A Data Story: Skewed & Surprising Numbers about Sri Lankan Education

If you attended a National School in Colombo, it is highly likely you stayed in a longer crowd in Canteens than the others

You Don’t Say?

Note: The data is based on publicly available latest data (2013/2014) that I could find from http://www.data.gov.lk/ . However, there is a publication from department of Education for the year 2017 but there is a very low deviation with related to the data from 2013/2014 to 2017, which the deviation is discussed in a later part of this article.

1. Colombo National Schools are insanely Overcrowded.

  • The National Schools in Colombo are way overcrowded. The average students per National School in Colombo overpasses next-in-the-line ‘Gampaha’ from around 500 students.
  • The national average for National Schools is around 2278 students per school. Colombo National Schools overpass that amount by around 1200 students (1186.66 to be exact)
Colombo on Top, while Gampaha and Anuradhapura are next in line

2. National schools in Kandy & Badulla are underutilized?

  • Surprisingly, National schools in Kandy & Badulla are underutilized(? )
  • Kandy has the second-highest number of National Schools(35), making it only one less than Colombo (Colombo-36), but average students per school are around 1700 (1682.37 to be exact), it is less 578 than the national average.
  • Badulla, from the other hand is the other outlier below-the-line, which has around 27 national schools, while the average is around 1390 students per school. This is less than almost 900 students than the national average (889 to be exact)
Colombo, Kandy & Badulla are clear outliers

3. Except for Western Province Schools & Puttalam, Provincial Schools have less than 400 students (average)

  • Colombo provincial schools are 84% more crowded than the ones around national average, while schools in Gampaha are 70% more crowded.
Colombo & Gampaha lead the list, again
  • When it comes to numbers, Gampaha has the most number of Students who are studying in schools maintained by the Provincial Council, while Kurunegala being the second & Colombo being 3rd
Gampaha & Colombo are clear outliers

How about private schools?

  • Well, you guys had a fairly better life(?).
Note that there is no single private school in Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Ampara, Killinochchi, Mullaitivu,Vavuniya & Mannar
  • The number of average students in Private schools vary, still making Colombo Private schools top in the chart.

4. Access to National Schools is unfairly uneven?

  • National Schools are directly monitored by the ‘Central’ government, while the Provincial Schools are maintained by the respective province.
  • But the access to the Government National schools is significantly higher for Southern Province, Colombo & Kaluthara in Western Province.
  • Gampaha has surprisingly lower access to the National Schools, comparing to the other two districts in Western Province.
  • The data is based on 2013 statistics, which is only 4 years apart from 2009- end of War. It is understandable why Kilinochchi & Mullative is among the lowest, but why Nuwara Eliya was ill-treated? (being the lowest %). From the other hand, as we discussed earlier, National Schools from adjacent Kandy & Badulla seemed to be underutilized.

5. Private Education has a long way to go

  • Colombo has the highest percentage of students who are studying in Private Institutes, followed by Jaffna & Gampaha.
  • Only Colombo has more than 15% private students, while the second best is 6%, from Jaffna.
  • Still, a high percentage of student rely on Government Education.

Few things Authorities can work on

a) Colombo Schools need more attention.

  • Irrespective of the type, National-Provincial or Private, Colombo Schools are overcrowded
  • National Schools in Colombo are way overcrowded. Instead of ‘stacking more students up’ in National Schools, the government need to figure out a way.

b) Increase Intake to National Schools in Kandy & Badulla

  • As it appears, Some National Schools in Kandy & Badulla can accommodate more (or government might have declared few schools as national schools, which they don’t quite deserve to be)

c) Make access to National schools fairer

  • Everybody pays taxes to the government. So everybody deserves ‘equal care’ from Government back.
  • While most western & southern districts enjoy the benefit of national schools, the Nothern, North central provinces and some parts in Wayamba deserves better!

d) Fix Nuwara Eliya (also Kilinochchi & Mullative)

  • Reiterating the fact, Students in Nuwara Eliya has very low (less than 5%) access to National Schools.
  • Subsequently, Kilinochchi & Mulative is also needed to be fixed

P.S : Deviation from 2013 to 2017

  • Any guesses for the changes from 2013 to 2017



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