Justice for children after half a century | Daily News

Justice for children after half a century

Last week ended with the release of the Year Five Scholarship Examination results. But this year it was a very pleasant experience for all, especially for the children, their beloved parents and teachers. Until last week it was a curse for some children and their parents and a blessing only for a handful of children and their parents. But two parties were very unhappy about the new system of releasing the results of the Year Five Scholarship Examination. It is very interesting to study this subject because it is a type of national issue.

Last week all children who sat for the Year Five Scholarship Examination, their parents and school teachers who have guided them were very happy because the children got through the examination with flying colours. Not only those groups, the entire country was very happy and had mental peace while watching the related new reports telecast over the various television channels.

According to the new system of releasing the results of the Year Five Scholarship Examination, rankings for the island and districts were not given this time. It can be named as putting a full stop to the ‘Rat Race’ and ending mental agony and suicides. After more than five or six decades the educational authorities had done the justice to the children who sat for the Year Five Scholarship Examination and it had made a decision on behalf of the children. We say this because islandwide and district level rankings have nothing to do with passing the exam, obtaining marks and getting a good school.

Up to now islandwide and district level rankings were given creating several issues for the children and parents. During the past half century or so, soon after release of the Year Five Scholarship Examination results, parents had to undergo the mental and physical trauma of their children having failed to run the ‘Rat Race’ successfully with some children becoming committing suicidal and some even running away from home and becoming nervous wrecks for the rest of their lives.

There were instances when relations and friends of those affected children used the results in order to cast aspersions on children with an average IQ level in order to humiliate their families.

The saddest thing is the stance taken by some of the television channels and private tuition masters. These television channels started to chase after children who passed with flying colours and children who were subjected to various types of harassment by their own parents. Incidents of children running away from home or about suicide attempts by them are the icing on the cake for these media outlets that thrive on tragic, destructive or scandalous news. Television channels depend on these types of stories and air them for several nights. But this year these channels were high and dry and nothing earth shattering to report on.

The most unfortunate group this time is the tuition masters who started to sell the children after a few hours of releasing the results. They made television advertisements and put up huge banners with their pictures of the children who attended their tuition classes and started their publicity campaign to recruit children for their tuition classes. Those tuition masters became heroes by producing top island and district wise rankers. They used it to increase their tuition fee. It was the innocent children and poor parents who suffered up to now. This time none of those negative things can happen because there are no island ranks and district ranks. Only the extremely rich tuition masters, television stations and banner makers will suffer while children and parents celebrate!

One last thing should be mentioned. All the credit goes to the Department of Examination and the educational authorities who made the correct and wise decision without totally abolishing the Year Five Scholarship Examination. But there is one thing. Some may think and say this issue is something that can be ignored. But we Sri Lankans cannot ignore the suffering of even one poor child who suffered for five long years and faced the darkest hour of his/her life on December 18th last year due to the pure ignorance of a school teacher who did not do her duty.

It was not one child but 11 innocent poor children who sacrificed their lives for five long years faced the darkest hour of their lives on December 18th last year when a school teacher carelessly dropped some parts of the question paper on the floor and mixed them up after the children had answered half of the questions. The incident was reported from Ahatuwewa Bandaranaike National School Examination Centre in Galgamuwa.

By that time, the relevant authorities promised all the affected children and their parents that justice would be done to them. But it seems that justice had not been done. Only two of those very bright students passed the exam and one child who was first in her class received only 154 marks which is next to impossible but she was expecting over 180 marks.

Re-correction cannot do justice for those 11 affected children now because they were deprived of the time allocated to answer the question paper by the invigilators. Only one solution is left now for justice to be done. It is offering those 11 children the best possible schools by treating them as students who passed the examination with flying colours.


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