RPCs commend advancements in education on RPC estates | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

RPCs commend advancements in education on RPC estates

7 February, 2021

Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) marked International Day of Education by celebrating educational advancements in the plantation sector. 

“Education provides a firm foundation for development and we must ensure that every child and youth is given the support and guidance to complete their educational journey. We thank the Government for playing a vital role in providing free access to education and much needed facilities for students residing in RPC estates,” said the Chairman of the Planters’ Association of Ceylon, Bhathiya Bulumulla.

According to a World Bank report, the greatest improvement in educational attainment over the years has been in the estate sector. Between 2003 and 2012, the proportion of students who completed primary level education improved by only 4% in Sri Lanka as a whole, while the corresponding improvement in the estate sector was 10%. 

RPCs also credit advances in educational attainment to the solid academic foundation provided by their Early Childhood Development (ECD) program which is funded by member companies across 223 centres for the benefit of over 30,000 children each year. The Plantation Human Development Trust – a tripartite organisation composed of RPCs, trade unions, and the government – instills the values of education in young children through Childhood Development Centres.

“We believe in taking a holistic approach to ensure that our children are given the guidance and support in their path to education which begins at a very young age.

Our early childhood development centres offer support to not only the children but also their parents who are encouraged to take part in awareness programs to effectively be involved in the emotional, social and physical development of their children,” Bulumulla said.RPCs have also supported deserving candidates who went on to pursue their tertiary education in various disciplines relating to medicine, law, engineering, and arts over the years.  RPCs have also partnered with organisations such as the MJF charitable foundation to provide over 840 educational scholarships to deserving students accepted to University and students who have performed well at the GCE Ordinary Level examination. Bulumulla said that more work remains to be done to encourage and enable children from these communities to take up subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Living in a country where over 23% of the workforce is in agriculture, it is important to always consider the evolving technological landscape and the positive role that it can play in our industry in the years to come. In a future where we succeed in sparking a digital revolution in the plantation industry, we will need a more skilled and educated workforce to adapt, manage and maintain new technologies which our industry’s productivity hinges upon. 

“It is no secret that youth between the ages of 15-24 are leaving the estate sector for blue collared jobs in cities, which has contributed to the labour shortage in the industry. To rectify this situation, we need to ensure that there is dignity of work in the plantations. One way to achieve this vital objective is to encourage innovation and expand access to education to catalyse a new vision for our industry,” Bulumulla said.