Written by Bella Dalima
19 Dec, 2013 | 12:16 am
The cut-off marks for the enrollment of students to Grade 6 of popular schools, based on the results of the Year 5 Scholarship Examination held this August, were released on Tuesday night.
The intention of the pioneer of the Year 5 Scholarship Examination, Late Minister Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara, was to ensure that power and wealth would not come in the way in ensuring a better scope of education for underprivileged and talented students from rural areas.
In addition to the Year 5 Scholarship Examination, if successive government had taken steps to implement measures taken in the former part of the 1940s, as intended, even after independence, then there is a possibility that the school system in the country would have progressed to ensure minimum disparity between rural and urban education, undermining the need for a Year 5 Scholarship Examination.
Given that there has been a widening in the disparity rather than progress, the Year 5 Scholarship Examination has now become a rat race of a competition for both children and parents alike.
Although students who pass the examination receive a scholarship, the parents’ primary concern is having their children enrolled in a popular school and not the scholarship itself.
While these popular schools are simply schools that have received the label of popular as per the whim of education authorities, they are not school that were created through the distribution of material and human resources by the education authorities.
Underprivileged children and their parents engage in the rat race, targeting popular schools created in this manner.
However, the cut-off marks released make it evident that these underprivileged children will not be able to gain enrollment into several popular urban schools which are preferred for their material and human resources.
These include the boys schools as Rahula in Matara, Kingswood in Kandy, Isipatana and Ashoka in Colombo, and St. Servatius in Matara.
Given the fact that compared to the 149 popular schools listed in the Year 5 Scholarships over the past six years, there are now 167 popular schools. It would appear that authorities have created popular schools as per their whim, closing the doors of the preferred popular schools of the parents and children.
It would appear that six popular boys schools which have made arrangements to accept students who have passed the Year 5 Scholarship Examination, will not be doing so this time around, given that the Ministry of Education has not released the cut-off marks for these schools.
The number of vacancies for Year 5 Scholarship students at the 167 schools for which cut-off marks have been released, has also not been announced. As a result, some students who are qualified to enter certain popular schools as per the cut-off marks, will now have to face additional hurdles.
The creation of such a competition would completely undermine the fundamentals of the Year 5 Scholarship Examination. Against such a backdrop, how, did vacancies reserved for Year 5 Scholarship Students at some schools, fill up before hand?
Shouldn’t education authorities who allowed the issue to come to this pass, be called upon to serve justice to the students themselves?
Secretary to the President, this is over to you.
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