OEP initiatives in Sri Lanka

In the Sri Lankan context, the sources for formal education are schools and universities. Sri Lanka offers free education in both government schools and universities, mainly through the conventional face-to-face method  (Wikramanayake, 2005). Even within the free education system, there are inequalities in the whole education system due to the uneven distribution of resources such as light, transport, teachers and infrastructural facilities. Most of the infrastructural facilities are being fixed with funding and aids, but “lack of teachers” problem persists in most of the rural schools and newly started universities (Sarma, et al., 2018).

Several projects have been implemented within Sri Lanka to promote OEP to address some of the inequalities in the education system with the aid received from different donor agencies. The Open School Programme (UNESCO, 2015), e-thaksalawa; an online educational site for school children are some of the projects which were initiated by incorporating the Open Education Practices (OEP) (MoE, 2012) The primary purpose of those projects was to establish a quality education despite the diversity through reliable access for promoting formal education. However, most of the projects could not be able to achieve project goals. The main reasons for failing these projects are challenging to maintain the cost to continue site functioning and lack of support from the teaching staff for continuation   (Fonseka, 2016).

Reluctance to accept new practices by changing human behaviour (resistance to change) is a common psychological issue which can be seen in human society (Forsell & Åström, 2012). Hence, resistance to change behaviour becomes a highly significant factor when introducing any new transformation to society. The same phenomenon applies when introducing a new teaching and learning concept like OEP, which require a substantial change into the existing system.

However, a series of research studies, workshops, and publications were done under the support and guidance of the commonwealth and available in Prof. Karunanayake’s web site.

Even though there are several workshops have been conducted to introduce OEP for the school teachers, it can only be considered as just a light of hope not a path to success of adopting OEP for teaching (Karunanayaka & Naidu, 2016).

References

Fonseka, P., 2016. Unpaid bills halt SchoolNet. [Online] Available at: http://www.dailymirror.lk/105795/Unpaid-bills-halt-SchoolNet.

Forsell, L. M. & Åström, J. A., 2012. An analysis of resistance to change exposed in individuals’ thoughts and behaviors. Comprehensive Psychology, Volume 1, p. 17.

Karunanayaka, S. & Naidu, S., 2016. Dreamweaving Open Educational Practices, Nawala, Nugegoda: Open University of Sri Lanka.

MoE, 2012. e-Thaksalawa. [Online] Available at: http://www.e-thaksalawa.moe.gov.lk/.

Sarma, V., Licht, S. & Kalugalagedera, T., 2018. Educational Inequalities in Sri Lanka: National Data and Local Perspectives on Access, Quality and Learning Outcomes, Colombo: Centre for Poverty Analysis.

UNESCO, 2015. Open School Programme, Sri Lanka. [Online] Available at: https://uil.unesco.org/case-study/effective-practices-database-litbase-0/open-school-programme-sri-lanka .

Wikramanayake, G., 2005. Impact of Digital Technology on Education. Colombo, 24th National Information Technology Conference.