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Sri Lanka education reforms to involve input of professionals, other stakeholders

ECONOMYNEXT — Proposed education reforms in Sri Lanka will involve not just education experts but will also welcome input from other professionals, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said calling for collaboration between all stakeholders.

Politicising education would inevitably lead to Sri Lanka’s downfall, said, calling for collaborations to devise the most effective education system for the country within the next two to three years.

Wickremesinghe made these remarks at the 10th Biennial Conference of the All Island Professional Lecturers’ Association (APLA), held at the Nelum Pokuna Theater in Colombo on Tuesday April 23.

The government’s forthcoming education reforms would not solely involve education experts but would also welcome input from school teachers, professionals in the economic sector, and organisations like the APLA, Wickremesinghe said calling for inclusive dialogue in shaping the future of education.

Globally, he said, the traditional schooling system and supplementary classes are intertwined.

“We’ve gleaned valuable insights from the recent economic downturn and are steadily recovering. However, we must forge ahead with a new economic paradigm, one centered on exports and marked by fierce competitiveness. Simultaneously, we must strive for economic growth that alleviates poverty.

“In addition to these considerations, it’s imperative to craft an education system that aligns with our country’s needs. We must delve into the dynamics between formal schooling and extracurricular activities, while also exploring the integration of technology and artificial intelligence into education. Presently, technology is driving significant changes in education, and it’s crucial that we embrace and adapt to this transformation,” the president’s office quoted him as saying.

Noting that Sri Lanka pioneered Western-style education in Asia and was among the first to implement free education, Wickremesinghe said that, over the next two to three years, the island nation must strategise on incorporating this new technology into its education system.

“We need to envision a modern education framework tailored for 2050, rather than 2030,” he said.

“These educational reforms must not be confined to the domain of education experts alone. General educators, representatives from the economic sector, and organisations like the All Island Professional Lecturers’ Association should also actively participate. The discourse on educational reform should be inclusive, with every idea given due consideration. Politics should not overshadow education; turning it into a mere tool for political maneuvering achieves nothing. Ultimately, it’s the nation that suffers. Hence, it’s imperative for everyone to transcend political divides and collaborate towards shaping the future of education collectively.”

Wickremesinghe said that, over the next two to three years, it is imperative that Sri Lanka engages in discussions to determine the optimal education system for the country by the year 2050.

“We must also remain adaptable to ongoing technological advancements beyond that time-frame,” he added. (Colombo/Apr24/2024)