Low end private education in Sri Lanka boils down to “Tuition” classes. Which to generalise, are mass cram classes for the two colonial era exams that dominate practically every Sri Lankan childhood. I think its safe to say that “tuition classes” are a quintessential part of growing up in Sri Lanka for at least a generation.
They are the consequence of an exam driven education system and a crumbling public education infrastructure. Definitely an universe away from the hard currency fees of international schools and their prospect of a first world university experience. The politics of education in Sri Lanka is as with most things, a sad and complicated business. The Education Forum (probably the most depressing blog in the entire Sri Lanka blogosphere) has the grim details.
The public face of low end private education in Sri Lanka are these fluorescent coloured posters splattered on walls or hung from lamp posts. The format is quite consistent and it most likely template driven – possibly by a single printer. The conventions are similar to a movie poster but with greater uniformity in terms of colour. I have noticed that these conventions of colour and information hierarchy are closely followed all over the island. Posters in Galle, Colombo, Dambulla and on the roads between those places don’t have too much radical variation.
The hierarchy of the most common layout consists of
- the name of the person giving the class has the most prominent position in the layout
- the subject name in English
- then the name of the exam
- things like time and location require closer scrutiny.
The fact that the names of the “tutors” are given such prominence indicates that the tuition “industry” has its stars. Their names are associated with a better chance at the exams than the competition. Clearly you have to be “in the know” to realise the significance of these names. Perhaps the dynamics of the tuition world is a great topic for a first world research grant.
The image below shows variation within what might be called a “standard” layout
The poster below is a bit of an oddity in that its not aimed at neither of the two exams most tuition classes cater to.
More images to follow when i get around to it…
If you have any images of similar posters please add a link to in your comment.