The four A/L stars
HARSHA: Maintains balance between studies and extra curricular
Harsha Dissanayake, 19, of Nalanda College, Colombo excelled in Bio
Science becoming island first at the G.C.E. A levels this year. Harsha
did not concentrate only on studies during his school years but also
participated in various activities in school.
"Mainly I enjoy reading books. Apart from that, I watch television
and I am interested in cricket and football matches. I watch them
whenever I get the chance," said Harsha talking about his hobbies.
He was involved in table tennis and has won colours. "I continued to
play table tennis even though I had to study. I was also a member of the
junior band and was a cub scout from 1995 -1999," Harsha said talking
about his school days.
"Being the Western Music Association Secretary gave me a lot of
experience. I was the leader of the science quiz team and I held this
post during my A/Ls also," he said.
Harsha never expected to become island first. All he wanted was to
get enough marks to enter the Medical College. His hard work and
determination brought him what he deserved.
"I am happy about what I have achieved. I maintained a balance
between studies and extra curricular activities," he said.
Harsha's parents are both doctors and paved the way for their only
child to follow their footsteps. "They were my biggest support. They
bought me all the books and clarified any doubts that I had. My teachers
also helped me a lot to achieve this standard," Harsha said with
gratitude. Harsha has a great task ahead of him. He is eagerly waiting
to go to Medical College. He added that he would restart playing table
RASANGA: Loves reading books and watching movies
Rasanga Waliwatthe Perera, 19, is another Nalandian who showed his
colours becoming the top of the commerce stream. Rasanga was also
involved in extra curricular activities in school and has held many
posts, which enriched his life.
"I was in the junior band and was the President of the Buddhist
Association. I was also the Assistant Secretary of the Commerce Society.
All these posts gave me new experiences and I enjoyed taking part in
other activities," Rasanga explained.
Rasanga loves to read books and watch movies. "They are my hobbies. I
didn't expect to be island first but I did expect good results, as I
wanted to enter the university. I am delighted that I was able to
achieve more than that," he said joyfully.
Rasanga is the eldest in the family. His brother is studying in the
commerce stream at Nalanda College while his sister is a student of
Visakha Vidyalaya. "I help my brother in his studies as he is taking up
the same subjects," Rasanga said.
Rasanga is at present preparing for the CIMA examination which will
be in November. He hopes to enter university and do higher studies to
fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a Manager. Besides his studies
Rasanga enjoys playing tennis.
MANUDHA: Worked according to a timetable.
Manudha Herath, 18, of Royal College, Colombo showed his talent by
becoming island first in the Mathematics stream. Manudha delighted at
his achievement says that it wasn't difficult as he worked according to
a timetable. Manudha still serves his school as a prefect.
"I enjoy playing cricket and badminton. I listen to music in my
leisure," Manudha said. Manudha has been a Cub Scout and a President's
Scout. He has also served as an instructor.
"I played chess in school and won medals. The most important thing
was winning four gold medals at the National School Championships. In
2003 and 2004 I won school colours and I've won provincial colours too,"
Manudha said about his victorious moments.
He has participated in quizzes being in the Mathematics Society.
" My parents supported me in achieving this. I had no responsibility
at home. I only had to concentrate on my studies," Manudha explained.
Manudha has an elder sister who is studying management in Australia.
He did not forget to mention about his pet dog Terry. He is planning to
be an automobile engineer in the future.
MADHAWEE: Parents were against decision to follow studies in Arts.
Madhawee Nishaminee Fernando, 19, is the student from Girl's High
School, Kandy who became the Island first in the Arts stream. She is
from a family of four. Both her parents are engineers while her brother
is a student at Kingswood College, Kandy.
Madhawee had followed English, French and Economics for her Advanced
Levels. She said both her parents and teachers had been against her
decision to follow her studies in Arts. Finally, she had succeeded in
winning their consent.
"I did not calculate the number of hours I worked. I had a work plan.
Though there were some days that I hardly spared time to study, I always
stuck by my work plan," she said.
Madhawee had been an active student in the school's aesthetic
activities. She had engaged in creative writing and had taken part in
English Day competitions and oratory. She had been the leader of the
school's debating team and the secretary of the Interact Club. She had
played netball but did not have the passion to pursue it.
Does she think tuition classes benefit students in their studies?
"Yes, they were an aid to me in facing the competitiveness of the
exam," she replied.
And what does she feel about her achievement?
"To tell you the truth, I was feeling drowsy and was asleep when the
results were released on the internet. It was my mother who gave me the
news. I was stunned and could not believe that it was actually me,!" she
Madhawee's interests are reading poetry, watching Hindi movies, and
listening to songs. She loves to read English novels.
Madhawee prefers English novels to Sinhalese ones because she finds
that most Sinhala novels are naive and lack variety. Her favourite novel
at the moment is Harper Lee's To kill a Mockingbird.
Queried on how she prepared for the paper on general knowledge,
Madhawee confessed that it was the paper she was least prepared for. She
plans to obtain a degree in English, study law and international
relations. She expresses her gratitude to all her teachers at school who
helped her achieve success.
Tuition classes - do we need them?
In a school, students learn the subject matter through their
teachers, who train them for examinations, give exercises to practise
and conduct monthly and term-end examinations to judge the standards of
their students. After analysing we can see that the tutors repeat the
role of the school teacher in the afternoon.
If a student is weak in studies or cannot understand what the school
teacher had taught, it is acceptable that he or she should follow
tuition classes to maintain the required educational standards. But, ask
yourselves, whether it is the reality?
Every afternoon, we see hundreds of school children hurrying for
their tuition classes; most in their uniforms. Are all of us so
incapable? Tuition being the trend, students crawl to their classes
perhaps unwillingly. After six hours in school though there is a break
in the middle - children have to work somemore at a stretch, afterschool
to fulfil their satisfaction, as well as their parents'.
Some may argue that listening to a lecture on the same topic for a
second time would help the children to understand and remember. But,
when the brain is too tired, it does not function properly. Therefore,
only 50 per cent or less of what is being taught is taken by the brain.
When children attend many extra classes, they do not have time to
spend self-studying and at times to do their home work. In addition,
children would not have spare time to devote to their leisure activities
which would help them to get rid of stress amidst all serious work.
Moreover, those who do extra-curricular activities, will have to
struggle in that field, which will not, at all help them relax.
Going deeper into the subject, we see that tuition has now become a
I fully agree, depending on the increasing demand and
competitiveness, children have no option other than seeking for help
from a tutor. However, this will only affect those who are to sit for
Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations - some may even include the
grade five scholarship examination.
My question is, why do the rest go for tuition? Nowadays there is a
rapid increase in the number of small children attending tuition
Besides, there is nobody to stand against this and bring up
alternatives to find a solution for this serious problem.
With time, the mind would adapt to the new routine and like to study.
This would help the young generation in their higher education in the
future since self-studying plays an important role in life once they
Next, if there are any doubts, simply refer a book, consult the
subject teacher or speak to a friend for clarifications; perhaps an
explanation from a senior student would have a good effect.
Then teachers too will have to work harder, because there will be no
tutors to help students to get outstanding results which will bring
credit to them, and the teachers will have to work to make their
Certainly, there should be a complete change and it is us who will
have to take the turn. If there is no one to change this trend, it will
continue for ever. So, we must try hard ourselves to study on our own,
help each other, which would eventually make teachers help us a lot more
than it is now. We must not forget that there are teachers who are
always willing to help their students.
There would be a better effect of self-studying rather than sitting
in front of a black or a white board and listening to the tutor. So,
lets be courageous, help each other and win the race. Eventually this
would certainly play a major role in trying to build a better world.