Every parent has the desire to give his or her child the best possible education. The platform to give such primary and secondary education is the country’s school network. It is a well-known fact that there is a huge disparity between urban and rural schools when it comes to facilities for learning and sports.
The current fight by the government medical officers to get popular schools for their children is part of that issue. There is a great demand for the few well-established and popular schools both in Colombo and in provincial cities.
In a country where an organized system of education has a long history and education is widespread and sought by the majority of the people as the only means of climbing up the social ladder, competition for quality is fair and understandable.
As a result many criteria have been formulated for school admission and what is in force today are area rule which entitles children living within a certain radius from a school to be admitted and old boys union or old girls union quotas and entry through year-five competitive exam.
The stiff competition has resulted in many other ways of entry to popular schools some of which are unethical and illegal like bribery, political influence and bogus residential certificates to come within the mandatory radius from a school.
In the developed countries the facility gap among schools is not so wide and while very prestigious schools are there for the cream of the elite, most people seem to be happy with the nearest school.
If we are to bring about that kind of situation in our country, as a first step we need to provide equal facilities in schools at least for learning English language skills, information technology and science and sporting activities which are very much in demand. That seems to be the only way to reduce the undue competition which otherwise becomes worse in the future.
The country’s International schools network although much criticized by various quarters has resolved this problem to a great extent and that shows simultaneous expansion of private sector education is much needed especially in the context the State finds it difficult to allocate more resources for the education sector.