Lanka sets goals for education excellence
A new World Bank-backed education initiative in Sri Lanka calls
for developing excellent education institutions enabling the country
to achieve high levels of human development and national income,
and distribute the benefits of economic progress more equitably
to rural, estate and poor urban areas.
The $60 million Education Sector Development Grant is the largest
grant ever given by the World Bank to Sri Lanka, and will help the
government to implement a five year Education Sector Development
Program, from 2006-2010, to improve all schools in the country,
the bank said last week in a statement.
Lanka has attained the first generation education objective of providing
widespread access to primary education (grades 1-5), with net primary
school completion of over 95 percent among both boys and girls.
The government is seeking to meet the second and third generation
challenges of extending the compulsory education period to basic
education (grades 1-9), and developing high quality schools in all
areas of the country. To achieve this aim, the government has prepared
a comprehensive Education Sector Development Framework and Program
for the period 2006-2010, covering both basic education (grades
1-9) and secondary education (grades 10-13).
major challenge that the country has to overcome is the moderate
level of learning achievement. Only 37 percent of primary school
students achieve mastery of their mother tongue, Sinhalese or Tamil.
This is a serious constraint to further learning, as all subsequent
study will draw on the child’s mother tongue capability. Mathematical
knowledge is also moderate, with only 38% of students achieving
the prescribed level of mastery. English language skills, which
are critically important for the country’s future economic
prospects, are low, with just 10 percent of students achieving mastery,
the bank said.
are also high regional disparities in learning outcomes between
urban and rural areas. In the first language, 51 percent of urban
children achieve mastery in contrast to just 34 percent in rural
areas. Similarly, in mathematics, 52 percent of urban students attain
mastery, while in rural areas only 35 percent of students achieve
contrast between urban and rural areas is especially sharp in English
language skills, where 23 percent urban students achieve mastery,
but a mere 7 percent of rural children achieve mastery. The World
Bank Education Sector Development Grant will support the entire
programme of the government. An innovative funding mechanism will
be used for World Bank assistance.
will be no project implementation unit. Instead, funds will be provided
directly through the budgets of the national and provincial Ministries
of Education. The volume of funds flowing to the country and to
individual provinces will be linked to performance, with greater
funds allocated to better performers, the statement said.