No online education for 60% students: Teachers
Government claims only 12% of students lack access
By Dinitha Rathnayake
While the Government maintains that only 12% of the student population had no access to online education, the Ceylon Teachers’ Union yesterday (23) said that a staggering 60% of students have not received education.
Speaking to The Morning, Ceylon Teachers’ Union General Secretary Joseph Stalin said that the current Government was not successful at giving online education for school children and providing them with the required equipment.
However, earlier this week, Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said that only 12% of students had no access to those programmes. He stated this while announcing that provincial education centres would be established for the benefit of students unable to engage in online education due to various issues faced by them, amidst the pandemic.
Addressing the media, he said that schoolchildren had to cover the syllabus online as schools were closed due to Covid-19, and that in order to facilitate their education, television programmes such as “Guru Gedara” and “E-Thaksalawa” through the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation had been organised for teachers through “virtual classrooms” on the E-Thaksalawa programme, which has over 6,500 lessons that are accessed by around 250,000 persons a day, where last month, the lessons were accessed by 3.5 million.
According to Stalin, the best option is to introduce study packs and to use television as the mainstream media instead for online education.
“Youth and Sports Minister and Digital Technology and Enterprise Development State Minister Namal Rajapaksa requested that a programme be prepared to provide a suitable mobile phone device for the education of children engaged in online learning activities in the midst of economic difficulties. It is funny that the Government is looking for options after one-and-a-half years. They knew that the students from rural areas don’t have these facilities. Most of the parents struggle to afford data charges,” Stalin added.
Meanwhile, Minister Namal Rajapaksa has instructed to accelerate the project to provide education opportunities free of charge through the E-Thaksalawa programme to all children who are engaged in studies through the online methodology due to the Covid-19 pandemic, without internet service charges.
However, according to Stalin, remote learning is not new in other countries, and most countries already have vibrant online e-commerce platforms even in India. In that sense, Sri Lanka was lagging behind compared to other nations until the pandemic forced schools and educational institutes to go online, he noted.