The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Godallage Gunawardena

Achieving Millennium Goal 2: The Challenge of Reaching the Disadvantaged in Sri Lanka

Godallage Gunawardena
National Consultant, Commonwealth Education Fund, Sri Lanka

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     Last modified: October 22, 2006
     Presentation date: 11/02/2006 2:30 PM in ST Windsor A
     (View Schedule)

Education disadvantaged refers to to an adverse situation experienced by a particular group of people in society whereby their access, survival, output and outcomes of schooling are affected in a negative way due to socio-economic, cultural and situational characteristics such as poverty, gender, ethnicity, occupational status, geographical location, war and natural disasters.

In Sri Lanka after four centuries of colonial rule many groups in society were deprived and disadvantaged with the colonial powers controlling all resources for the use of the metropolis.

Several progressive welfare and legislative measures, such as free and compulsory education, coeducational schools, and free textbooks and meals, implemented from the 1940s have resulted in an improvement of literacy, and the level of education of larger masses, yet have not reached the disadvantaged as expected.

This paper will address the major concerns related to the school system, medium of instruction and school curriculum to analyze the disadvantageous structures that prevent the disadvantaged from achieving their right to education, particularly in a context where the national vision has shifted from constructing a socially just and equitable society to a vision of an economically competitive society.

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