Sunday, October 22, 2017
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‘Skill Conference’ concept:Holistic Education to Shape Society

Sri Lanka’s population is a mere 21 million plus, and it is the 57th most populated country in the world (Wikipedia). Officially, all its citizens are Sri Lankans, but as we all know, the society identifies people under different races in general. Buddhism is the main religion/philosophy of the Sinhala majority community of the country, the rest (about 25% of the population) belongs to other religions such as Hindu, Islam and Christianity.
Then we are divided over language, with Sinhala as the lingua franca of the majority, with Tamil being the other, petty politics and the like big-time.
The ground reality is that we are a fragmented nation – societal strata is very much visible and actively propagated among us. We are a nation that does not pull in one direction due to a raft of petty, divisive, and selfish reasons and this is the reason for the country to get stagnated in the last 70 years since independence.
It is imperative that we find a solution sooner rather than later, we need a society that cares for each other.
This is the very first lesson we must learn as a whole, but, where and how do we embark on this change or real learning? We must learn to live in harmony and grow together as a nation; there is no other alternative if we are planning to go forward with the world.
Environment is part and parcel of us, but, the bitter truth is that we do not protect or have any great concern for it. The danger is more today compared to the situation that prevailed 25 years ago.
The environment has been polluted individually and collectively. One of the classic examples is; the way we use plastic bottles and bags (not only in Sri Lanka); it has caused a lot of harm to the environment already.
How can we inculcate a culture of taking ownershipofthe most vital natural assets around us and protecting them?
The writer is of the opinion that we should provide simple but effective education to people, especially to the younger generations.
School is the best and most effective place (if done right) to inculcate these thoughts and take the right action to protect the environment. Enacting laws is not sufficient!

What is Education and the required
Quality of it?
If we are referring to the education of people, it should reflect on the overall outlook of them, shouldn’tit? Sadly, most of us believe thateducation is the certificate/s people hold.
The writer disagrees with this – educational certificates are the documents issued to say that someone has successfully followed an academic or professional course. They only confirm qualifications, not the level of education strictly speaking.
We should not misunderstand this; if someone wants to become a medical doctor, lawyer orsuch, the relevant qualifications are vital to obtain alicence to practice the profession, but these qualifications do not/cannot automatically attach the ‘learned’ tag to anyone.
To be educated or learned, people need much more than paper qualifications – the level of intelligence, wisdom and the personal behaviour and the like, makea fair portion of this. In this context, there can also be the learned without paper qualifications. However, the writer acknowledges the fact that the structured learningdoesenhance the possibilities of becoming the learned.
As a nation we should first understand what the education is or should be before going any further with it. We are a nation that boasts about the literacy levels.
What is literacy? In strict terms, it is the individual ability to read, write and understand a simple sentence. Is that all we need for life? What about the ability to think or developing the thinking skills? In other words, how can we understand or digest what we hear or read only with literacy skills? Please do not get this wrong, having great literacy levels is a good start, but it cannot bring any great benefit by itself.
So the general public,whohave the ability to think, should be trained to think, if we intend going forward as a country.
We have a dearth of visionaries!! However, the thinking skills could have many significant variations. Human development in the right sense is the key for physical, moral and intellectual development of a country.
The third part of this series of four articles will be published in two weeks. For more informationabout “Skill Conference”; website;; Email: [email protected]

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