Background and Rationale
The Master of Education Degree Course of the NIE commenced in 1995 with the objective of providing an opportunity for those graduates who have done well at their Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) or the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) Degree to pursue further studies in Education. The course was specifically meant for those graduates who had successfully completed the PGDE or the B.Ed. offered by the NIE but who had little or no opportunity to enroll themselves on the Master of Education Degree courses offered by the universities of the country.
In addition to providing opportunities to the clientele to pursue further studies in Education, the course also aimed at enhancing the quality of education imparted to the young of the nation. This was expected to be accomplished by developing professional competencies of the candidates by exposing them to current issues in education, and also by providing them with opportunities for research and reflection. To enable the candidates registering for the course to develop as successful collaborative professionals, the course offered three compulsory subjects under the professional component and a number of subjects under the optional component out of which the candidates could select one subject.
At the very beginning, the course was conducted only in two media, Sinhala and English. The first batch registered for the course consisted of 45 Sinhala medium students and 28 English medium students. All resource persons identified for the course had successfully completed their Doctoral Degrees. Subsequently on a request made by Tamil medium students, a decision was made to replace the English medium course by a Tamil medium course in spite of the difficulty of finding equally qualified resource persons who could teach in the Tamil medium.
There has been a noticeable annual increase in the number of candidates applying to enroll on the Master of Education Degree Course of the NIE. Although quality improvement of teachers in the system is an essential need of the country, the NIE has never been able to recruit even 10 percent of the candidates that apply for the course.
Irrespective of the new education reforms initiated in 1997 and the changes that have continued to impact education in the modern world, the curriculum of the course had remained unchanged since 1995. Taking this into consideration, a committee comprising highly competent academics from the Universities of Sri Lanka was requested to review the curriculum and suggest necessary changes. Keeping in line with the new thinking at the Ministry of Education, a decision was also made to conduct the course in the English medium.
Through a competitive selection interview conducted on the basis of following criteria.
- Academic proficiency.
- Professional contribution.
- Research conducted on one’s own initiative.
- Proficiency in English.