Students of government schools, who are studying some subjects in the English medium want to sit for the G. C. E. (O/L) examination in same language. They said they have to face a Sinhala medium paper despite studying in the English medium. But Examination Department provides English medium papers only for private and international schools.
"Students in our schools are studying some subjects such as Buddhism in the English language from Grade 4. But, there is no English medium Buddhism paper for the O/L. How are they to answer questions in Sinhala after studying in English. This problem is only for the government schools," Ven. Opalle Gnanasiri thera said.
He said that the Education Ministry gave permission in 2002 to teach some subjects in the English medium for government schools and Pirivenas, which had the necessary facilities. "Since then we prepared students for the exam in English language. However, the Ministry issued a circular No. 2008/12 recently making some restrictions to the earlier decision. Around 4,000 students all over the country have to face this problem."
Gnanasiri thera said that they have sent a petition to President Rajapaksa seeking his immediate intervention.
Commissioner General of Examination Anura Edirisinghe said that this issue does not come under the purview of his department. It is handled by the Ministry.
Education Minister Susil Premjayantha when contacted by The Island said that according to the Sri Lankan Constitution nobody can teach subjects such as Buddhism, Sinhala and History in English from Grade one to Grade 11. That is why the Ministry commenced bilingual classes for O/L students. It is a legal barrier, he said.
Premajayantha however said that the International and private schools which teach O/L students in English language, have been informed to stop the practice it from 2009.