When I saw the article by STEPHEN J. DUBNER on Steven D. Levitt I was stunned.There could be simple answers for the seeming unexplainable complex human behaviour?I think I have a case with the pass rate of GCL O/L English .
When you look at the case It looks like there will be several obvious explanations.
1.The exam became tougher gradually from 1992-1998.
Probably not . I happened to know lot of cousins and neighbours who took the exam at the time.Except the usual distaste for exam I don't think there was a specific case for English.Then how do explain gradual slow down(47-30)?Not in jumps.it was like 47,42,38,34 etc....)
2. The quality of teachers went down from 1992 -1998.
This one might have a case.It's almost 30 years since 1956 "Sinhala -official Langauage policy" and the teachers who studied before that and were bi-lingual were retiring.From my own experiance I only knew 1 or 2 exceptional cases from "old guard" and didn't see that much of a difference in 80's when the majority were new comers.All these better older teachers were concentrated in handful of urban high schools anyway.
3.THE GRADUAL CHANGE OF CONTENT IN SRI LANKAN MEDIA ( 1992-1998).
I'm not an economist or a statistitian(although I studied both of them as subjets in my engineering curriculum.I don't remember a thing anymore!)
This one seems like thing we can check.Get the exam numbers from education department from 1981-2003.(why 1981 ?That when the TV was available throughout the country)
Then take TV viewing habit of kids age 10-15 .Get the numbers broken down into langauage ,whether they had subtitles etc....These stats might be found in a locker somewhere in the Rupavahini Corporation or SLBC I guess .
As member of the first generation of Sri Lankans to grow up with TV, I know what kind of influance it had on the whole culture and how it changed in 1990s when the media liberalization happened.I saw what the Hindi invation did to a whole generation.
I will post my experiance and conclusion in the next post.