Development, Education and Learning in Sri Lanka

An international research journey

Angela W. Little


ISBN: 9781800081567

Publication: June 04, 2024

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Sri Lanka’s early achievements in education and literacy became well known among the international development community in the middle of the last century and were often used to benchmark progress elsewhere. Development, Education and Learning in Sri Lanka presents an illuminating narrative of changing education fortunes and inequalities, based on half a century of research. This research journey was undertaken in collaboration with Sri Lankan researchers island-wide in myriad communities, schools, classrooms and education offices, through conversations with countless parents, teachers, students, community members, trade union officers, politicians and members of local, national and international development agencies, as well as through extensive documentary analysis.

The book delineates the distinctive and changing features of the Sri Lankan education system through comparisons with systems elsewhere, through an understanding of national political, economic and social conditions, crises and upheavals, through changes in education policy and through shifting patterns of opportunity among diverse social groups. These analyses are framed by themes in the international development discourse ranging from modernisation to basic needs to globalisation and sustainable development, some of which themes have been influenced by the Sri Lankan story. The book’s over-riding messages are the need to understand education and development in a country’s own terms, and to place learning at the heart of education policy, situating it within broader conceptions of the purpose, values and means of development.

Angela W. Little is Professor Emerita at UCL Institute of Education and former Fellow of the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University.

List of illustrations
List of acronyms

Part 1: Mapping the journey

1 Sri Lanka past and present
2 Development and Education: the international discourse
3 Learning from Developing Countries

Part 2: Modernisation, human capital and dependency

4 School Examination Reforms in the 1970s: modernisation or dependent underdevelopment?
5 Human Capital, Education and Development
6 The Diploma Disease

Part 3: Basic needs and education for all

7 Education for All, Welfare, and Basic Needs: 1931-1991
8 The 1997 Education Reforms: origins, political will and implementation
9 Behind the Scenes: the technical work of planning for ‘Education for All’

Part 4: Globalisations, education and social disparities

10 The Export-led Plantation Economy and Educational Opportunity: 1840-2020
11 Late twentieth century globalisation, education and social disparities post 1977
12 Globalisation, education, skills: comparing Sri Lanka with elsewhere

Part 5: Sustainable development and learning

13 The teaching of English in the early twenty first century
14 Multilevel Teaching in Sri Lanka and elsewhere
15 Assessment for sustainable learning and development
16 Lessons and Reflections

Format: Paperback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

382 Pages

3 B&W line drawings and 5 B&W tables

Copyright: © 2024

ISBN: 9781800081567

Publication: June 04, 2024

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