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NCP: 20 pc of students can't read and write

2013 Aug 10

By Dasun Edirisinghe and Prasanna Silva, Dimbulagala Corr.

Around 20 percent of children from Grade Six to Eleven in the North Central Province could neither read nor write their mother tongue properly, Provincial Education Minister Peshala Jayaratne said yesterday.

He told The Island that a survey conducted with the help of school teachers during the first six months of the current year had revealed the shocking truth.

Minister Jayaratne said that there were 786 schools including 10 under the purview of the government in the Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura Districts and every class had seven to ten backward students.

The minister said that according to the survey the trend had taken a turn for the worse during the past few years.

"We have identified the lack of qualified teachers as the main reason for children’s poor performance and poor primary education in the province," the Minister said, adding that most schools were dependent on teaching assistants.

Minister Jayaratne said that there were about 16,000 teachers in the province and a programme had been launched to train those who needed training at Colleges of Education.

At present 1,000 teachers were being trained at Colleges of Education, he said.

About 47 percent candidates who sat the GCE O/L examination had passed in 2012 and that figure was partly attributable to the good performance of students in urban areas of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, Minister Jayaratne said.

Minister Jayaratne said that his ministry had already started extra classes to teach mother tongue from 9.00 am to 4.00pm for 16,000 students who would sit the GCE (Ordinary Level) examination in December.

The minister said they would also start language camps for weak students shortly.

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