Introduction of school clusters in Sri Lanka

Samaranayake, Mallika Rukminie
IIEP Occasional Papers, 67
81 p., maps

Online version

About the publication

To counter the traditionally haphazard planning, administration and location of schools in Sri Lanka, the Educational Proposals for Reform suggested, in 1981, that schools be grouped into single organizational units, called School Clusters, for educational and management purposes. The decision for state control of all schools from 1961 had begun the process of rationalization of the school system by trying to reduce the duplication, overlapping and generally inefficient use of resources. This Occasional Paper considers the concept of School Clusters as a school mapping and micro-planning device, in the historical and social context of Sri Lanka, and the benefits and problems involved in their implementation. Examples of two very different pilot clusters are closely analyzed, and other experimental clusters are discussed. School Clusters, each with 3,000-5,000 students at primary, secondary and sometimes college-level, are especially suited to the smaller, more poorly-equipped schools, mostly in rural and suburban areas, which would most benefit from a sharing of manpower and resources. Cooperation within and between clusters would increase efficiency and perhaps lead to greater community participation. An islandwide network of "open schools" using cluster buildings, playing fields, equipment and other facilities when available could also be organized on a non-formal basis. Apart from general resistance to change, the fears of concentrating too much power in one adminstrator, the Cluster Principal, and concern the core school from which he is chosen will develop at the expense of other schools are major obstacles to widespread acceptance of School Clusters in Sri Lanka