President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, the Department of Examinations and the University Grants Commission to immediately implement the recommendations made by the Committee appointed by him to report on the issues relating to the results of the GCE Advanced Level Examination.
The committee headed by Secretary to the Ministry of Technology and Research, Ms. Dhara Wijethilaka comprised the Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Prof. Shanika Hirimburegama, Vice Chancellor of the University of Moratuwa, Prof. Ananda Jayawardena, Vice Chancellor of the Uva University, Prof. Ranjith Premalal and the Principal of Royal College, Mr. Upali Gunasekera.
The President called on the committee to conduct extensive investigations into the purported allegations with regards to the district rankings and to submit a report within two weeks time.
The committee handed over its report to President Rajapaksa on January 11.
The findings of the committee are as follows:-
• The error in calculating the district rankings had been caused at the last stage
(processing stage), and not at the stage of entering data.
• This processing error had been rectified by the Department of Examinations within a short period of time and the results released thereafter do not contain inaccuracies due to this processing error.
• The officers responsible had not taken adequate steps to avoid the causes that contributed to the error.
• An independent process Audit should be carried out to provide for continuous improvements of the entire examination process. This should ideally be carried out by the Ministry of Education.
• Inquiries conducted regarding the specific appeals made by the candidates in response to the public call by the Committee, have been examined. The Committee has found that there are no processing errors in those results.
• Given the reliance of the UGC on the results of the A/L examination for University admission, the formula to be used in determining the common indicator (the use of the z score calculation) should be decided by the Commission after careful and wide consultations.
• There is a need to take several steps to enhance the capacity of the department to handle the technology related functions of the department. The Committee has identified what these are, specifically.
• As an immediate measure, the services of a Consultant should be obtained to provide advice on technology related matters.
• Matters relating to software improvements should be examined. In particular, every revision of a computer programme and data processing, should be double checked, verified and validated before implementation.
• Implementation of recommendations of previous Committees as well as this Committee, should be ensured through an Action Plan with time targets for implementation. This should be monitored by the Ministry of education.
• The cadre and financial provision required by the Department of Examinations should be provided to ensure optimum efficiency.
• Complaints with regard to the 2011 G.C.E A/L examination should be addressed by the department with extra concern and caution to restore the credibility of the department. A special help line should established to receive all the complaints and these should be responded to.