Call for Sri Lanka education reforms after suicide bombings
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has called for radical education reforms as part of wide-ranging measures to break the cycle of violence the island suffers, the latest being Sunday’s multiple suicide bombings that killed 253 people.
“Our nation faces the challenge of how to break the cycles of violence that our nation plunges into every few years since Independence,” he told parliament Wednesday.
“No child is born, bearing the objective or ambition of becoming a killer in his or her mind. Therefore, if a child becomes a killer, society cannot claim it has nothing to do with the evolution of an innocent child into a mass murderer.”
More than 500 people were injured in the attacks by Islamist extremists on three churches and three luxury hotels.
Samaraweera said that in the globalized world we live in, the influences that one is exposed to are many.
“We must take great care to bring to the notice of law enforcement authorities, details of those who may be brainwashed into causing harm. We must learn from other countries that have been dealing with similar situations, regarding best practice, including rehabilitation and counseling,and capacity building among communities for psychological support.
“It is also critical that we look at this in a wider context including education reform. Content of education from pre-school onwards as well as the structure of our schools are worth being revisited.
Although he is no expert, Samaraweera said he cannot help but wonder whether segregated schools in the country may be causing incomprehensible harm.
“Moreover, the exam-oriented focus of curricula needs to be reconsidered at the earliest possible. Each of our religions has such valuable life lessons to teach us. Lessons that help us cope with the stresses and strains of life.”
Samaraweera said the way religion is taught in an exam-oriented and compartmentalized way and the lack of emphasis on universal values make it impossible for children to gain real and meaningful benefit for their personal growth, or to understand or respect other religions, practices, beliefs or diversity, and overcome fear.
(COLOMBO, April 26, 2019-SB)
Jehan Perera - Executive Director National Peace Council