Jul 17, 2018

‘Sri Lanka spends just 0.0001% of GDP on Early Childhood Education Featured

Sri Lanka has spent an extraordinarily little amount on Early Childhood Education (ECE)… 0.0001 percent of GDP, lower than its South Asian neighbours and even lower than very poor Sub-Saharan African countries, says Prof. Edward Melhuish, Professor of Human Development, University of Oxford.

Prof. Melhuish was delivering the keynote address during the Sri Lanka Early Childhood Development high level meeting held in Colombo yesterday (16) under the slogan ‘building Brains Building Futures’.

He also noted that while ECE programs in the island nation were inadequate, the regional structure was also poor and that there is no formal curriculum and early learning standards.

Noting that many centres lack adequate resources for teaching and learning, he added that fewer than half the teachers meet basic qualification requirements.

Therefore, Sri Lanka faces a shortage of human resources needed to achieve its ambitions of becoming a globally competitive upper-middle income country while also lagging behind other middle -income countries in terms of ECE.

Addressing the event, minister of Finance and Mass Media - Mangala Samaraweera said, "In 2014, the previous government spent only 1.46% of its GDP for education. Today, we have increased this percentage to 3.5%. Our aspiration is to allocate 6% of the country's GDP for education by 2025.”

Easy way to do it

Prof. Melhuish also noted that it had been proven in many countries that high quality ECE would lead to increased chances of higher grades.

If you want a child to get high grades in maths, if you provide high quality ECE the chances of getting a high grade increases by 3.4 times. Now your minister of education, would very much like to increase the mathematics ability of the population of Sri Lanka. Here’s the easy way to do it. Provide a high quality Early Childhood Education.