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It was entirely appropriate that the first adjournment motion brought by government, in this new era of peace, was on Education. Many problems, and therefore much animosity, arose because of a lack of opportunity for advancement. In particular wide regional disparities gave rise to resentment that expressed itself through ethnic as well as political tensions.

Since the country has now embarked on a new era of development, with concentration on infrastructure throughout the country, we need to make sure that human resource development keeps pace with this. We need therefore to review the current educational system, build on the strengths it undoubtedly has, and make up for the inadequacies that are increasingly becoming obvious in the context of rapid social change.

For this we need to make sure that we understand the role of the state in education, in terms of what it needs to supply as well as how it should monitor. This last is important because the state cannot supply all needs. This has always been true, but it is understandable that some believed in the past that the state could, and should, have a monopoly on basic education. It was stretching credulity however to believe that this monopoly could extend to education at all levels and in all fields. Today, certainly, with increasing demands on the system, any form of monopoly is unthinkable.  

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Rajiva Wijesinha

May 2010
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