Free Education and Women in Sri Lanka

To what extentdid the free instruction policy introduced in 1945 by C.W.W.Kannangaraempower adult females in Sri Lanka in the clip period between the 1950’s to 1960’s?

To what extent did the free instruction policy introduced in 1945 byKannangara empower adult females in Sri Lanka in the clip period between the 1950’s to 1960’s?

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The registration of adult females in Sri Lanka during the old ages of 1950 to 1960 in the educational sector was an influential factor in authorising adult females [ 1 ] . The “free instruction policy” introduced in Sri Lanka in 1945 by C.W.W.Kannangara, the first curate of instruction to Sri Lanka is argued as the ground for gradual lessening in objectification of adult females and equalisation of adult females in footings of instruction, political relations, and labour on par to males [ 2 ] . To measure the extent of C.W.W.Kannangara’s free instruction policy authorising Sri Lankan adult females, this probe will analyze the rise to power of Srimavo Bandaranayke in 1960 as the first female Prime Minister to Sri Lanka, the state of affairs of adult females before the debut of the Policy and the effectivity of the Free Education Policy on adult females by utilizing relevant primary and secondary beginnings such as books, interview, address and statistics.

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Rise to power of Srimavo Bandaranaike

  • Aristocratic background [ 3 ]
  • Educated in Colombo’s St. Bridget’s Convent. [ 4 ]
  • Married Solomon W.R.D. Bandaranaike from a taking Sinhala blue household in 1940 who was a lifting politician. [ 5 ]
  • Husband became premier curate in 1956 [ 6 ]
  • Bandarnaike blackwash on September 25, 1959 [ 7 ]
  • Srimavo was asked to run on behalf of her hubbies party ( forced ) [ 8 ]
  • Became the”weeping widow”
  • “I had no purpose to take up political relations during his life. Except after he died, people wanted me. I was more or less forced to take it up competitively….to lead the party after his decease. I did non desire to. But after much consideration, I agreed to take up the leading of the party” [ 9 ]
  • Gained power as a alternate for her hubby. [ 10 ]

Education of adult females before the “Free Education Policy”

  • Prior the colonial period, merely monastics and priests were educated. The instruction was merely reserved for them. [ 11 ]
  • In 1505, Portuguese colonaized Sri lanka. Missionary schools were established. Womans were forced to go nuns. Religious transition allowed entree to instruction ( Lusitanian and the Dutch ( 1658 ) ) [ 12 ]
  • In the early 19Thursdaycentry the British colonaised. Schools were tought in the English medium. Male elites destined for adminitrative places were involved. Other schools had Tamil and Sinhala medium for common people. Merely a few adult females were literate despite the westernized instruction. [ 13 ]
  • Male instruction rate was lifting, compared to the females. “By 1921 female literacy rate for the Christians was 50 % , Buddhists 17 % , Hindus 10 % , and Muslims merely 6 % ” [ 14 ]
  • “male literacy rates were 66 % for Christians, 50 % Buddhists, 45 % Muslims, and 37 % Hindus” [ 15 ]

Influence of the policy on adult females literacy and authorization

  • The prevalence of literacy rates tended to be higher in urban countries than in rural countries and it accounts for cultural factors among Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu adult females. [ 16 ]
  • Significant difference took topographic point in secondary and higher instruction as a effect of free instruction in 1950s. [ 17 ]
  • Female literacy rate rose from 46,2 % in 1946 to 67.1 % in 1963 [ 18 ]
  • By 1953, 74.1 per cent of urban giirls and 52,4 per cent of the rural misss were literate [ 19 ]
  • Percentage of adult females in universities increased from 10 % in 1942 to 24.4 % in 1959. [ 20 ]
  • The first adult females pupils entered the veterinary scientific discipline, alveolar consonant, agribusiness and technology modules in the late fiftiess and early sixtiess. [ 21 ]
  • In-between category were the early donees of free instruction.
  • Womans were disadvantaged by socialisation in gendered norms.
  • Percepts of gender appropriate occupations prevented adult females from using the classs available.
  • Schools increased from 5,726 in 1945 to 9,550 in 1960s and figure of instructors doubled, half of these were adult females [ 22 ]
  • In 1960s, the per centum of adult females in the labour force ( professional and semiprofessional ) increased from 20 % to 38.7 % since free instruction increased the engagement in higher and secondary schools [ 23 ]

Beginning A: Muttra, Singh, and Bacchant Kumar. Encyclopedia of adult females in South Asia. Delhi, India: Kalpak Pub. , 2004. Print.

In footings of beginning, the book Encyclopedia of adult females in South Asia: Sri Lanka ( volume 5 ) , by writers of Indian beginning Sangh Mittra and Bachan Kumar was published on 1st of October, 2003 by Kalpaz Publications in India. This beginning serves its intent to educate the readers comprehensively about adult females in Sri Lanka with mention to historical background, spiritual position, statistics and national policies for the development of instruction ( secondary and higher ) . What makes this a valuable beginning is the primary focal point on periods of altering societal position and authorization of adult females in Sri Lanka following the dependance, and the free instruction policy. The Authors have a PhD in South-east Asian history and specialized in history and civilization of South-east Asia in the University of Delhi which renders the dependability of this beginning. The day of the month of publication Acts of the Apostless as an advantage and a disadvantage, given that it was published half a century after the constitution of free instruction policy, the point of position of the writer could reflect upon the hindsight, nevertheless on the other manus this could miss genuineness and contain misconceptions in facts. Its restriction comes in footings of the writers origins since both the writers are of Indian beginning therefore restrictive of perspectival apprehension and informant of the state of affairs in Sri Lanka. Although, the beginning of writers act as a restriction, apparently it could besides be a value since written from an foreigner position can chiefly besides prevent it from being opinionated.

Beginning B

This beginning is an infusion from a address that was delivered on the 4Thursdayof June, 1944 by the Education Minister, C.W.W.Kannangara to the province council about the Free Education Bill. The initialintentof this address was to show the free instruction measure to the legislative assembly and other delegates, nevertheless for a historian this beginning serves itsintentas a primary beginning that is able to show the point of position of Kannangara and admit his purposes. Mentioning to itsbeginnings, thevalueof the beginning is that it is a address that was delivered by the individual who introduced the free instruction policy himself therefore saying his purposes and showing the official policy. Furthermore, the address addresses gender equality and adult females literacy when Kannangara said “Every person must hold an equal chance for instruction regardless of gender so that their innate ability can be used, be it a adult male or a woman” . However, this beginning is besides arestrictiondue to the fact that the original address was delivered in Sinhala and it was interpreted in English, which could incorporate inaccuracies and misconceptions. Anotherrestrictionis that a historiographer is unable to make up one’s mind the effectivity of the policy and Kannangara’s purposes through this beginning.

Section DSection D

This probe is important in its historical context because the free instruction policy in Sri Lanka that came into consequence in October, 1945 introduced by the first curate of instruction to Sri Lanka C.W.W.Kannangara influenced many societal groups in Sri Lanka, among which the extremely benefitted were adult females. The free instruction policy opened doors to under privileged societies in the state and besides saw adult females literacy rate addition from 46.2 % in 1946 to 67.1 % in 1963 though some historiographers argue it as a natural stage in development of a state.

On the 4Thursdayof June, 1944 Kannangara presented the free instruction measure to the province council, faltering upon many obstructions this policy was successfully in consequence in 1945. In Kannangara’s address on the 4Thursdayof June to the legislative assembly he highlighted that “access to instruction should be made equal to all persons irrespective of societal position, gender and ethnicity” . Therefore, the policy suggested that instruction will be free of charge in all province authorities schools irrespective of gender and societal position. Though the effectivity of this policy was unknown in his address, the statistics acquired from beginning A is declarative that addition of adult females literacy rate from 46.2 % to 67.1 % is in kernel due to the constitution of the free instruction policy.

There are different positions that underline the effectivity and influence of the free instruction policy on adult females empowerment. As Malathi De Alwis states “The adult females ‘s function and position have gone through many stages of alteration over clip. The debut of free instruction policy introduced in 1945 in Sri Lanka has paved the manner for adult females to hold equal entree to higher instruction and they have successfully used their educational accomplishments as an effectual tool to interrupt down the barriers of a patriarchal society to a great extent” . Though this statement is true, it is merely to a certain extent. Prior to the constitution of the free instruction policy through the class of colonialist Sri Lanka, an instability between gender literacy was seen, which accounted mostly on cultural background and gender perceptual experiences. Work force were intended to be educated, in comparing to adult females whose instruction was extremely circumscribed particularly in under privileged societies. This point is stressed by Malathi when she said “The instruction of adult females, their employment outside the place, their agitation for political rights etc, have been perceived as possible menaces to adult females ‘s “ traditional ” functions and position within Ceylonese society” . However, after the debut of the free instruction policy in 1945, due to the equal entree given to adult females, the female literacy bit by bit rose. In 1963 1 was able to see 67.1 % of adult females educated compared to 46, 2 % in 1946. Nevertheless, gender disparities still existed when it came to choice of university classs and occupations. Although the labour force increased from 20 % to 39 % by 1960, it was still restricted due to perceptual experiences of gender appropriate occupations. Therefore, one can reason that although, the free instruction policy saw an addition in instruction of adult females the sum of adult females come ining higher places was really limited within period of 1950 to 1960 since gender norms still existed.

Besides, the authorization of adult females was non extremely dependent on the free instruction policy despite the fact that the literacy rates increased. Srimavo Bandaranaike was elected on the 21st of July 1960, as premier curate, doing her the first female Prime curate in the universe. She came from an Aristocratic background, and was educated in Colombo St. Bridget’s Convent which is a private English medium school dedicated for rich businessperson. This makes it certain that free instruction played no function in her being literate. Having dropped out of school before high school, she was married to a lifting politician Solomon W.R.D. Bandaranaike who became the premier curate of Sri Lanka in 1956. Following the blackwash of her partner in 1959 she was forced to run on behalf of her hubby. In an interview she admitted that “I had no purpose to take up political relations during his life. Except after he died, people wanted me. I was more or less forced to take the party after his decease. After much consideration, I agreed to take up the leading of the party” . Therefore, Srimavo had no peculiar involvement in political relations and did non emphasize in women’s issues. During runs she frequently burst into cryings, as critiqued by oppositions and historiographers as “the crying widow” . Her coming to power as a alternate for her hubby was wholly due to sympathy though it is ill-defined how much impact her gender had on her raising to power, since many disagree that she stood as a figure stand foring adult females. Therefore, authorization of adult females was non wholly reliant on the free instruction.

Historians like K.Indrapala argue it was “a patterned advance and a natural stage in development of a state… .it is the circumstance that as states develop, women’s authorization will follow naturally” . This statement is somewhat beliing because free instruction policy was the drive factor behind the immediate rise of adult females literacy and representations in universities. Although one can reason the fact that Sri Lanka being decolonized and belonging as member in the commonwealth allowing the societies to educate adult females as a consequence of being westernized. However, the success of free instruction could be seen in hindsight of its constitution, it could be see instantly in merely 10 old ages, given that gender norms still existed.

  • Colonne, Mrs. C. A. Chaminda. Interview by writer. Personal interview. Sri Lankan embassy of Berlin, August 17, 2014.

Web sites

  • Avakashaya, Marga. “ Empowerment of Women through Education: The Situation in Sri Lanka – . hypertext transfer protocol: // ( accessed June 12, 2014 ) .
  • Sri Lanka-Education. ” Sri Lanka-Education. hypertext transfer protocol: // ( accessed August 2, 2014 ) .
  • BBC. “ Srimavo Bandaranaike foremost adult female Prime Minister. ” BBC News. hypertext transfer protocol: // ( accessed August 7, 2014 ) .
  • “ Education in Sri Lanka. ” WENR. hypertext transfer protocol: // ( accessed August 7, 2014 ) .
  • “ A soundless revolution? ‘Free Education’ and Sri Lankan adult females. ” The Island. hypertext transfer protocol: // page_cat=article-details & amp ; page=article-details & A ; code_title=58191 ( accessed October 1, 2014 ) .


  • Seneviratne, Maureen. “ Early life. ” InSirimavo Bandaranaike, the universe ‘s first adult female Prime Minister: a life. Capital of sri lanka: Hansa Publishers in association with Laklooms, 1975. 13.
  • Alwis, Malathi de. , and Mu. PonI?nI?ampalam.MuttukkalI?ai viI„cutal: IlanI‡kaiyil penI?kalI?inI? vaI„kkurimai iyakkam. KolI?umpu: CamuI„ka VinI?nI?aI„nI?ikalI? CanI‡kam, 2002.
  • Seneviratne, Maureen. “ Early life. ” In Sirimavo Bandaranaike, the universe ‘s first adult female Prime Minister: a life. Capital of sri lanka: Hansa Publishers in association with Laklooms, 1975.
  • Paxton, Pamela Marie, and Melanie M. Hughes. InWomen, political relations, and power a planetary position. Los Angeles: Pine Forge Press, 2007. 85.
  • Mittra, Sangh, and Bachchan Kumar. “ Towards gender equality in entree to instruction. ” InEncyclopaedia of adult females in South Asia. Delhi, India: Kalpaz Pub. , 2004. 31.

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