School ranking to replace district ranking for Z score | Daily News


School ranking to replace district ranking for Z score

Cabinet approval sought for radical changes in education sector

Education, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said that the 'Z score' ranking introduced 20 years ago as a basis for selecting students for university admission is being reviewed and Cabinet approval would be sought to replace the 55 percent quota of selection made on district ranking with a school ranking system which would give a student from an underdeveloped school in any district a fair opportunity to gain admission to a university.

He said that as such recommendations should be made by experts and not politicians, a task force headed by Dr. Upali Sedara had been appointed to review the existing ‘Z score’ system and formulate ways of doing away with the district ranking system and introduce a suitable school ranking system.

The Minister was speaking to journalists in the Matara district last Monday (9) to inform them of what had been achieved during his 109-day tenure as Education Minister.

Minister Alahapperuma said that the ‘Z score’ was introduced in 2000, but had not been reviewed thereafter. At present, university admissions based on the Z Score are made as follows: 40 percent all-island national ranking, 55 percent district ranking, and five percent for underdeveloped districts.

Alahapperuma said that in 2000 there were only five underdeveloped districts, but by 2018 the number of underdeveloped districts had increased to 16.

“Is it fair to expect a student of Walakanda MV in Urugamuwa or Alapaladeniya MV in Deniyaya to secure the same Z score as a student who attends Rahula College or Sujatha Vidyalaya in the Matara district?” the Minister asked.

There are 3,093 schools in the island which offer courses of study for the GCE Advanced Level. The schools in each district are to be categorised into either four or five groups. The Z Score will be set for each group giving equal opportunity to students from the lowest-ranked schools in the district as the students from the elite schools in the same district.

Minister Alahapperuma said that the popular public belief is that the duties of the Education Minister and the Education Ministry is to admit children to schools, dole out academic or non-academic staff appointments and attend to teacher transfers.

There are 10,187 schools in Sri Lanka of which 373 are national schools. Of the 373, 64 are categorised as class one schools. Nevertheless it is every parent’s wish to admit their child to the top 24 of these class one schools

“We propose to increase the number of national schools to 1,000. An existing school in the 125 Divisional Secretariat Divisions that did not have a national school would be upgraded, while the Divisional Secretaries areas which have one national school will be given a second national school. The upgraded national schools will offer all streams of study for the GCE Advanced Level Examination in all three languages.

Alahapperuma said that the 240,000 or so teachers fell into 13 categories starting from degree holders and ending with the 1,121 grama arakshaka niladharis who had been appointed as teachers. “We believe that by 2027 every teacher in the government service should be suitably qualified and hold a university degree or equivalent. Those who are currently in service and do not possess a university degree or equivalent will be given the opportunity to obtain a degree by following an online degree course,” the Minister said.

The number of school terms will be reduced from three to two and the first term test will be held in June, while the second term test will be held at the end of the school year, which will take off the immense pressure which keep students away from sports and other extracurricular activities.

Due to the lack of exercise, 10 percent of the present-day students are suffering from diabetes or some other ailment, the Minister said. “In the USA, swimming is one of the best forms of exercise and is a compulsory activity for all students,” he said.

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