Sri Lanka school reopening: NIE plans to cover core syllabus in 20 weeks

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s National Institute of Education (NIE) has asked the Ministry of Education to give the institute 20 weeks to cover the core curriculum that was neglected during the months-long school closure.

Following a gradual relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, Sri Lanka reopened the primary grades of schools (grades 1 to 5) on October 21 followed by GCE Ordinary and Advanced level classes on November 08.

“A survey has identified that the learning loss of children in the Western Province in 2020 was 55 percent and 45 percent in other provinces,” NIE Director General Sunil Jayantha Navaratne told reporters on Saturday (06).

“In 2021, it will be 90 percent in the Western Province and 70 percent elsewhere.”

Apart from the pandemic, a 100-plus-day strike by school teachers and principals that began in July this year over an unresolved salary anomaly also disrupted online education, the only remote learning avenue available to students who couldn’t go to school.

“Proposals have been submitted to the Ministry of Education to complete the study loss within 20 weeks,” Navaratne said.

Teachers and principals have been instructed to teach only the essential components of the syllabus under the proposed 20-week programme which is to be implemented from November 2021 to March 2022.

“It can even go up to April. However, from May 2022 the students will be promoted to their next class according to their age,” Navaratne said.

According to health officials, around 60 percent of the students in the age category of 16-19 have received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile media reports showed that clusters of school students have been identified in several areas in the country. The Lady Ridgway Children’s Hospital (LRCH) said, meanwhile, more children with COVID-19 were admitted into the hospital during the first week of November.

“The number of children admitted to the hospital in the first week of November is higher than the last week of October,” LRCH Child Specialist Dr Deepal Perera told reporters.

“If this continues, education will have to be halted for another year,” he said.

According to the latest data by the Health Promotion Bureau, by November 08, health officials have administered the first dose of a COVID_19 vaccine to 97 percent of the over-16 population, while 84 percent have received both shots.  (Colombo/Nov08/2021)

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