Year One admissions poser
Year One admissions, a
tormenting issue for most young parents, is at last being dealt
with systematically by the State and the relevant agencies. The
National Education Commission, for instance, has just handed
over its recommendations to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on this
Prior to touching on the issue of Year One admissions per se,
we believe it is relevant to dwell on some background questions
which relate closely to it.
As we see it, the scramble for admissions to a few so-called
good schools, which are mainly urban based, has its roots in the
continuing lack of good educational opportunities islandwide.
An explicit objective of the Free Education scheme, over
which many a fine thing is said, is the provision of educational
opportunities for all in this country, whether big or small.
We certainly do offer even a semblance of opportunity to all
to pursue a primary and secondary education but the problem that
has bedevilled this country is that some schools in the system
have been better endowed than others, particularly in the case
of urban based schools. Consequently, a few schools have been
upgraded over others and are considered the topmost institutions
in the system.
Accordingly, there is a frenzy among parents to have their
children admitted to these “chosen few” among schools.
They could not be judged harshly on this score because the
human tendency is to seek out what is considered best for one’s
Therefore, on the face of it, what needs to be done is to
steadily upgrade our schools, wherever they may be, to the
position of schools which could meet the necessary educational
standards set for primary and secondary schools.
Ideally, every Divisional Secretariat area needs to be
endowed with a fully upgraded school, so that parents would not
be compelled to join the rat race for “prestigious” urban-based
Why cannot this be done? Why cannot the regional and even
Divisional Secretariat-level imbalances in the provision of
educational resources and infrastructure be steadily bridged?
If these tasks are met, we are certain that the scramble
would not be so great and ugly for a few “good schools”.
On the question of Year One admissions, we urge that
equitable rules and regulations be evolved to meet the
There needs to be strictly enforced the ‘area rule’, for
example, that ensures that students of a particular area and
neighbourhood need not travel for miles and miles, to meet their
The need is also paramount to recognise merit in the
admission of students. Those who fare well at public
examinations need to be always provided an opportunity to learn.