IS IT AN ORGAISED MAFIA ?
When clouds gather in high skies, they are usually accompanied by rain, lightning, and thunder. In the same manner, education too should be accompanied by wisdom, knowledge, and intelligence. Children of today are going to be the future citizens of this nation.
The responsibility rests entirely on the Government to have an effective education policy to shape the young minds into a moral society. Therefore, the foundation has to be laid from the kindergarten to establish progressive learning skills in schools.
Present-day children haven't got 'a childhood' as such in Sri Lanka! Children come on to streets at the crack of dawn, and return home pretty late in the afternoon, utterly fatigued. In such a scenario, how can anyone call children having a childhood? This is because parents want their children to progress in life. So, the child who wakes up early in the morning has to go through an exhaustive day, before returning home dog-tired in the evening.
In the bygone era, dedicated teachers did not believe in ruining childhood by overloading children with exhaustive homework. Today, not only the innocent children, but their parents too have to assist them in spending hours on end to complete such tasks and, thereby ending themselves completely stressed out! This, in a way, does not help to develop the bond between child and parent, as it tends to override parents' responsibility too, in observing children's activities closely, according to modern psychologists.
In the past, children were made to believe in the maxim, "Work while you work, play while you play, that is the only way to be happy and gay". Such theories have flown through the window today, but even the word 'gay', has changed its centuries-old meaning ('carefree'), to a new identity to classify homosexuals! In the meanwhile, both tuition masters and parents alike have adopted the aphorism 'after school straight into private tuition classes'.
Modern day children are faced not only with academic competition, as every parent's dream is to transform his child into a professional in the Sri Lankan society. This very fact restricts the opportunity for children to enter universities due to Sri Lanka's present education policy. In the meanwhile, certain sections of the society are totally against the establishment of private medical universities yet, they prefer to send their children abroad for higher studies spending fortunes, even after selling their lands, or mortgaging their properties! This not only makes such children, who qualify overseas, finding jobs in the world market, when not only parents' dreams get shattered but Sri Lanka having to bear thousands of foreign exchange drain. Such brain drain makes Sri Lanka's loss, a gain for foreign counties.
The government has been in slumber all this while failing to take remedial action in monitoring and to adopt stern action against mushrooming 'money making' private tuition masters, who have successfully managed to create a tax-free industry. The lack of monitoring and curbing of such private tuition classes by the Department of Education has paved the way for any Tom, Dick and Harry (or Harriet) to advertise with colourful advertisements and TV propaganda (akin to politicians), and start earning money, while taking even the brightest children, as well as their parents, for a ride. Despite such Commercialisation, it's a pity that the Inland Revenue Department is groping in the dark still, with only making preparations and designing of complex tax return forms to raise government income across the board.
It is apparent that a system of charging exists calling it the 'Super Grade', where grouping is done up to 20 students and charged at the rate of Rs 1,000 per student. Normal Grades are charged at the rate of Rs 500-Rs 750, with a maximum class limiting to 50-60 students. Despite these fees, it appears that an enrolment fee is also levied additionally. What is incorrect is when some tuition masters use a microphone and loudspeakers at times to deliver their lectures! How could a child, for instance, learn to pronounce English properly, when such lectures are amplified through a microphone? After all, it depends on the accent of the tuition master itself!
Many parents are of the opinion that if teachers in school discharge their legal and moral obligation to dispense with their knowledge to the young, there is no need for any child (unless he/she is an idiot) to attend tuition classes. What is more bewildering is to hear, from parents, how some tuition masters make it compulsory for children to attend tuition classes even during school holidays (with the exception of students who sit exams!). Such procedures make parents pawns by unscrupulous tuition masters, as parents become tongue tight, to speak out, thinking it would have an adverse effect on their child. Personally known to the writer, such arrangements made some parents to take their children for tuition classes even during the recent Christmas holiday break in Matara.
Some parents claims that certain tuition masters (who are normal class teachers during the day) blackmail parents, when the teacher identifies a bright student in his class, but not attending his private tuition class after school. Then the 'school teacher cum tuition master' diplomatically approaches the child's parents to enquire whether there are any family problems at home, pointing out that this 'bright child is lacking concentration'! Even after parents responding negatively, the tuition master proposes the child to have some extra tuition classes. Innocent parents naturally get worried and send the child to his tuition class to give the best for the child. Teacher cum tuition master meets with the parents, after a week or so, and informs the parents how the child is progressing remarkably! Parents like to expose this type of outrageous behaviour, by some tuition masters, as daylight robbery.