Government has signed an agreement for a loan project of US$ 60.7 Mn Loan to ensure school children well trained with the vocational skills to serve tourists, our sources revealed.
The OPEC Fund for International Development, OFID, has signed a US$50 million public sector loan agreement with Lankan authorities to support the what they call Technological Education Development Programme, which aims to improve the provision of technology disciplines in more than 300 secondary schools. However he subjects introduced under the proposed training scheme are meant for serving the tourists from around the world. Government has planned to improve tourism to cover economic targets so as to increase foreign investments. The infrastructure are being ready by way of more and more loans, manpower fit for serving the expected hundreds thousands of foreign tourists are to be supplied from those who pass GCE Ordinary Level Examination.
It is learnt that the government has signed the loan agreement with OPEC Fund for International Development, (OFID) worth of US$50 million public sector loan. The idea is to restructure the country’s Technological Education by introducing a Technical Education Programme, which aims to improve the provision of technology disciplines in selected secondary schools. The agreement was signed by Suleiman J Al-Herbish, OFID Director-General, and Dr. Ranepura Hewage Samantha Samaratunga, Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media of Sri Lanka.
At the signing ceremony, Dr. Samaratunga explained the importance of vocational training in science, technology, research and other areas in helping to boost Sri Lanka’s development Sri Lanka’s educational programme includes the construction of new buildings and the renovation of existing facilities, as well as upgrading/purchasing equipment. Also envisaged is a capacity-building component for teachers, education officers and curriculum developers. By helping develop pathways from secondary education to vocational training, the programme is expected to boost youth employability in productive disciplines. It is expected that that approximately 10,000 students per year will benefit from the programme, as well as 1,600 administrators and teachers.
The 26 advanced level subjects to be introduced under the programme would wary from,tourist hospitality to hairdressing. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam the government minister of education explains the new programme as “13 Year Continuous Education”. Almost all the students have from time immemorial being educated from 6year to 19 even in the existing process of education. However the government wanted their deception covered merely by a new label. In the existing process, Ordinary Level students have to go through an academic education in different subject fields which according to the specific field aimed at generating persons fit for any vocation pertaining to the filed. But the newly introduced 26 subjects are nothing to do with academic proficiency, but all of them are directly inline with specific vocations to serve tourists. This has been the objectives of the education reforms attempted to initiate again and again by consecutive governments. However, protest from among the ranks of scholars of education, teachers, parents and of course student movement discouraged the authorities to cut down the amount of students seek academic education and thereby divert them for tourist services.