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2.2.12 Indicator 13 : Survival Rate to Grade 5 (Government Schools)

The rates were calculated for a reconstructed cohort of 1000 pupils admitted to grade 1 in 1990 based on enrolment in 1990/1991, and repeaters in 1991. To assess the current status similar data pertaining to 1997/1998 were used. In a cohort study it is assumed that there will be no additional pupils admitted (no new entrants) in subsequent years. This assumption holds true only for the country, with the exception of pupils being transferred to state schools from private schools. In Sri Lanka a large proportion of schools are type 3 (About 30%) and conduct classes only from grade 1 to 5. The pupils completing the primary cycle in these schools and those who qualify at the year 5 scholarship examination will in variably be enrolled in secondary schools. As a consequence pupils join schools in the same province or schools in other provinces. As statistical data pertaining to these

transfers are not maintained such transfers were assumed as zero in the calculation. Therefore this may reduce the reliability of rates calculated for provinces.

2.2.13. All Island Survival rate to Grade 5 (1997)

Out of the cohort of 1000 the total number of survivals, survivals with and without repetition and the drop outs are indicated in the following table

Table 16 : All Island Survivals to Grade 5, 1990 and 1997

Category

1990

1997

Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Total

Total Number of Survivals

949

932

941

968

962

965

Survivals without Repetitions

651

715

683

758

808

782

Survivals with repetition

299

217

258

210

154

183

Number of dropouts

51

68

60

32

38

35

Source – MEHE-EMIS

According to the Table 16 the total number of survivals to grade 5 were 968 for males, 962 for females and 965 for both sexes out of a cohort of 1000. This indicates that the survival rates to grade 5 are 96.5 percent, 96.2 percent and 96.5 percent respectively.

As is given in the above table out of a selected cohort 758 (75.8 percent) males have reached grade 5 without repetition and 210 (21.0 percent) reached grade 5 after repeating a class at least once and 32 (3.2 percent) dropped before reaching grade 5. Similarly the corresponding values for females are 808 (80.8 percent), 154 (15.4 percent), and 38 (3.8 percent) respectively. This indicates that wastage due to repetition for males is 21.0 percent and 15.4 percent for females; and wastage due to dropout are 3.2 percent for males and 3.8 percent for females.

When the two cohorts of 1990 and 1997 are compared, the total number of survivals has increased for males from 94.9 percent in 1990 to 96.8 percent in 1997. Similarly for females the is has increased from 93.2 percent to 96.2 percent.

With regard to wastage due to repetition, for males the survivals after repeating a class at least once was 29.9 percent in 1990. This has declined to 21.0 percent in 1997. Similarly, for females the rate has declined from 21.7 percent to 15.4 percent. Wastage due to dropouts too have decreased in 1997 as against 1990. The percentage of dropouts was 5.1 percent for males and 6.8 percent for females in 1990. This has decreased to 3.2 percent and 3.8 percent respectively in 1997. The Figure 5 illustrates the differences highlighted in the Table 16.

Figure 5 – Survivals of Grade 5 by gender, 1990 and 1997

Survivals for males and females taken together for the nine provinces are indicated in the table given below:

Table 17: Total Number of Survivals Out of a Cohort of 1000 by Province   1997

Category

Province

W

C

S

N

E

N.W

N. C

Uva

SAB

Total survivals

993

964

973

995

909

961

968

946

947

Survivals without Repetition

915

750

809

762

630

785

777

699

771

Survivals With Repetition

78

214

163

233

280

176

191

247

176

Number of Dropouts

7

36

27

5

91

39

32

54

53

Source : MEHE - EMIS

W – Western, C – Central, S – Southern, N – Northern, E – Eastern, N.W. – North Western, N.C. - North Central, SAB - Sabaragamuwa

Figure 6: Survivals by Province, 1997

In all the provinces the total number of survivals reaching grade 5 are above 90 percent. The rate in the Eastern province is the lowest (90.9 percent) and the best rate is from the Western Province (99.3 percent). When the survivals without repetition are compared among provinces, comparatively high rates are reported from the Western (91.5 percent) and Southern (80.9 percent) provinces. Five provinces namely Northern, North Western, North Central and Sabaragamuwa have rates around 75 percent. The lowest rates are seen in the Eastern (63.0 percent) and Uva (69.9 percent) provinces. Disparities could be seen in the percentage of pupils reaching grade 5 after repeating a class at least once. The wastage due to repetition is minimum in the Western province (7.8 percent).

Considerable wastage could be seen in the Eastern Province (28.0 percent), Uva (24.7 percent) Northern (23.3), Central (21.4 percent). Southern and Sabaragamuwa provinces have percentage around 17 percent. Dropouts are comparatively low in all provinces when compared with repeaters. Out of the cohort of 1000 (Male and Female) highest number of dropouts (91) are from the Eastern province and around 50 from Uva and Sabaragamuva provinces. Western province again records the lowest.

2.2.14 Indicator 14 : Coefficient of Efficiency (Government Schools)

The coefficient of efficiency as computed for 1997 is 90.4

The calculation of the coefficient efficiency was based on the flow of pupils of a reconstructed cohort of 1000 pupils that entered grade 1. This indicator was calculated for 1990 and 1997 cohorts through the EXCEL programme used for the calculation of survival rates (indicator 13). Therefore method/limitations for this indicator will be the same as those for survival rates.

The coefficient of Efficiency of the primary cycle, calculated for 1990 and 1997 is given in the table below :

Table 18 : Coefficient of Efficiency of the Primary Cycle, 1990 and 1997

Province

1990

1997

Western

93.1

96.8

Central

83.5

90.2

Southern

87.1

91.1

Northern

69.3

83.9

Eastern

89.8

79.9

North Western

90.1

90.8

North Central

90.8

91.1

Uva

82.5

87.1

Sabaragamuwa

85.9

90.0

Sri Lanka

86.8

90.4

Source – MEHE-EMIS

The coefficient of Efficiency at grade 5 for the nine provinces is given for both sexes in the table 19 and figure 8

Figure 7 : Co-efficient of efficiency of the primary cycle, 1990 and 1997

The success of efforts made towards education for all, after 1990, in respect of primary education could be partially measured by comparing this indicator at two points of the decade. The table 19 and the figure 8 clearly indicate that in 1997 Sri Lanka records a high index of efficiency; 89.2 percent for males and 91.7 percent for females. When the current status is compared with 1990, the efficiency had increased for males from 85.1 percent to 89.2 percent, for females from 88.5 percent to 91.7 percent and from 86.8 percent to 90.4 percent for both sexes. This also gives an indication of the wastage (about 10 percent) in the primary cycle due to repetition and dropout in 1997. It could also be seen that no significant difference exist among sexes.

Table 19 : Coefficient of Efficiency by provinces 1997

Province

Coefficient of Efficiency

 

Male

Female

Total

Western

96.6

97.1

96.8

Central

89.3

91.3

90.2

Southern

92.9

94.8

91.1

Northern

83.6

84.2

83.9

Eastern

77.3

82.6

79.9

North Western

89.9

91.8

90.8

North Central

90.0

92.3

91.1

Uva

85.3

89.0

87.1

Sabaragamuwa

87.9

92.2

90.0

Sri Lanka

89.2

91.7

90.4

Source – MEHE-EMIS

When compared with the index of 90.4 percent for the country, the Western Province has the best efficiency index of 96.8 percent. Northern (83.9 percent), Eastern (79.9 percent) and Uva (87.1 percent) provinces have comparatively low indices of efficiency.

Figure 8 : Provincial disparities in coefficient of effciency, 1997

The coefficient of internal efficiency of the country of the primary cycle has increased from 86.8 percent in 1990 to 90.4 percent in 1997. When the changes in the nine provinces are compared 1990 vis a vis 1997, the efficiency has increased in all the provinces except in the Eastern province where a decrease is seen from 89.8 percent to 79.9 percent. The increase in the Central province from 83.5 percent to 90.2 percent, and in the Uva province from 82.5 percent to 87.1 percent and in Sabaragamuwa from 85.9 percent to 90.0 percent are noteworthy.

2.3 Learning Achievement and Outcomes

Target : Improvement of Learning Achievement such that an agreed percentage of an appropriate age cohort (for example, 80 percent of 14 year olds) attains or surpasses a defined level of necessary learning achievement.

2.3.1 Achievement of Basic Learning Competencies

2.3.1.1 Background

Effective basic education provision results in high learning achievement levels. Depending on intended outcomes of education, countries take varying approaches to assess learning achievement. Some countries assess learning achievement in respect to mastery of the prescribed curricular as determined through examinations. Others assess mastery of a series of sequenced ‘ minimum learning competency levels’ or essential learning competencies’. Still others use standardized tests of basic skills, or tests of functional literacy, numeracy and life skills. The UNESCO/UNICEF Monotoring Learning Achievement (MLA) project has supported countries to define their own criteria of learning achievement. The project focusses on children with at least four years of schooling by which time they have developed sustainable literacy and numeracy skills.

Sri Lanka joined the Monitoring Learning Achievement Project in 1994, as a member of the second group of countries. In Sri Lanka, the primary school covers the five grades from one to five. Before 1999, this cycle was divided into two stages, i.e. Grades 1-3 as stage I and Grades 4-5 as stage II. A student seeking graduation at the primary cycle had to complete grade 5. Therefore, Grade 3 and Grade 5 were considered as the best terminal points at which the students are to be assessed. The guidelines agreed upon by the member countries and the guidance

given by the Basic Education Division of UNESCO were followed in the surveys carried out to assess the achievement levels at the end of the above two stages.

2.3.2. Learning Achievement Surveys Completed

Two surveys have been completed in Sri Lanka to assess the achievement levels of grade 05 children. The first was in 1994, and the second was in 1999. The target group of the survey completed in 1994, was the students who completed grade 5 in 1993. A national sample of 3991 students was selected from 204 schools. The target group of the 1999 study, was made of the students who completed grade 5 in 1998. A group of 8398 studetns was selected from 462 schools representing all 25 districts.

The tests designed for the surveys were in accordance with the guidelines given by the Basic Education division of UNESCO. The literacy test included items in vocabulary, comprehension and writing. The numeracy test included items on conceptual understanding, knowledge of procedures and problem solving. The life skills test included test items for sub-skills namely duties and responsibilities, science skills, environmental skills and health skills. In designing the achievement tests, syllabi used at primary cycle was also considered. In the 1999 survey, the achievement tests used were the same tests that were used in 1994. In the analysis of test results, students scoring 80 percent of the marks or above were considered as ones achieving mastery in each subject.

      1. Learning Achievement and Outcomes

Indicator 15 : Percentage of pupils having reached at least Grade 4 of Primary schooling who master a set of nationally defined basic learning competencies

As given in table 20 and illustrated in figures 9,10 and also in Map 5 all Island mean scores in Literacy for years 1994 and 1999 are 62 and 61 respectively. Mean scores in numeracy and life skills have shifted upward, from 45 to 50 and 27 to 55 respectively from 1994 to 1999. This improvement in performance is witnessed also by the up ward trend evident in percentages of students achieving mastery.

Table 20 : Mean Scores in Literacy, Numeracy and Life Skills by Province 1994 and 1999

Province

Literacy

Numeracy

Life Skills

1994

1999

1994

1999

1994

1999

Western

68

64

48

52

27

56

Central

58

62

42

51

26

54

Southern

64

59

45

49

26

54

Northern

66

57

48

51

27

53

Eastern

61

57

47

48

27

57

North Western

62

64

43

52

26

58

North Central

62

61

45

49

27

56

Uva

56

60

42

49

25

55

Sabaragamuwa

54

61

37

51

22

56

Sri Lanka

62

61

45

50

27

55

Source : Monitoring Learning Achievement Grade 5 Surveys 1994 and 1999

Figure 09 Mean Scores in Literacy, Numeracy and Life Skills – 1994 and 1999

The Western Province which had the highest mean value for literacy in 1994, has been able to maintain the same position in 1999 also. The North Western Province which was far below has progressed satisfactorily in 1999 and has been able to be at par with the Western Province. Sabaragamuwa Province which had the lowest mean value in 1994, has shown a considerable improvement in 1999. A decrease is evident for the Western Province in the percentage of students achieving mastery in literacy. The Sabaragamuwa and North Western Provinces have made remarkable improvements in achieving mastery. The Nothern, Eastern and Uva Provinces show very low achievement percentages in both surveys. The Western and Northern Provinces which showed higher mean values for numeracy in 1994, do not show a deviation from their positions in 1999. The Sabaragamuwa has shown a considerable improvement in 1999. Percentages achieving mastery in numeracy were very poor for all provinces in 1994. When compared with 1994, the 1999 percentages show a progress. The North Western Province also has made a significant improvement. In life skills, the mean scores for all provinces show an improvement in performance. Percentages of students achieving mastery in 1999 in Life skills, is much higher than that of 1994.

The case of North Western Province, improving the quality of the teaching - learning process was an important factor that had led to the observed increase in learning achievement. In the North Western province a special programme was carried out during the last few years to introduce and popularise the "learner centred approach" in teaching and learning. In this process "learning by doing" was emphasised to make the teachers and pupils more active. The appointment of a Deputy Director in-charge of primary education at the provincial office and Assistant Directors of Education and In-service Advisors in-charge of primary education at zonal level had provided an environment to create a productive supervisory network. Conducting training programmes for teachers and monitoring the progress in their activities had become more effective as a result of this organisational change. The main objective of this strategy was to improve schools by divisions. Teachers in primary mathematics and science were trained to use the primary mathematics and science kits supplied to schools by the government. This was one reason that led to an increase in the performance of teachers and the achievement of learners.

The language improvement programme launched for primary level students was another significant factor that had led to this improvement. A language kit designed to be used to identify the weaknesses of students, had been used for diagnosis of inabilities and also to take steps as remedial measures to improve the language ability of children. This intervention has paved the way for an improvement in their achievement in other subjects too. The exhibitions and competitions organised at school and zonal levels, related to all subject areas, added more flavour to the programme and had enhanced motivation in both teachers and learners. Another factor that has contributed to this effect was the implementation of the concept of "school family". According to this concept a few schools ( 3-5) situated in close proximity to one another were organized as a family of schools, where one of the principals was identified as the leader. This family serves as a quality assurance body by affording opportunities for the teachers and principals of primary schools to meet at a forum to discuss and share experiences. These deliberations have created a culture for self appraisal that leads to the enhancement of the overall achievement of students.

Figure 10 (not available)

Map 6 (not available)

Adult Literacy

Target : Reduction of the Adult Literacy Rate (the appropriate age - to be determined in each country) to, say, one-half its 1990 level by the year 2000, with sufficient emphasis on female literacy to significantly reduce the current disparity between male and female literacy rates

2.4.1. Background

The target of adult literacy seeks to assess the policy actions and measures taken in the country to meet the learning needs of various categories of adult learners, i.e. the population 15 years of age and above.

Adult literacy rate is defined as the percentage of the population aged 15 years and over who can both read and write with understanding a short statement of his/her every day life. A higher literacy rate reflects the existence of an effective primary education system and / or adult literacy programmes that have enabled a large proportion of the population to acquire the ability to use reading and writing with understanding in daily life.

2.4.2 Indicator 16 : Literacy Rate of 15 – 24 years Old

Literacy rate among the 15-24 year old is suggestive of the level of participation and retention in primary education and its effectiveness in imparting the basic skills of reading and writing. Since the persons belonging to this age group are entering adult life, their literacy level is an important dimension to consider in national human resource policies.

Literacy rate of 15-24 years old is defined as the number of persons aged 15-24 years who can both read and write with understanding a short simple statement divided by the total population in that age group. In national censuses and surveys, literacy has been measured by asking a whether a person can read and write, with understanding. Those who declare that they can read and write with understanding are considered literate. Literacy is measured as declared by the respondents and not by administering a literacy test.

The literacy rate of the 20-24 year age group has changed little in the past two decades. It is not possible to assess here whether this change is due to changes in measurement procedure or not. The main issue is that at the end of the decade of 1990s 20 percent of the 20-24 year population will remain illiterate.

Map No. 7 on Literacy Rate of 15 – 24 years old population shows how Sabaragamuwa and Central provinces differ from other provinces and records a larger percentage of illiterates.

2.4.3. Indicator 17 : Adult Literacy Rate : Percentage of the Population Aged 15+ that is literate

In Sri Lanka, the adult literacy rate in 1994 is 90 percent. The NEC (1992) planned to provide alternative structures of schooling to give a meaningful and adequate education for drop outs and non starters. The nonformal education unit of the Ministry of Education & Higher Education has been conducting literacy classes for these groups for a considerable period of time. In 1996, 8123 children were enrolled in 422 literacy classes in the country. But these could not cater to the entire target population. Jayaweera (1992) estimated the percentage enrolled in literacy classes to be less than 5% of the total group needing such education. Gunawardena (1996) in a study of a sample of literacy classes confirmed that only about 5% of functionally illiterate children were enrolled in these classes. The latter study also reported that on the basis of an assessment of literacy through a test, that approximately 56 percent of the rural children and 46 percent of the urban children in literacy classes only were able to read and write. The study found that the majority of the literacy class teachers were not adequately professionally trained, that curriculum materials were not adequately provided or on time, that the environment in the classes was not lively or attractive and that the attendance of the learners was poor an irregular.

Map no. 7 (not available)

This situation calls for an expansion of successful basic literacy, post-literacy and continuing education opportunities for the adult population. Adequate resources and infrastructures must be made available for such expansion. One reason for the appearant slow change in literacy is the changing age structure of the population. The presence of larger proportion of the older age group whose literacy levels are lower makes the overall literacy levels lower.

Map No. 8 Gives a picture on how Sabaragamuwa Province differs from other provinces in relation to the rate of Adult Literacy

2.4.4. Literacy Gender Parity Index

1ndicator 18 : Literacy Gender Parity Index : Ratio of Female to Male Literacy Rate

The Literacy Gender Parity Index which is the ratio of female to male adults literacy rate, measures progress towards gender equity in literacy and the level of learning opportunities available for women in relation to those available for men. It also is a measure of the empowerment of women in society. When the literacy gender parity index shows a value equal to 1, female and male literacy rates are equal.

Map 8 (not available)

The Gender parity Index over the years has gone up in Sri Lanka. This is because of the equal opportunities of access to basic education, which the Sri Lankan Education system has offered.

Table 21 : Literacy Gender Parity Index

Year

Male

Female

LGPI

1981

90

83

0.83

1984

90

83

0.83

1999

92

88

0.96

Source : MEHE -EMIS

Figure 11: Literacy Gender parity Index, 1981, 1984, 1994

(N.B. The latest population statistics available is for 1981. Data gathered through household surveys are available for 1984 and 1999. No national census has taken place since 1981.)

At subnational level gender difference exist in districts where over all adult literacy rate is low, such as in Nuwara Eliya and Moneragala. Such differences are also quite prominent in marginalize groups, as seen in the following Table 22.

Table 22 : Literacy Gender Parity Index Among disadvantage Groups

 

Male

Female

LGPI

 

Rural peasant

68

54

0.8

Rural working class

69

60

0.9

Urban slums

50

12

0.2

Urban working class

72

60

0.8

Fishing community

76

66

0.9

Plantation community

79

38

0.5

Source – Gunawardana et el, 1995

Figure 12: Literacy Gender Parity Index Among disadvantage Groups

As elaborated in the above tables and figures the Study in 1995 (Gunawardena, et.al. 1995) of deprived communities has shown that the female literacy in urban slums was as low as 12 percent and gender parity index for this group was 0.25.

2.5 Training in Essential Skills

Target : Expansion of Provision of Basic Education Training in other Essential Skills required by Youth and Adults, with programme effectiveness assessed in terms of behavioural changes and impacts on Health, Employment and Productivity.

Throughout the last five decades an important place is given for skill training in the secondary education span. It is evident that though all successive governments during the part 50 years were correctly thinking about the need for an education in practical skills, they had exhibited differences in their perception about what they should offer to students as practical subjects. Therefore the subjects introduced to the curriculum for skill training were changed from time to time as the ruling governments changed. This is a very crucial characteristic found in the skill training programmes at the school level in Sri Lanka.

During the past 50 years the following subjects have been introduced to the secondary school curriculum from time to time.

1945 Community education which emphasized practical work related to activities of the villagers.

1962 Technical subjects

1966 Work Experience

1972 Pre vocational Training

1977 Life Skills

By 1990, the subject Life Skills was taught as the main subject intended for training of skills in the Junior school level. At the senior school level students were given an education in technical subjects that included, Agriculture, Wood work, Weaving, Metal work, etc.

In 1997 according to the reforms introduced in the school system from Primary Grades to the Junior Secondary Level the following changes have been implemented.

a. Activity learning approach was introduced from 1998 as an important part of Primary Education. Pupils are encouraged to do things and learn through practical experience. They will make use of materials, simple tools and measuring devices and also learn to work together.

b. In Junior Secondary Education steps have been taken from 1999 to develop skills in relation to food, clothing, shelter, health, organisation, information and communication. These activities will be supported by the establishment of Activity Rooms in each school, provided with appropriate basic equipment and tools.

c. Science and Technology as a subject will be taught at the G.C.E (O.L) from the year 2000 on a revised and modified syllabus.

d. A new Technology stream will be introduced at the G.C.E. (A.L) in 2001 with bias towards Agriculture, Industry, Commerce, Services and Professional fields.

e. Practical work and project work has been introduced in 1999 as these activities will contribute greatly to the development of technical capabilities.

2.6. Education for Better Living

Target : Increased acquisition by individuals and families of the knowledge, skills and values required for better living and sound and sustainable development, made available through all education channels including the Mass media, other forms of modern and traditional communication, and social action, with effectiveness assessed in terms of behavioural change

Education has been used as a vehicle for developing conditions for better living. This tendency was found in the provision of education even before country’s participation in the Jomtien Conference. Every step taken for widening the opportunities of primary education is based on the motive of providing conducive conditions for better living.

The National Goals which provide the basis for the reforms effected from 1998 explains how the reforms in the system of education aims at changing the conditions needed for better living.

  • a. The achievement of National Cohesion, National Integrity and National Unity

  • b The establishment of a pervasive pattern of Social Justice

  • c The evolution of a Sustainable Pattern of Living – A Sustainable Life Style which is vital for the year 2000 and beyond when, for the first time in the history of mankind even air and water cannot be taken for granted.

  • d The generation of Work Opportunities, those that are at one and the same time, dignified, satisfying and self-fulfilling.

  • e In the above framework the institution of a variety of possibilities for All to Participate in Human Resources Development, leading to cumulative structures of growth for the nation.

  • f The active partnership in Nation Building activities should ensure the nurturing of a continuous sense of Deep and Abiding concern for One another.

  • g In a rapidly changing world, such as we live in today, it is imperative to cultivate and evolve elements of adaptability to change -: Learn to Adapt to Changing Situations. This must be coupled with the competencies to guide change for the betterment of oneself and of others.

  • h The cultivation of the Capacity to cope with the Complex and the Unforeseen, achieving a sense of security and stability.

  • i The development of those competencies linked to Securing an Honourable Place in the international community.

  • The changes effected in the methodologies of teaching, revisions made in the curriculum, syllabi, and the co-curricular activities are expected to enhance the personality qualities of students that would lead to better standards of life.

    The competencies affiliated to the above goals further indicate how new education changes are aiming to develop quality of life of people. The following are the five basic competencies expected to be developed through the new system of education


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