on examinations from primary through to tertiary education.
“We have a highly competitive system from the time children begin schooling however such competition has been at the expense of creative thinking. From industry feedback we’ve been given, the private sector is satisfied with the science knowledge of our graduates but they lack certain skills and attitudes necessary to adapt to the private sector.
These are not things which can be taught. They have to be imbued in the students through participation in university society and developing journals,” he noted.
In that context, Prof. Abeysekera stated that investment in key infrastructure and teacher training would be crucial to the reformation of Sri Lanka’s public education system.
He added that government, and private sector participation in the reform process would be crucial to its success.
“There are so many serious problems in the system that the only way to solve them is to forget about politics altogether and sit together to discuss these issues in depth,” Prof. Abeysekera stated.