By Shamindra Ferdinando
Deputy Secretary of Uththara Lanka Sabhagaya Gevindu Cumaratunga, MP, yesterday (10) said that the move to base proposed educational reforms at provincial level would lead to unnecessary problems.
Cumaratunga, who is also the leader of Yuthukama civil society group, warned of dire consequences if the government succeeded in its bid to do away with the concept of national colleges, particularly at a time various interested parties were pushing for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution enacted in 1988 in terms of the Indo-Lanka agreement of the previous year.
Asked whether the Opposition coalition opposed the proposed educational reforms, MP Cumaratunga said they accepted the need for reforms. However, the government shouldn’t expect them to keep quiet in the face of serious flaws in the overall strategy, MP Cumaratunga said.Education Minister Susil Premjayantha, who is also the Leader of the House, recently declared that new educational reforms would be introduced early next year.
The lawmaker explained that a set of proposals pertaining to educational reforms received by MPs and the content of subsequent documents on the issue at hand differed sharply. “I raised this issue in parliament in the first week of December,” MP Cumaratunga said, pointing out that proposed educational reforms should be acceptable to all.
The MP emphasized the failure on the part of the Education Ministry to propose ways and means to improve and enhance the teaching of the Mother Language. Lawmaker Cumaratunga said that the proposal to conduct the GCE O/L Examination in Grade 10 and the GCE A/L Examination in Grade 12 was acceptable though certain matters needed to be discussed. “This shouldn’t be another political project,” the first-time entrant to Parliament said.
Referring to the recent Year 5 Scholarship examination, MP Cumaratunga said that he was happy Tamil children sat for the examination in all 25 administrative districts. However, Sinhala students didn’t sit the same examination in Jaffna, Kilicochchi and Batticaloa districts. The MP questioned the failure on the part of Provincial Councils to look into Sinhala schools in the Northern and Eastern Provinces even after the end of the conflict in 2009.