Impact of Educational Policies on Improving English Language Standards in Sri Lankan Schools
The Colebrook Commissions’ realization of the importance of imparting education with English, forty years after Sri Lanka became a colony of the British has continued to the present with the trends of globalization. The importance of continuation of the same is felt more than ever presently due to certain relaxations executed after the independence to gain political mileage of the majority by enabling children to have their education in their own mother tongue. However, there is a drastic difference of the quality of the professionals who were directly affected by the above change and their predecessors...Thus, English Language skills is a well sought requirement for higher education and employment, not only in Sri Lanka but all over the world today.
Many Graduates, General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (G.C.E.A/L) and General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (G.C.E.O/L) qualified students become unsuccessful in being selected to employment positions due to their lack of English language competency. This hinders the Socio-Economic development in Sri Lanka and the Social Mobility at large. (Annual Report 2019, Unemployment rates).
The General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level ( G.C.E. O/L) English language results from 2008-2015 depict that English language is the least passed subject among all other core subjects, and the situation remains unchanged even in 2019. Even though certain schools that claim of having 100% results at the General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (G.C.E. O/L) English Language, it does not indicate the competency level of the Speaking and Listening skill of the student that is vital when seeking employment. This brings the competency vs. performance to a questionable position creating gray areas in fluency, appropriateness, accuracy in the effective use of the language.
A research based on the post modernism perspective of the Critical theory is being conducted, under the Accelerating Higher Education expansion and Development (AHEAD) project of the Ministry of Education funded by the World Bank on this burning vitalissue by a team of experienced professionals in the field of English Language teaching and Learning and in the field of education.
The researchers postulate that the participation of all stake holders i.e. state, students, teachers, parents, past pupils and well wishes are important in the exercise of enhancing the standard of English language in schools.
This paper strives to comprehend the positive and negative Impact of Educational Policies on Improving English Language Standards in Sri Lankan Schools. Particularly the policies of involving Past Pupils towards the maintenance and up-liftment of the standard of the schools including the English language improvement.
Although through Act 5 of 1960, Act 8 of 1961, amended Act no 65 of 1981, all schools are liable to get equal facilities and support from the Government, but a remarkable disparity in providence of funds to the National schools and Provincial schools is perceptible.
The formation of the School Development Societies (SDS) in 1982 under circular No 1981/2, School Development Board Act no 8 of 1993 and School Improvement Programme in 2013 are a clear indication of the Government’s attempt to seek financial support from the parents and the past pupils.
Much has been discussed and read on the demands of the Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA) of 6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for education for the last ten years.
The circular No 27 of 1964 by the Department of Education invites all Principals to set up Past Pupils’ Association to support the academic and non -academic and infra -structure development, but the circular is used by certain heads of the schools to distance the past pupils from their Alma mater.
In 2019, responding to a Writ application by the Past Pupils’ Association of vested schools, the appeal court of Sri Lankan has given a verdict against the Circular No: 26/2018 of the Ministry of Education recommending to maximize the number of Executive members who are parents educated in the same school.
According to the focus group discussions that was carried out with Secretaries of OBA’s in the Central Province, the voluntary services of the past pupils is turned down by certain administrators of schools citing the circular issued in 1964. Hence this study onImpact of educational Policies on Improving English Language Standards in Sri Lankan Schoolsis aimed at addressing the related issues and suggesting some guidelines to mitigate the same.
Keywords - Socio-economic Status, Policies, Loyalty, Experience, Exposure, Fluency, Appropriateness, Accuracy, Competency, Performance, Gross Domestic Product