Publication Date: 2007
United Nations Children's Fund: Regional Office for South Asia (UNICEF ROSA)
This report on Social Inclusion: Gender and Equity in Education in Sri Lanka explores how Education Programmes supported through a Sector-Wide Approach (SWAp) are conceptualizing and addressing issues of social exclusion and gender inequality, and contributing to increasing equity in access to quality education and reduction in disparities.
In Sri Lanka, the right of all children to education was recognized as far back as in the 1940s, even before she regained independence. As a result of several progressive policies introduced to ensure this right to all children, such as provision of free education, change in the medium of instruction to mother tongue and incentives such as free mid-day meals, free textbooks, school uniforms and subsidized transport, Sri Lanka has achieved a net enrolment rate of 97.1% for boys and 95.6% for girls in the primary education cycle. Yet around eight per cent of the children of school-going age are estimated to be out of school. Girls have achieved near parity status in access as well as performance. Stakeholders, however, have been extremely concerned about the quality of education. The educational reforms launched from the 1990s have seriously focused on improving the quality of education, but the effectiveness of implementation of the reforms has been questioned.