(October 03, 2010, Colombo - Lanka Polity, Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe)Sri Lanka government has announced that legal action will be taken in future against the parents of the children that are not attending schools.
A recent survey of the Census and Statics Department pointed out that around 250,000 children do not attend schools despite education plus text books and uniforms are provided free of charge to all needy and affluent children.
The government has decided to direct these children to schools and to make the village officer, the lowest rank administrative official, answerable if there is any child that is not attending school.
Meanwhile, several teacher activists pointed out that the above mentioned number can be more than the estimate of Census and Statics Department since there are many regular absentees in schools. These students are counted as those attending schools although they are not doing so.
A major reason for absenteeism and dropping out among school children is failing year end examinations and the students losing interest in schooling after failing to enter the next grade.
Many schools make students to repeat in grades but lacks programmes to improve them in the second year they stay in the same class. The attitudes of the teachers towards the repeaters are another reason for dropping out. Most teachers consider the failing students as a nuisance. Many children that lose the association of the peers fail to adjust to the new situation.
Many ignorant parents do not send their children to schools and direct them to earn a living through minor work due to poverty. Assistance and law enforcement is necessary for these families to make their children attend schools.
But that will not solve the problem. There is severe lack of good attitudes in the schools system towards slow progressing students. Principals and teachers are made to show good results and answerable to poor outcome compelling them to make the slow progressing students dropouts to save the heads of the principals and education officials.
It is not easy to get all students pass major competitive examinations. Focus should be to take all the students through the school education process. Failures should not be highlighted as the politicians, officials and media do now for petit gains.
See how many times it is reported that this number of schools has this amount of failures. The principals and teachers are needed to be monitored but not stressed to show the best outcome. There should be proper mechanism to attract and keep the slow progressing students in schools.
The schools are needed to be made places where love is distributed to the most needed instead of being melting pots of stress and competition.
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