Number of English medium schools in Sri Lanka to be increased to 1000

Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe

The Cabinet Sub-Committee on National Education Policy, under President Ranil Wickremesinghe, has proposed an increase in the number of English medium schools to 1,000 from the current 765.

Since 2000, eight English medium subjects have been introduced in schools. However, despite 24 years having elapsed, these subjects are currently taught in English medium in only 765 schools.

Given the significant societal demand for English medium education, this expansion aims to accommodate at least 200,000 students receiving education in English by 2025.

The Cabinet Committee, tasked with formulating and implementing a National Education Policy Framework (NEPF) and recognizing education’s crucial role in contemporary economic transformation, convened yesterday (March 12) under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the President’s Office.

Comprising eight Ministers, including Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Education Minister Dr. Susil Premjayantha, the committee outlined short-term and medium-term strategies within the NEPF aimed at transforming the education sector.

During the meeting, the committee focused specifically on urgent and critical measures necessary to address immediate challenges within the current education landscape.

A Bill aimed at establishing a National Council for Teachers, with the goal of fostering active teacher participation in decision-making and enhancing the professionalization of teaching services through the introduction of a teacher certification system, will be presented to the Council of Ministers and subsequently to Parliament within a month.

This decision has been finalized and is set to move forward for approval.

The council aims to elevate the teaching profession to a position of high recognition. It seeks to enhance teacher professional qualities, introduce a clear professional development framework with a specific pathway for educators, and assess the teacher salary structure to align with emerging professional standards.

Additionally, it will fulfill requirements such as establishing a system to recognize and reward both teachers and principals for their contributions and achievements.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe instructed the recruitment of 2,500 new teachers to expedite the implementation of this initiative.

Given the urgent nature of this task, it was further advised to swiftly hire 1,000 qualified retired teachers capable of teaching subjects in English medium on a contract basis for three years.

Additionally, the directive includes recruiting 1,100 graduates proficient in teaching in English medium through an open competitive examination.

This recruitment drive will also include 400 Colleges of Education (Vidyapeeta) teachers who are set to graduate from Colleges of Education that currently provide training for teachers in the English medium.

In addition to the school leaving certificate currently given to students who complete junior secondary education as well as senior secondary education, students are not entitled to any quality certificate that shows the various skills and recognized subjects that a student has acquired in school over the years.

Accordingly, a policy decision has been reached to provide a Certificate of Completion to every student, not limited to the certificates showing the results of the national examinations, effective from this year.