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SL school education to be reformed to meet international standards – Education Minister

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Mishrawarna Olympiad Champions’ Awards Ceremony

By Claude Gunasekera

A long-awaited revolutionary approach to the national education system is now to be launched next year by introducing the world renowned STEAM education framework with a sturdy focus on subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics to teach students how to think critically, solve problems and use creativity, in their mindset that prepares them to work in career areas that are predicted to experience significant growth.

Minister of Education Dr. Susil Premajayantha revealed this new education strategy in the presence of Secretary to Ministry of Education Nihal Ranasinghe when he attended the Mishrawarna Olympiad Champions’ Awards Ceremony at the Colombo University during the weekend. He was the Chief Guest. It is an annual event organized by Sri Lanka Olympiad Mathematics Foundation since 2004.

The minister said it was the first time that such an initiative had been taken to introduce a global education model in to the curriculum in Sri Lanka and grounding in STEAM subjects offered a broader array of career choices for developing personalities. “Earlier, we have been reforming the education system on and off, but the real need is the transformation to global trends in par with international standards. We have been following the same old system for many years, but the new initiative will help achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030 through a quality education. He said Finland ranks world’s No.1 in Quality Education and the reason is that teachers are accountable for each student and we too have to follow it by providing vigorous training to teachers here as in Singapore.

Minister Premajayantha also pointed out that STEAM education promotes the integration between subjects that aims at favoring deep and collaborative learning on students, through curricular integration in scientific education. He invited and sought the assistance and cooperation from all concerned and involved individuals and institutions in education to support this mission towards making the new approach a success.

Minister also said that Mathematics is a compulsory subject in school curriculum world-over and is an essential discipline in human progress and the foundation for innovation and creativity in human thinking. He concluded commending the mission conducted by Sri Lanka Olympiad Mathematics Foundation (SLOMF) and particularly it’s Founder / Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Chanakya Wijeratne and assured the fullest cooperation of the Education Ministry to support the annual Olympiad Championship Awards Ceremony from next year.

“Mathematics Achievement’ is essentially an important indicator in the economic development of a country “said Nihal Ranasinghe, Secretary Ministry of Education. He further said that International Mathematic Competition (IMO) is the most prestigious and important mathematical competition for high school students and since early nineties Sri Lankan students have toured overseas to take part this competition. He further said that SLOMF has been providing a tremendous platform to support mathematics among the school children in Sri Lanka and commended the efforts taken by the foundation to enhance the quality of mathematics. He said the contribution is greatly appreciated.

Quoting that “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a Fire” Dr. Chanakya Wijeratne said conducting the Sri Lanka Mathematics Competition (SLMC) Island wide since 2004, has attempted to light fires in thousands of local school children’s minds posing interesting and challenging efforts for the zone of proximal development in improving critical thinking, mathematical thinking and creativity for problem solving.

Further speaking at the occasion Dr. Wijeratne said “At school you mostly do exercises which are routine tasks and easy to do. But solving problems require patience. Often solutions are not found in an instant. Sometimes you struggle and fail. Failures are the pillars of success. Every failure, every mistake is an opportunity to grow if you have a growth mind set. With a growth mind set you can aim high. You can aim for the moon or Dream big. You could be the next Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg or Andrew Wiles. Don’t be afraid of failing. Even if you miss the moon, you will land among the stars”.

He said the Sri Lankan national team that attended the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) held in Norway this year did remarkably well and they brought honors’ to the nation. He told that students who take part in the IMO have easy opportunity to get admission into top ranking universities in the world.It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all this Olympiad Champions’ Awards Ceremony 2022. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to say a few words to the

Dayan Kiriwaththuduwa, National Coordinator & Chief Technical Officer of SLMOF, felicitated Dr. Chanakya Wijeratne for the immense service rendered in the school & university education sector through mathematics Olympiad and stated in his citation that “Self-visualization is the defining of self-future, based on present knowledge of goals, hopes, and dreams. Dr. Chanakya Wijeratne is teaching this point and is a desirable model himself”.

Glenfrey De Mel, Chief Operating Officer (COO) speaking at the occasion invited and encouraged all school children in the country to participate in the Sri Lanka Mathematics Competition which is not purely based on the mathematics subject but it is a mind improvement game worth attended by any student. He said the online registration is open by next month (October) for the examination to be held in January 2023 and the Sri Lankan team for International Mathematical Olympiad will be selected among the winners of the national competition.

Dr. Dayal Dharmasena, Director Training, Samantha Ariyaratna, Director Operations SLMOF, and Jagath Chandana Perera, Advisory Partner KPMG were attended the occasion for presentation of awards.There were around 250 award winners from a variety of schools all over the country, with Gold, Silver, Bronze Medalists and Certificate winners.



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Pakistan’s ex-president, Pervez Musharraf dies aged 79

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(picture BBC)

BBC reported that Pakistan’s former president General Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999, has died aged 79.

The former leader – who was president between 2001 and 2008 – died after a long illness, a statement from the country’s army said.

He had survived numerous assassination attempts, and found himself on the front line of the struggle between militant Islamists and the West.

He supported the US “war on terror” after 9/11 despite domestic opposition.

In 2008 he suffered defeat in the polls and left the country six months later.

When he returned in 2013 to try to contest the election, he was arrested and barred from standing. He was charged with high treason and was sentenced to death in absentia only for the decision to be overturned less than a month later.

He left Pakistan for Dubai in 2016 to seek medical treatment and had been living in exile in the country ever since.

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The 75th Anniversary of National Independence celebrated under the patronage of President, PM

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(picture Presidents Media)

The 75th National Independence Day celebration was held under the theme “Namo Namo Mata – A Step towards the Century”, under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Saturday morning (04) at Galle Face Green.

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Lanka sovereign bond holders write to the IMF

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ECONOMYNEXT –Sri Lanka’s bondholders have written to the International Monetary Fund expressing their willingness to engage in debt re-structuring talks but also raising matters related to the domestic debt re-structuring and economic assumptions and forecasts.

The group, styling itself as the “Ad Hoc Group of Sri Lanka Bondholders (the Bondholder Group) has written last week to the IMF Managing Director from New York said inter alia that the Bondholder Group through its Steering Committee stands ready to engage quickly and effectively with the Sri Lankan authorities to design and implement restructuring terms that would help Sri Lanka restore debt sustainability and allow the country to re-gain access to the international capital markets during the IMF Programme period.

The letter concluded with the paragraph: Recognizing the important commitments made by India in the India Letter, the Sri Lankan authorities will apply the principle of comparable treatment in respect of the debt relief requested and obtained from all their remaining official bilateral creditors.

Following is the text of the letter:

NEW YORK, Feb. 3, 2023

Dear Managing Director Georgieva,The Ad Hoc Group of Sri Lanka Bondholders (the “Bondholder Group”) acknowledges the Sri Lankan authorities’ engagement with their official creditors towards a resolution of the current crisis and restoration of debt sustainability.

The Bondholder Group further acknowledges that such engagement has recently resulted in the Government of India (in its letter to the IMF, dated January 16, 2023 (the “India Letter”)) delivering letters of financing assurances, committing to support Sri Lanka and contribute to its efforts to restore debt sustainability by providing debt relief and financing consistent with the IMF Extended Fund Facility Arrangement (the “IMF Programme”) and the IMF Programme targets indicated in the India Letter.

Similarly, the Bondholder Group through its Steering Committee stands ready to engage quickly and effectively with the Sri Lankan authorities to design and implement restructuring terms that would help Sri Lanka restore debt sustainability and allow the country to re-gain access to the international capital markets during the IMF Programme period.

Based on the limited information available to us at this time, including information contained in the India Letter, we understand that the IMF Programme’s debt sustainability targets are identified as

(i) reducing the ratio of public debt to GDP to 95% by 2032,

(ii) limiting the central government’s annual gross financing needs to GDP ratio to 13% in the period between 2027 and 2032, and central government annual foreign currency debt service at 4.5% of GDP in every year between 2027 and 2032 and

(iii) closing of the external financing gap.

The Bondholder Group hereby confirms it is prepared to engage, through its Steering Committee, with the Sri Lankan authorities in restructuring negotiations consistent with the parameters of an IMF Programme and the targets specified therein (the “IMF Programme Targets”), which the Bondholder Group understands to be the targets identified in the India Letter; it being recognized that these negotiations will necessarily be further informed by the receipt of the forthcoming DSA.

We would note that the finalization of an agreement will also be subject to the satisfaction of the following conditions:

The central government’s domestic debt – defined as debt governed by local law – is reorganized in a manner that both ensures debt sustainability and safeguards financial stability.

Assuming that annual gross financing needs should not exceed 13% of GDP in the period between 2027 and 2032, whilst allowing for central government annual foreign currency debt service to reach 4.5% of GDP in every year between 2027 and 2032, domestic gross financing should therefore be limited at 8.5% of GDP for the period 2027-2032.

While we recognize that the determination of the economic assumptions underpinning the IMF Programme Targets is ultimately the responsibility of the IMF and that the overall design of the IMF Programme is one that is negotiated between the IMF and Sri Lanka, it is nevertheless important that the Bondholder Group has the opportunity to express its views on both the economic assumptions underpinning these IMF Programme Targets and the adequacy and feasibility of the adjustment efforts contemplated under the IMF Programme.

When considering any restructuring proposal that is made to the Bondholder Group, it is the Bondholder Group’s intention to take into consideration the extent to which the economic assumptions and the adjustment efforts are consistent with these views.

Recognizing the important commitments made by India in the India Letter, the Sri Lankan authorities will apply the principle of comparable treatment in respect of the debt relief requested and obtained from all their remaining official bilateral creditors.

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