This monograph records research undertaken in three diverse rural communities comprising 397 households, 1,952 household members and 657 children aged 5-16 years. Household survey interviews were complemented by interviews with local officials, school principals and teachers and by analysis of school records. School level practices designed to improve attendance and achievement are described.
The findings suggest that there are strong rural community effects in the prediction of absenteeism and attendance at private tuition. Within communities, student achievement at Grade 5 performance is associated positively with the vernacular literacy level of the adult household member and attendance at private tuition. Performance on school-based tests is associated negatively with absence from school and household size, and positively with education assets at home and adult literacy in the vernacular and in English. Performance in the GCE O level examination is associated with the housing index, with private tuition and with adult literacy in English. Attendance at private tuition is associated positively with the availability of education assets at home and negatively with household size. Absenteeism is associated with economic status, as indicated by a housing index, and health problems.
The main challenges facing Sri Lanka currently lie in increasing the achievement levels of all social groups and in reducing dropout in the early secondary grades. Disparities need to be reduced between girls and boys, between urban and rural areas, between school types and between income groups in terms of enrolment in junior secondary and senior secondary education.
Little, A.W.; Upul Indika, H.N.; Rolleston, C. Access, Attendance and Achievementin Rural Schools in Sri Lanka. Centre for International Education, Department of Education, University of Sussex, Falmer, UK (2011) 64 pp. ISBN 0-901881-87-2 [CREATE Pathways to Access Series, Research Monograph Number 73]