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Thoughts on Culture and Tradition in Education in Sri Lanka - Conversation

Updated: May 13, 2022

A conversation with a prominent Sri Lankan figure with thoughtful knowledge on the environment of Sri Lankan culture and community.

Key Findings: Sri Lankan education should be on par with the rest of the world. The concepts of free thinking and futuristic thinking should be embedded to be global citizens. The Sri Lankan heritage and traditions should be utilised to empower the future generations, and not just to be proud of being Sri Lankan. This would add value to the country, and it should be in education system to create a sense of belonging and protect these traditions.

On speaking of the importance of traditions, he used the example of ‘Ayubowan’. It is a Sri Lankan greeting which directly translates to ‘Long life’. He says that tradition shouldn’t change as there is no rational reason to change it. He further emphasizes that only if there’s a rational reason to change a certain tradition, then it should be changed, and a new tradition can be developed. This could lead to a new culture where tradition and being futuristic can go hand in hand.

Talking about the delivery of education, he said that while teachers do play an important part they only offer ‘how’ they need to learn. The ‘why’ they need to learn part comes from parents. The ‘attitude’ to learn is developed at an early age at home. He says ‘you are the master of your dream’. That starting at home, parents can inspire them and tell them they’re capable of anything.

Talking about the existing education system, he says, that our education system is already producing those that think outside the box, which means certain aspects of the Sri Lankan education system is already thinking outside the box.

Reflections: The idea that education also happen at home is a notion I was not paying attention to at the moment. However, in this conversation, and looking back at the conversation with the students, I realised that perhaps the change I want to see can take place outside the classroom.

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