The decision to gradually reopen Sri Lankan schools – which have been shut for close to 20 months since COVID-19 first struck – is a welcome move. As of September 2021, 93% of countries had reopened schools either completely or partially, making Sri Lanka one of the last to do so. The decision to devote the next six months to recovering learning losses, giving precedence to essential syllabus areas and decision-making flexibility to schools, is encouraging news. This blog provides some insights into the current education recovery practices being adopted globally and draws attention to some important areas that can be incorporated into the current strategies being devised in Sri Lanka.
In what has been recognised as the world’s largest educational crisis, the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in a record number of students being forced to stay away from schools and universities. This blog examines the effectiveness of distance education in Sri Lanka, from the perspectives of inclusion and quality, and explores policy measures that can deliver and sustain more equitable and effective learning outcomes, beyond COVID-19.
Meeting Challenges in a New World of Work: How Prepared is South Asia for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
One of the plenary sessions at the 12th South Asia Economic Summit (SAES XII), organised by the IPS, deliberated on how best to meet emerging challenges in a technology-led, new world of work, in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The panellists discussed how South Asian labour markets will be impacted by the 4IR and what the required policy responses should be in this new reality.
In response to changing skills requirements in the 4IR, new and effective forms of e-learning are being adopted worldwide. Sri Lanka has launched an initiative to develop smart classrooms (SCs) in several schools across the country. Such technologies allow for the installation of interactive tools or applications, uploading homegrown content, and downloading interactive content online, and encourage more critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary in a digital economy. Ashani Abayasekara takes a look at current SC projects in Sri Lanka, with the aim of assessing their role in driving the education sector forward in a 4IR era.
Poor quality education systems are a main underlying cause for the ‘learning crisis’. Education systems fail to function effectively due to both ‘misalignment’ and ‘incoherence’, which, if left unaddressed, impede the effectiveness of interventions to improve learning implemented at the school and student levels. Therefore, the author argues that, countries like Sri Lanka cannot simply borrow system elements from other countries and expect them to work well in the home context, without first improving the education system.