Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) expresses its concern and sympathy at the grief and frustration expressed by the Advanced Level examination candidates slighted (impacted) by the Z-score debacle. We encourage the government to communicate with the aggrieved parties in order to console and mitigate the effects of the Z-score debacle. TISL calls upon the Government to engage in a healthy and productive discussion with students, teachers and other representatives in order to find a plausible solution to the current situation.
The Sri Lankan education system has provided the country with 14 national universities; in 2011, only 21,000 students, out of 245,000 students, were admitted to the universities. This acceptance rate of 8% highlights the immensely competitive nature of the Sri Lankan higher education circuit. Introduced in the year 2000 by University of Peradeniya Professor, R.O. Thattil, the Z score system was to provide the Universities with an effective and equitable system of ranking students.
University Grants Commission (UGC), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education and the President’s Office should evaluate the effectiveness and equity of implementation of the Z-score system. TISL urges the Government to investigate the issues arising from the introduction of the “new” syllabus for A-level candidates in 2009 and wishes to remind the Government that the current issues are similar to the Z-score grievances seen in the year 2000. In August 2012, the UGC released a statement committing that it would not allow university admissions to take place until the Z score debacle had been resolved with equity.
However, the present state of affairs gives rise to serious concerns as to whether the planned solution will prevent a generation of budding scholars from engaging in higher education, and thus deny a talented segment of society and opportunity for personal development and being effective contributors to national development.
TISL requests the Sri Lankan Government to be transparent and make a full public disclosure of the findings of the investigations. This will increase public confidence in the Government’s ability to tackle this issue with equity and effectively. In view of the similar situation that arose in2000, TISL recommends that the Government lay down a clear protocol to be followed in the future.
TISL reiterates the urgent need for the government to hold transparent public discussions regarding this issue, addressing the public concerns taking due cognisance of suggestions and recommendations expressed by competent professionals and academics and in line with the applicable judicial pronouncements.