HRCSL probes al­leged O/Level ban on 40 stu­dents

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS - By Chris­han­thi Christo­pher

The Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) is in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­le­ga­tions that some na­tional schools in the Cen­tral Province are not al­low­ing around 40 stu­dents to sity the Or­di­nary Level Ex­am­i­na­tion in December, in a ploy to boost their per­for­mance rat­ings.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion fol­lows news­pa­per re­portswhich claimed that some Cen­tral Province schools are urg­ing par­ents to pull out their chil­dren from sit­ting the Or­di­nary Level ex­am­i­na­tion on the grounds that they are not ready for it.

In an in­quiry con­ducted on Fri­day, it was re­vealed that, in an ef­fort to boost the im­age of their schools, prin­ci­pals and teach­ers in the Nuwara Eliya District were lay­ing off stu­dents who per­formed poorly in school ex­am­i­na­tions.

HRCSL official Ni­hal Chan­drasiri said the probe so far had re­vealed that school au­thor­i­ties in a move to show that the with­drawal of stu­dents from the exam was vol­un­tary, had re­quested par­ents to in­form them, in writ­ing, that they did not want their chil­dren to sit for the O/Lev­els.

"This is a vi­o­la­tion of the fun­da­men­tal right to ed­u­ca­tion," he said.

A Cey­lon Teach­ers Union ( CTU) rep­re­sen­ta­tive, who was present at the in­quiry, said a ran­dom check by the Cen­tral Province Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry's zonal of­fice had re­vealed that the prac­tice was wide­spread in the province.

"It has tran­spired that this has been hap­pen­ing since 2016 in schools in the Cen­tral Province," the union's Gen­eral Sec­re­tary, Joseph Stalin, said.

This kind of move dis­cour­ages stu­dents from con­tin­u­ing their stud­ies and they of­ten be­come dropouts. Par­ents, who are fi­nan­cially able, send their chil­dren for pri­vate tu­ition and make them sit the ex­ams, he said.

"This must stop and the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry should take im­me­di­ate ac­tion to pe­nalise those who deny a stu­dent's right to ed­u­ca­tion," he said.

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