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1. Education is perhaps the most important function of State and local governments, the key portion of the opinion read. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our Democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship.
2. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the countries have undertaken to provide it, is a right, which must be made available to all on equal terms.
3. Present, Formal education serves a greater percentage of the world population than at any time in history. It has also assumed many of the responsibilities formerly reserved for family, religion, and social organizations. Most people expect schools to provide children with skills, values, and behaviors that will help them become responsible citizens, contribute to social stability in the country, and increase their country economic productivity. The governments also require schools to correct social inequality among students of different racial, ethnic, social, or economic backgrounds.
4. The literature on the meaning of democracy in general and for education in particular is constantly growing. In Sri Lanka all students are provided with free education including education at university level. This scheme was introduced in 1945.
5. The aim is to discuss the importance of education to build up a nation.
EDUCATION AND NATION
6. Historically, the tendency toward nationalism was fostered by various technological, cultural,
political, and economic advances. Improvement in communications extended the knowledge of people beyond their village or province. The spread of education in vernacular tongues to the lower-income groups gave them the feeling of participation in a common cultural heritage. Through education, people learned of their common background and tradition and began to identify themselves with the historical continuity of the nation. The introduction of national constitutions and the struggle for political rights gave peoples the sense of helping to determine their fate as a nation and of sharing responsibility for the future well-being of that nation. At the same time the growth of trade and industry laid the basis for economic units larger than the traditional cities or provinces.
7. Before the invention of reading and writing, people lived in an environment in which they struggled to survive against natural forces, animals, and other humans. To survive, preliterate people developed skills that grew into cultural and educational patterns. For a particular group's culture to continue into the future, people had to transmit it, or pass it on, from adults to children. The earliest educational processes involved sharing information about gathering food and providing shelter, making weapons and other tools; learning language; and acquiring the values, behavior, and religious rites or practices of a given culture.
8. Through direct, informal education, parents, elders, and priests taught children the skills and roles they would need as adults. These lessons eventually formed the moral codes that governed behavior. Since they lived before the invention of writing, preliterate people used an oral tradition, or story telling, to pass on their culture and history from one generation to the next. By using language, people learned to create and use symbols, words, or signs to express their ideas. When these symbols grew into pictographs and letters, human beings created a written language and made the great cultural leap to literacy.
9. Military Education, training of the officers and enlisted personnel of a nation's military, air and naval forces. The goal of such training is to equip members of the services with the basic skills and discipline needed for appropriate action under the stress of combat. Qualified personnel may receive more formal education to enable them to advance professionally.
EDUCATION AND EQUALITY
10. Despite the fact that modern education has provided unprecedented educational opportunities, some groups of people have benefited from the system more than others. Many social policymakers have attempted to eliminate various forms of discrimination in schools even more than they have addressed issues of educational quality or standards. Most democratic intervention into the educational practices of local school relates to issues of equal educational opportunity. Discrimination against women and girls has been as pervasive in American schools as discrimination based on race. Laws in the 19th century required states to provide equal educational opportunity for both boys and girls.
11. With the expansion of the modern school system in the early 20th century, a huge demand for elementary and secondary schoolteachers encouraged large numbers of women to participate in higher education to gain teaching credentials. Even then, social expectations for women to remain in domestic roles, as well as male discrimination against women, often closed career doors to well-educated women. Most democratic and federal mandated desegregation efforts have been aimed at increasing
educational achievement among all racial students.
EDUCATION IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
12. As greater numbers of students enrolled in schools during the 20th century, education became a powerful social and economic force. Efforts to increase the size and efficiency of public schools led to the creation of more facilitated school systems. To bring order and efficiency to school systems, educators had already developed standardized mechanisms of school organization by the end of the 19th century in western world. For example, class placement was determined by a student's age, each class period was a specified length, and students graduated after a specified number of years in attendance.
13. Many technological innovations of the 20th century have promised breakthroughs in the methods and effectiveness of teaching. Some of the most promising innovations included filmstrips and motion pictures, teaching machines, and programmed instruction. But the promise generated by much of this new technology proved illusory, and most changes in teaching methods became nothing more than short-lived fads. Two very different technologies, however, may have far greater effects on educational practice than their predecessors. The revolution in computer and communications technology holds out hope that all students will connect with more information and more people than ever before, and that learning might become more individualized.
14. The other promising technological advance is in biochemistry and genetic engineering. Innovations in these fields suggest that certain barriers to learning, such as short attention spans or faulty memories, might one day be reduced by means other than the traditional reliance on sheer effort alone. For example, medical researchers conduct studies on the brain and central nervous system in hopes of discovering ways to enhance memory and intelligence.
15. History of Education of theories, methods and administration of schools and other agencies of information from ancient times to the present. Education developed from the human struggle for survival and enlightenment. It may be formal or informal. Informal education refers to the general social process by which human beings acquire the knowledge and skills needed to function in their culture. Formal education refers to the process by which teachers instruct students in courses of study within institutions.
16. The education system of Sri Lanka until colonial times primarily was designed for a small elite in a society with relatively low technology. The vast majority of the population was illiterate or semiliterate. Among the Sinhalese, learning was the job of Buddhist monks. At the village level, literate monks would teach privileged students in the temple school. Technical training was highly developed for students of the arts, for engineers, who applied geometry to problems of irrigation; and for craftsmen in various trades. This training, however, was generally the preserve of closed corporations, castes, or families. Knowledge was often passed down from fathers to sons.
17. The 20th century has also been marked by the emergence of national school systems among developing nations, particularly in Asia and Africa. Compulsory elementary education has become nearly universal, but evidence indicates that large numbers of children, perhaps as many as 50 percent of those ages 6 to 18 throughout the world, do not attend school. To improve education on the elementary and adult levels, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization conducts literacy campaigns and other educational projects. UNESCO attempts to put every child in the world into school and to eliminate illiteracy. Some progress has been noted, but it has become obvious that considerable time and effort are needed to produce universal literacy.
18. Elementary Education is the earliest program of education for children, beginning generally at the age of five or six and lasting from six to eight years. In most countries elementary education is compulsory for all children. The purpose of the elementary school is to introduce children to the skills, information, and attitudes necessary for proper adjustment to their community and to society. Basically, the subjects taught are reading, writing, spelling, mathematics, social studies, science, art, music, physical education, and handicrafts. These are often supplemented with other subjects, such as foreign languages. Over the years new subject matter has made the elementary school curriculum more advanced than heretofore. On completion of their elementary schooling, pupils continue their education in a junior high school or high school.
19. Higher Education, period of advanced study following the completion of secondary education. The duration of the study may be from four to seven years or more, depending upon the nature and complexity of the programs pursued. The institution providing higher education may be either a college or university or a type of professional school. A junior or community college, such as those maintained by some state systems of higher education, offers a 2-year program of general education and/or technical training that serves either as terminal schooling or as preparation for more specialized study in a 4-year college or university.
20. When the basic course of study is successfully completed, usually at the end of four years, the graduate receives a bachelor's degree. He or she may continue for a master's degree, generally requiring an additional year or two, and then for a doctorate, which normally requires the candidate to submit a dissertation and to complete a minimum of two or three years of further studies. Higher education, which usually includes some general education, is a time for specialized study to qualify the individual for professional activity or for employment in higher positions in business, industry, and government.
21. Its a clear fact that all the students who qualifies for higher education does not stand a chance to enter universities due to only few universities exist in the country which automatically limits the number the vacancies.
22. Vocational Education, instruction in skills necessary for persons who are preparing to enter the
Labor force or who need training or retraining in the technology of their occupation. The impact of technology on occupations, the tendency of employers to set higher educational requirements, and the need for employees with specialized training have made vocational preparation imperative. Part-time programs are essential in order to provide occupational mobility among workers and to overcome the effects of job obsolescence.
23. Only few persons stand a chance to under go a vocational training progremme, due to the limited number of training institutions in Sri Lanka.
24. Colleges and universities provide professional education for persons who function at the administrative and management levels and also for those who teach business at the secondary and collegiate levels.
25. The development of the computer has effected many changes in education. At the vocational level it has led to the establishment of training programs for computer operators and programmers. At the collegiate level the emphasis has been on utilization of more efficient management information systems to provide data for making business and other decisions.
EDUCATION SYSTEM IN SRI LANKA
26. The present educational system of Sri Lanka derives from the British educational system, which was introduced by the British colonial masters in the 19th century. The British colonial government established colleges for boys and girls separately. These colleges consisted of Primary Schools, Lower Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools. In 1938 the education in Government schools made free of charge as consequence of the Universal Franchise granted in 1931. Subsequently many government schools called Maha Vidyalayas and were started in all parts of the country. The medium of education of Maha Vidyalaya's was either Sinhala or Tamil.
27. Childhood education is divided into three phases: Mulika Pirivena, Maha Pirivena and Pirivena Vidyayathanaya. These are also known as Primary School (grades One through Five), Junior Secondary School (grades Six to Eight) and Senior Secondary School (grades Nine to Eleven). There is pre-school education/child care for children age's three to five, with both public and private facilities. Children can enroll in primary school at five to six years of age. At about age 10 or 11, children usually progress to the secondary level, and after they complete the senior cycle sit for the GCE Ordinary-level examination. The last stage of formal education is the collegiate level, grades 12 and 13, culminating in the Advanced level examination. Performance on this exam determines the students' acceptance into universities and other continuing education. The Sri Lankan school year runs from January to December and is divided into trimesters.
a. Pre-school Education. Although there is not organised system for pre- school education in Sri Lanka, some establishments have instituted a standardised curriculum. There is a reasonable number of childcare and pre-school services available in
urban areas run by local organisations, non-government organisations and individuals. Most of the learning activities are based on the fundamental skills of writing, reading and mathematics. Most children attend pre-schools for about three hours a day. The Montessori method is used widely in Sri Lanka at this level of education.
b. Primary Education. The predominant language used for teaching in public primary schools is Sinhala or Tamil, depending on the area. English is taught starting in the fourth year of primary school. The language factor alone compels most expatriate parents to send their children to international schools. Also, it is important to note that religious activities are an integral part of the Sri Lankan school day - another reason why international schools are preferred. Also, Sri Lankan classrooms tend to be crowded, with about 40 students per class.
c. Secondary Education. The main subjects taught in secondary schooling are English, First Language, Sinhala or Tamil, Mathematics, Religion, Science and Social Studies. During grade 11, students are required to take the GCE O-level examination and pass at least six subjects before they can be considered for entry into the collegiate level. First Language, Second Language, Math and Religion are compulsory subjects, and students must pass in all four to pass and complete the examination.
d. Collegiate Education . Grades 12 and 13 comprise the collegiate level of education, at which time pupils may select their course of study according to skill or preference. At the end of their collegiate education, students may take the GCE A-level examination, a very competitive exam aimed to help promote scholastic achievers into university and other higher-level education. In addition to Sri Lanka's nine universities, there is also an Open University, a medical college and several postgraduate institutes.
e. Higher Education. The university system included the University of Peradeniya, formed between 1940 and 1960, the universities of Vidyalankara and Vidyodaya, formed in the 1950s and 1960s from restructured pirivena, the College of Advanced Technology in Katubedda, Colombo District, formed in the 1960s, the Colombo campus of the University of Ceylon, created in 1967, the University of Ruhunu in 1979, Batticaloa University College in 1981 and Sabaragamuwa University in mid 1990s. There was also the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka, established in Colombo in 1982.
ARCHIVING THE GOALS OF THE NATION THROUGH EDUCATION
28. Developed countries also have more resources than do developing countries to invest in basic education and vocational education, training programs, and higher education. As a result, workers and managers in developed economies typically receive more education and training. In 1998, for example, educational expenditures relative to the gross domestic product were 5.6 percent in developed countries and 4.1 percent in developing countries. Adult literacy rates also reveal educational disparities among countries. In 2003 the adult literacy rate in Japan and the United States was more than 99 percent, while it was 86.4 percent in Brazil, 90.1 percent in Sri Lanka 55.3 percent in India, and 17.6 percent in Niger.
29. Disparities in education lead to shortages of skilled workers and educated managers in developing countries. An unskilled workforce is less productive and receives lower wages. Lower wages, in turn, encourage highly educated workers in these countries to migrate to industrialized countries to earn higher salaries. This migration, known as the brain drain, increases the scarcity of educated and skilled workers in developing countries.
30. A literate population is a necessity for any nation wishing to take advantage of modern technological growth. For instance, research has shown a direct relationship between literacy between women and improved health and childcare in the family. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization have long supported the concept that education must be considered an ongoing process. UNESCO has encouraged literacy programs, agricultural extension, and community instruction. The low cost and flexibility of such programs make adult education suitable for many areas of the world that do not yet have formal school programs.
31. In the daily developing world, many countries operate steady educational policies. Educationists who are often observant about shortcomings in the education sectors effect urgent reforms. Japan, USA and countries like Russia, maintain educational activities successfully. They operate a firm education policy.
PRESENT SITUATION IN SRI LANKA
32. Since independence in 1948, the government has made education one of its highest priorities, a policy that has yielded excellent results. Within a period of less than 40 years, the number of schools in Sri Lanka increased by over 50 percent, the number of students increased more than 300 percent, and the number of teachers increased by more than 400 percent. Growth has been especially rapid in secondary schools, which in 1985 taught 1.2 million students, or one-third of the student population. Teachers made up the largest government work force outside the plantation industry. The literate population has grown correspondingly, and by the mid1990s over 90 percent of the population was officially literate, with near universal literacy among the younger population. This is by far the most impressive progress in South Asia and places Sri Lanka close to the leaders in education among developing nations.
33. In the present system of education, the state and the private sector engage in providing education. The state sector mainly provides free education while the private sector charges fees. Due to the enthusiasm prevailing in the country regarding education, all citizens give priority to education. The social system, economy and all other aspects in Sri Lanka are almost based on the system of education.
34. Education has long been important in Europe, where formal programs began in the 18th century. For example, the Danish folk high school movement in the mid-19th century prevented the loss of Danish language and culture that a strong German influence threatened to absorb. In Britain, concern for the education of poor and working-class people resulted in the growth of adult education programs, such as the evening school and the Mechanic's Institute, to expand educational opportunities for all people. After the Russian Revolution the Soviet government virtually eliminated illiteracy
through the establishment of various institutions and extension classes for adults.
35. Education beyond the undergraduate years is often directed toward preparation for entrance into a profession such as law, medicine, or dentistry, in which advanced training is necessary for recognition as a practitioner.
36. The main system of education of Sri Lanka, which is a developing country, is maintained by the state sector. Education and higher education are maintained under a cabinet minister of the parliament the education activities of Sri Lanka continue successfully. The main system of education has the ability to provide opportunities to pursue education in the media of Sinhala, Tamil and English.
37. The governament should formulate an orgainised system and standard procedures pertain to pre - school education around the island.
38. The governament should take steps to increase the number of universities and vocational education institutes in the island.
39. There should be regulation for attend to school from 5 to 16 years in school or in vocational education institutions or as a transitional measure in non - formal literacy classes.
40. The objectives assumed by formal education increased dramatically during the 20th century, the format and techniques of modern schooling have remained, for the most part, quite stable and resistant to change.
41. Employee's knowledge should be increased regarding their duty and opportunity should be given to them to follow foreign and local courses relevant to their jobs. This situation can be seen for only executive and administrative level. Therefore these facilities should be also given for every level of employees in Sri Lanka.
42. A definite education policy has to be created in the Sri Lanka. For this purpose the assistance of education specialists has to be sought. Also, within this education policy a situation permitting timely education reforms has to be ensured.
43. Steps have to be taking to provide more facilities to rural schools in Sri Lanka and to direct talented teachers to rural schools. Further at least one National school's per region with more facilities have to be provided.