Girls in Sri Lankan Schools Gain Access to Science and Technology

Video | 16 December 2015

A loan from ADB is helping Sri Lanka upgrade secondary schools, giving many girls the opportunity of achieving their dream of qualifying in science and technology subjects and ultimately working in male-dominated professions.

Transcript

Title: Girls in Sri Lankan Schools Gain Access to Science and Technology

Description: A loan from ADB is helping Sri Lanka upgrade secondary schools, giving many girls the opportunity of achieving their dream of qualifying in science and technology subjects and ultimately working in male-dominated professions.

VO: Schools in Sri Lanka are undergoing sweeping changes. The country is modernizing the curriculum to adapt to its growing economy, this mean more streams in science and technology. But while science occupations offer better job prospects, girls have traditionally focused their studies on the arts. Few are encouraged to pursue what is generally seen as a male field of study.

SOT: Sivakanthy Sivapathasundaram
Teacher-in-charge for Guidance and Counselling Activities
Sri Somaskanda College Secondary School
There still is a cultural perception that women are weaker and do not like hands-on jobs like engineering. Therefore, the number of girls learning math and science is low.

VO: For those who have shown an interest in science, a lack of science teachers and laboratories specially in rural and conflict affected areas has limited their learning options.  A loan from the Asian Development Bank is helping Sri Lanka upgrade secondary schools in some of the country’s poorest areas including in Puttur, the predominantly Tamil neighborhood on the outskirts of the northern city of Jaffna. Among other improvements the Sri Somaskanda College Secondary School has installed new facilities for biosciences and technology. And the number of girls enrolling in this fields has risen dramatically. Ruviththa Uthayakumar is about to graduate with an advanced level in biotechnology.

SOT: Uthayakumar Ruviththa
Biotechnology Studies, Sri Somaskanda College
Puttur, Sri Lanka
My ambition is to become a university lecturer. I am confident I can pass the exam and attend university. If I can do well in my university education, I would be able to become a university lecturer.

VO: Ruviththa is fortunate to have a well-equipped school so close to her home. In the past students interested in science would have to take a bus to the city center and back to attend the school with a science program, which was costly and time consuming. Now Ruviththa says, she can focus her time and knowledge on bringing positive change to her country. Student, N. Vinoja is wrapping up her high school education in biological science. She expects to become one of the few women doctors from her town.

SOT: N. Vinoja
Biological sciences, Sri Somaskanda College
Puttur, Sri Lanka
Since I was a child, I dreamt of becoming a doctor. So I chose science at school and my parents were happy with that. Had I chosen arts I would only be able to become a teacher. But in the field of bioscience there are many different opportunities.

VO: Breaking down barriers to science and other fields in schools, girls in Sri Lanka are finding new opportunities to reach their dreams.