Tweeter Image: the curse of online education in Sri Lanka.
On the same day (21 June 2021) Sri Lanka Brief issued the update “Covid 19 Pandemic and Silent and Unequal Education Crisis in Sri Lanka”, Minister of Education, Prof. GL Peiris, Minister of State for Digital Facilities Namal Rajapaksa, Minister of State for Education Piyal Nishantha and Government spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella held a joint press conference to cover up the deplorable situation of online education in Sri Lanka.
According to Minister Peiris, 200,000 students attend from the government’s e-learning process (ඊ තක්සලාව) 200,000 a day. The number of students studying in schools in Sri Lanka is 4.3 million. But Minister Peries claims that only 12% students have been left out of the e learning process. In other words Minister Peiris says that 88% of the students are attending government e-learning process. Sample arithmetic shows that 200,000 out of 4,500,000 is not 88 present says Ceylon Teachers Union in a statement.
Following is the statement issued by Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers Union:
Although school children have been deprived of education for more than a year and three months during the Covid 19 epidemic, online education has become the only option provided by the authorities. In fact more than 60% of the children have completely lost their education due to this process. However, the Ministry of Education on 17.06.2021 instructed the Provincial Education Authorities to set up Regional Education Centers with 10 computers or tablets as a program to provide education to children in areas where there is no online education facility.
In this regard, the Minister of Education Prof. GL Peiris, State Minister for Digital Facilities Namal Rajapaksa, State Minister of Education Piyal Nishantha and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella held a media briefing at the Government Information Department. Minister of Education Prof. GL Peiris addressed the gathering. Peiris stated that only 12% of the students have lost their education due to the Covid 19 epidemic. These figures of the Minister of Education are totally false. It is a matter of great regret that the officials of the Ministry of Education, including the Secretary of Education, are acting irresponsibly by giving false information to the Minister of Education.
The Minister of Education stated that education will be conducted from Grade 1 to Grade 13 through e Thaksala ( e-learning) and that 65000 lessons have been conducted through it so far. He also states that 200,000 students participate in e Thaksala every day. There are about 4.3 million children in grades 1 to 13 in the school system, of which only 200,000 are educated through e-Thaksala, which is a clear indication of its failure and the loss of education for children.
The government’s option to provide further education for students who have lost their education to build regional education centers with 10 computers, despite the failure of online education. Another deception of the government is to carry out a grand campaign of educating children who do not have the necessary equipment or internet connection for online education, through such centers with 10 computers.
The failure and irresponsibility of the responsible officials, including the Secretary of Education, is evident in the fact that the Ministry of Education has not set aside such deceptive magic and not resorted to other distance education methods without clinging to failed online education. Online education is just one of many distance learning methods. It has also become failed process, subjecting children to intense stress and various illnesses. In such a situation, the Ministry of Education should take immediate action to provide education to students who have lost their education by resorting to other distance education methods, the Ceylon Teachers’ Union states.
State Minister of Education Piyal Nishantha also stated at the media briefing that the discussions are underway with banks to provide bank loans for teachers to purchase computers. However, the previous government allocated money from the budget to provide free tablet computers to A / L students and teachers. It is questionable what happened to the money so allocated to provide a computer for Rs. 26,000.00. The current government’s lack of interest in education is reflected in its focus on providing computer loans to teachers instead of providing them with computers free of charge.
(This is a rough translation of Sinhala language statement issued by Ceylon Teachers Union on 21 June 2021)