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‘Smart class’ concept to pilot modernised education system: PM

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who went on an observational tour of the ‘smart class’ introduced at the Sri Jayawardenepura Maha Vidyalaya, Kotte yesterday is seen talking to the students. Picture by Nirosh Batapola.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said the country’s education sector will be modernised in keeping with the 21st century.

The Prime Minister participating on an observational tour of the ‘smart class’ introduced at Sri Jayawardenepura Maha Vidyalaya, Kotte said this concept pilots the modernised education system which will be established within the next 10 years.

As another step of modernisation, the government will provide tabs to Advanced Level students in the next year, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also said.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also said the proposed smart classrooms will be introduced to national schools around the country as well. Stressing the importance of information technology as a skill and a part of education, PM Wickremesinghe also said that it improves the human capital which is the largest resource Sri Lanka has.

“We will also provide the necessary teacher training facilities to realise this task. The government is also to make 13 years of school education compulsory while adding more technical subjects to the secondary education curricula.” Premier Wickremesinghe explained.

The Prime Minister stated that the concept of ‘smart classes’ will be tested with vocational training institutes as well.

“In a decade’s time, this new method will be fully available islandwide.” the Prime Minister said.

PM Wickremesinghe observed that the modernisation of education should have taken place a decade ago.

“When I was the Minister of Education in 1981-1982, we started providing computers to schools. But, unfortunately, even today, there are schools which lack computer facilities. The government took a decision to give tablets to school children in a background as such,” Premier Wickremesinghe explained.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the government has taken steps to re-establish the position of school-inspector, grading of Principals with a proper legal procedure and assign teachers to difficult schools.

The Prime Minister also commended Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva for pioneering the concept of smart classes. He noted that any government, despite whoever the leading political party, holds the responsibility of promoting education. “One of the main responsibilities taken up by this government is promoting education. We will do it in accordance with the 21 century we are in.” the PM observed.

Premier Wickremesinghe also noted that the government did not have sufficient funds to implement this programme due to large debts and payment deficit Sri Lanka was suffering from.

“However, we were able to implement this programme as a result of better economic conditions. Yet, the most difficult years for us will be 2017, 2018 and 2019. But, we will solve the issues and make progress and take the country forward,” he added.