COLOMBO: The award ceremony and appreciation of high-achieving students who excelled in the GCE A/L 2021 and 2022 examinations was held Tuesday Sept 12 at the Presidential Secretariat, presided over by President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.
Students who excelled in each stream at the GCE (A/L) examination in 2021 & 2022 Academic years were presented certificates and cash rewards by President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat where a total of 90 students including the top 10 students from the 6 streams in the 2022 Academic year and the top 5 students from the 6 streams in the 2021 Academic year were rewarded at this event.
Cash prizes of Rs. 50,000 each were distributed to the students securing the first, second and third positions in all six advanced-level subject streams across the country. Meanwhile, students in other positions received cash prizes of Rs. 25,000 each.
In a friendly exchange with these accomplished advanced level students, President Wickremesinghe invited them to share their thoughts on education. One student expressed concerns about the potential brain drain, as many of her friends aspire to pursue higher education abroad, leaving Sri Lanka’s talent pool depleted. She emphasized the need for programs that encourage educated individuals to contribute to the country.
Another student pointed out that the 40-minute time slots allocated for subjects during A-level exams might hinder a deeper understanding of the topics. She suggested that extended hours in supplementary classes might contribute to the perceived success of such programs. Furthermore, she praised the quality of government-provided textbooks at the advanced level and proposed that these materials could be enhanced in tuition classes. She also stressed the importance of incorporating practical applications into the curriculum to retain high-achieving students.
A university student, who excelled in the 2021 A-level examination and is currently in the first year at the University of Moratuwa studying fashion design, raised concerns about job prospects in Sri Lanka after completing a degree in that field. This raised questions about the availability of career opportunities in his chosen path within the country.
He suggested that if the government offers guidance to students when they are selected for universities, it could lead to the formation of a more effective group of students.
During the event, a first-year university student added that the absence of a direct platform for discussing university issues with the government has caused numerous problems. She proposed that a suitable opportunity for such discussions should be provided monthly, which could help reduce misunderstandings and build trust between the government and the university student community.
Another student chimed in, suggesting that providing opportunities for students to make degree-related decisions before the 13-year leading to the advanced level examination could expedite their education, increase their chances of finding employment and promote stability.
In response to the students’ suggestions and ideas, the President expressed his commitment to paying attention to them.
Following the distribution of certificates and cash prizes, the students gathered for a group photograph.
Additionally, the Presidential Secretariat organized a complimentary visit for the students to the Lotus Tower and the Colombo Port City.
The event was facilitated by Mr. Randula Abeyweera, Presidential Director of Youth Affairs and Sustainable Development and attended by prominent officials, including Presidential Senior Adviser on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka, Presidential Secretary Mr. Saman Ekanayake, Secretary of the Ministry of Education Mr. Nihal Ranasinghe, Secretary of the Presidential Fund Mr. W.A. Sarath Kumar, Commissioner General of Examinations Mr. Amit Jayasundara and several other officials.
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