Tuesday, June 21, 2016

UPDATED: The Lowdown on Education and Schooling in Sri Lanka for Expats

One of the key questions for expat families moving to Sri Lanka concerns education and schooling. I've had a few questions come my way regarding what to expect over here and how to approach things. This is both an important and often stressful area of consideration as it determines your children's education, development and well-being while growing up in foreign country.

So let me start off with a few basics on the education system in Sri Lanka. Firstly, Sri Lanka's modern education system was developed under the influence of its British colonial history from around 1836 and the English language medium of instruction was promoted. The current Sri Lankan curriculum and examinations system is modeled on the British examinations system (i.e. GCE O-levels and A-levels).

Around 1942 a few changes in Sri Lanka took place to ensure all children had access to free education, national languages of Sinhala and Tamil were made the medium of instruction (as opposed to English) and other. The right to free education was written into the Constitution of Sri Lanka 1978, which mandates compulsory schooling for children between the ages of five and fourteen years old. These developments have contributed to the overall high literacy rate in Sri Lanka. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2015), almost 93% Sri Lanka's adult population and over 98% of the youth population are literate.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

An expat in Sri Lanka: the Good, Bad and Ugly - Part 15

When you depart Sri Lanka for any length of time, and particularly for distant shores, you oftentimes forget the smells and sounds of life back on the island. I’ve returned from a few weeks abroad and I can say I definitely missed being here. No doubt there will be the usual frustrations for this expat after being back home, but, it’s also a good thing to feel like this place is home and a place that I want to return to. And this is despite all the challenges and changes that this teardrop island has faced and is still facing. It’s been eight years on the island and counting.

Can you believe I actually missed the local sounds? This was a really odd thing because I usually complain in my head about the sounds of tuks and sometimes just the general noise in my area. But the funny thing was, I missed those sounds while I was away. It was like my background track was noticeably missing, like being unplugged from your usual radio frequency.

For those that haven’t lived in Sri Lanka, this track is a mish-mash of bird calls (from the sweet whistling
of the black-hooded oriole; the loud call of the asian koel; and the high-pitched chattering of the yellow-billed babblers); traffic sounds (from tooting horns or noisy tuks or bread and ice-cream mini-trucks that play the sounds of Claire de Lune or It’s a Small World); and the floating chatter and laughter of people walking along the street.

Monday, June 6, 2016

It's our Home, so let's take good care of it

Yesterday was World Environment Day, 5 June 2016. It even has its own website, which states that it "is the United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment."

I posted this picture to the Adventures in a Tuk-tuk Facebook page

It was one of many posts across social media highlighting awareness and action to protect our environment.