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One of the issues that comes up again and again in the Human Rights Action Plan is the need for reforms in education and training. This is obviously connected with the ‘variance in the quality of education’ in different areas, which entrenches iniquity, but in addition there are several instances in which the Plan notes the need for different and better training, so as to produce personnel able to promote rights based action.

Workshop organised by the Young Liberals

That the public at large understand this issue became clear to me when I participated in a workshop organized by the Young Liberals. This was a satisfying experience because, after some years away from teaching, it was refreshing to have a range of young people addressing issues and ideas with enthusiasm and keen interest. I should note that I have felt a similar satisfaction at the openness with which participants at our Divisional Secretariat Reconciliation Committee meetings raise issues, but the additional bonus of having fresh ideas from youngsters on an intensive scale was particularly rewarding.

When asked to highlight three areas in which reforms were urgently needed, all groups put educational reforms at the top of the list. A couple of groups fleshed this out in referring to the need for reform not only of basic education but of all types, and in suggesting that we needed to go beyond traditional.
This would have pleased the Secretary to the Ministry of Science and Technology, perhaps the most experienced public servant we have in the field of plan formulation and implementation and above all monitoring, who commented, at the special consultation the Task Force on the Action Plan held on education, that it was essential that we start thinking outside the box.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

June 2012
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