“An invaluable addition to the scholarly literature on Sri Lankan social development” says Emeritus Professor Laksiri Jayasuriya, University of Western Australia; Foundation Professor of Sociology and Social Welfare and Dean Social Sciences, University of Ceylon, Colombo; and author of ‘Taking Social Development Seriously: The Experience of Sri Lanka’ and numerous other widely recognized publications.
“Taken in its totality, it brings out two irrefutable phenomena in the field of education policy formulation and implementation in Sri Lanka” says Deshamanya K.H.J.Wijayadasa, former Secretary to the President.


(The Island -October 11, 2013)

by Dr. B.S Wijeweera

Mr. Eric J. de Silva, a former Secretary at the Ministry of Education and a person who has through his several contributions to the English newspapers displayed an abiding interest in the well-being of school education in this country, has put out in book form, through the agency of Sarasavi Publishers, a valuable anthology on Education and Education Reforms using his own writings as the pivot to bind them together. It is a veritable storehouse of information on educational reforms that will be useful not only to scholars and researchers but also to informed persons who have the interests of the education system at heart.

He has interspersed the narrative with an astute critique of the way education policy has been formulated by successive governments – the major lament being that changes in education policy have been brought about in a purely ad hoc manner, with very little consultation with stake-holders, and peremptorily announced to the public through the media or from public platforms.

Of special interest to the reader would be the report of the workshop conducted by the Education Research and Study Group in January 1999, in which Group the author served as the Convener. The views expressed and recorded in the report form a wide spectrum of opinions on the restructuring of schools.

To those who are not Educationists and lack expertise in that field, perhaps the more interesting essays are the last two in the collection, which together cover more than one-third of the book. They deal with two momentous and far-reaching policy developments that evolved in the lead-up to national independence in 1948. They are the Kannangara Reforms including the "free education" policy and the establishment of Central Schools, and the development of a national university system beginning with the establishment of the University of Ceylon. These developments had very wide ramifications in the political, economic, and social spheres of the country – ramifications that are experienced to this day.

To strike a minor note in lighter vein there is anecdotal evidence in the book to demonstrate that there has been not only a "father of free education" but also foster-fathers and god-fathers!!


Courtesy : http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=89930


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