Rural schools turns up trumps! | Sunday Observer

Rural schools turns up trumps!

3 March, 2019
Sandali Piyumasha Kodippili – All Island First – Bio-System Technology and Gihani Nimeshika Munasinghe –Third Place, Matara District
Sandali Piyumasha Kodippili – All Island First – Bio-System Technology and Gihani Nimeshika Munasinghe –Third Place, Matara District

As thousands of young people wait anxiously to tear open the envelopes containing their GCE Advanced Level results, there will be many successes and disappointments. Media and social media headlines will announce the best of the best island wide.

As a matter of routine, when the much awaited results are released in August, we hear about winners from all over the country. This year, southern Sri Lanka shines with two stars from the Narandeniya Central College, Kamburupitiya. One of them has scored an All Island 1st in the Bio-System Technology stream and the other has secured third place in the field of Engineering in the Matara district.

Laal Priyadarshana, Principal of  Narandeniya Central College

The young students, Sandali Piyumasha Kodippili (Bio- System Technology) and Gihani Nimeshika Munasinghe (Engineering Technology), two high achievers at the Advanced Level Examination 2018, were happy to talk to Youth Observer about their success.

Narandeniya Central College (NCL) is a name unknown to many Sri Lankans as it is a rural school in Kamburupitiya in the deep South. There are 2400 students in the school, and now it has made a name for itself by producing the best results in the technology stream. According to the Principal of NCL , Laal Priyadarshana, “what is remarkable about this victory is that Sandamali Piyumasha Kodippili who bagged the All Island first in Bio- System Technology opted to continue at this school for her A/L s even though she scored eight As and a B at the GCE Ordinary Level examination. It is also remarkable that she has achieved these successes despite having failed the Grade Five Scholarship exam.

“Our school has shown 100 per cent results in the O/L examination. In boxing also, we have been able to achieve all island level triumphs. There are excellent extra-curricular activities for students here. I believe that, with the dedicateted intervention of the teachers and with the courage and determination of the students, we could achieve much” says Principal Laal Priyadarshana.

Sandali Piyumasha Kodippili – All Island First – Bio-System Technology

“To be honest, I didn’t expect to become an Island First. It is true that I had hoped that I would be among the first 10 students in the island, so finally here is the result and of course, that is surprisingly great!” Sandali voiced her feelings on her victory. She says that it is because of her school that she excelled at the exam. She went to school regularly, got all the help she needed from her teachers and worked hard. She also went to school till her teachers told her to stop. “When it’s the Advanced Level, some people believe that going for tuition classes is the most important and essential thing to be able to grasp the entire syllabus and it is not that necessary to attend school. But when we go to school regularly and are attentive in class, the subject matter will sink in. So, we don’t have to make efforts to memorise the facts, they are engraved in our memory” Sandali opined.

Sandali, says that from the very beginning, she was inspired by her subjects. “My sister did Bio-System Technology, so I was eager to observe how she was studying and of course, it is through her example that I made this choice”. Sandali’s dream is to become a lecturer. She wants to serve the country as appreciation of the free education she received.

Even for their tuition classes, both of them had chosen to go to their own school teachers. “I could cover what I had missed in class and in school, my teachers covered all the practicals with much commitment” says Sandali.

Gihani Nimeshika Munasinghe –Third Place, Matara District

“I loved the IT stream since I became aware of the differences in the fields, but I did not do IT for O/L s. My family wanted me to do whatever subjects I loved when it came to choosing the subjects”. She hopes to join the engineering field and serve the country. According to Gihani, the term ‘engineering’, is synonymous with the idea of going abroad in search of better exposure and opportunities, because the technology we have here is not advanced enough. Almost everyone decides to leave the country thinking of what we do not have here. I know we can someday reach that point, when we can actually deal with high-standard technology. Her message to the youngsters is that we are in a situation where the labour of our people goes to waste. People do not actually make use of their talents. Therefore, Gihani requests all of them not to waste whatever potential they have and to apply their talents practically to their work, so that the whole country will benefit.

Both Sandali and Gihani have been involved in extra-curricular activities such as acting, sports, leadership training and art. They enjoyed all of it while attuned to their studies. They had a balanced life, were not just bookworms.

“When the results are out, most of the tuition masters come up with posters trying to claim the credit because they had givien tuition to the particular student concerned. But this time, no one can grab that credit for giving tuition because these winners say that they were being taught only in the school and they went for tuition to teachers of their own schools just to catch up with whatever they missed. The uniqueness of these students l is that they chose to come to school till the very last day, so that they could discuss material and do the Practicals with their teachers, which is the best way to have everything covered before the exam. These students are even from far away areas like ‘Maawarala’. Through victories like this, we can have hope for the students from villages like this as now they have the opportunity to make a difference with their talents” added the smiling Principal of Narandeniya Central College, with much pride. A recent study showed that 85% of unemployed female graduates, had qualified in Arts subjects. These rural girls, who chose Technology instead, are most unlikely to suffer the same fate.

Pix by Ranjith Asanka