Schoolgirl carrying books, surrounded by garbage. Vihara Maha Devi, before they started fixing it.
I recently read two education stories. One was about a 13 year old student beaten in front of the whole class. The other was about a scholarship student who refused to bow to the Education Minister (literally). The last story is much more heartening.
I studied in Mullaitivu under great difficulties. I had to study while staying in camps. I don’t want to fall at the feet of anybody except my parents” he said to the news reporters who questioned him about the incident. (Daily Mirror)
Note that bowing is not unusual. I still bow to my grandmother and many people still bow to their parents. It’s generally a sign of respect which I think is fine, in that spirit. I’ve never bowed before anyone but family or monks or people that I wanted to bow to and I think young Parameswaran Sethuragavan has a point.
Sri Lankan education, founded on the British system, often terrorizes students. Watch The Report (a short film by students at the Jaffna Film Camp) for an idea of the fear associated with education. A teacher also recently told me that the Sri Lankan student suicide rate is off the already high charts. This seems to be true.
Sri Lanka had an extraordinarily high suicide rate in the 15-19 age group: at 46.5/100,000, it was more than six times the mean rate. (World Psychiatry)
The social contract is also broken in that, even if you pass the gauntlet, study and pass O/Levels, A/Levels and University, all you get is higher unemployment.
The overall rate of unemployment has decreased from double digit levels of the 1970s to a moderate level of 4.5 per cent at the end of last year. However, unemployment among those who had GCE Advanced Level or above was more than double at 10.8 per cent. Graduate unemployment is high and female graduate unemployment is higher than that of males. The highest unemployment rate was reported from the G.C.E (A/L) and above group which was about 10.8 per cent. (Sunday Times
This is obviously backwards of the way it should be. I and many people say that the non-war plagued youth can rebuild the country, but to put that responsibility on them, we really need to educate them properly. Until then, I don’t see why Sri Lankan students need to bow to anyone but their parents.