Brilliant students not only in Colombo

Reference the news item — Daily News on July 11 ‘Joining 450 of the world’s outstanding student leaders this week in Washington DC will be thirty brilliant Sri Lankan teenagers from twelve schools.’

Isn’t it strange that these thirty lucky students were found from a handful of twelve international and a few other big schools in Colombo? Is brilliance confined to the Colombo area alone? That’s something to think about.

It is not the first time this has happened. How are these students selected? What are the qualifications required?

My memory goes back through many years when I was a teacher in an outstation school. Many students were from the surrounding rural areas.

They were by no means privileged and many had to struggle to find their way up. I still see in my minds eye those youthful faces. From among them emanated a Vice Chancellor of a University, a Registrar General of Sri Lanka, a Director General of Civil Aviation, a Professor of Chemistry, several doctors and engineers and officers holding high positions in Banks. So you see, there are many brilliant students remaining latent in outstation schools.

Brilliance is definitely not confined to the Colombo region. Many rural students have gone through the mill to reach the top and have the capacity to face the problems in society.

This has equipped them with ability in debating. Admittedly, their proficiency in English is not equal to that of their counterparts in Colombo schools. But why should this be a problem when Heads of State such as in China and Russia have their speeches translated? The present method of selection leaves out over 90 percent of the potential leaders of Sri Lanka.

It will be interesting to know how these students were chosen. Or, is this an exclusive domain of the privileged who are born with the proverbial silver spoon in the mouth? Your guess is as good as mine.

A retired teacher