Institute of National Security Studies (INSS), the premier think tank on national security established and functioning under the Ministry of Defence organized a Round Table Discussion on “Alternatives to traditional schooling system: Asset or liability?” on Tuesday, the 25th April 2023 from 0900hrs to 1100hrs (IST) via Zoom. The Guest Speakers of the event were, Susan R. Copeland, PhD, BCBA-D, Regents’ Professor, Department of Special Education, College of Education and Human Sciences, University of New Mexico, Mr. Sanath Jayalath, Director, Bilingual Education of the Ministry of Education, Dr. Udena R Attygalle, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Srimavo Bandaranayake Specialized Children hospital Peradeniya and Mrs. Nirmali Wickremesinghe, innovative educationist and Consultant, Gateway Group of Schools. The discussion was moderated by Rear Admiral Dimuthu Gunawardena RWP**, RSP, VSV, USP, nswc, psc, hdmc, Acting Director General and Director (Communications and Publications) of the Institute of National Security Studies. The audience consisted of Ministry officials, policymakers, academicians, principals, researchers, representatives from Sri Lankan armed forces and Sri Lanka Police.
Aftermath of the welcome remarks, Rear Admiral Dimuthu Gunawardena commenced the discussion by giving an introduction to traditional schooling and emerging types of alternative schools and the predicament of them. Then, he invited each speaker by giving a brief introduction to them. Firstly, Professor Susan R Copeland delivered an illustrious presentation on United States of America’s perspective on alternatives to traditional schooling extensively by depicting pros, cons and challenges. Mr. Sanath Jayalath highlighted about Education Ministry perspectives and referred to education structure in Sri Lanka, existing circulars, Acts, expectations and regulations. Next, Dr. Udena R Attygalle delivered a thought-provoking presentation by highlighting psychological implications on alternatives to traditional schooling by pointing how stress affects humans differently likewise. Final speaker was Mrs. Nirmali Wickremesinghe and she made a lively presentation on parental nurturing of children and its importance. Aftermath of the three presentations, moderator opened the floor for the Q and A discussion which was fruitful and imperative. Consequentially, the event was concluded with the vote of thanks.