above the rest
Hasini, Pasindu and Savil – along with
others – have gained something that will stand them in good
stead all their lives. It is an achievement that cannot be
measured by grades alone. An achievement that comes with
learning and the feeling that they overcame the pressure and
intensity of the
examination and won
“Tuition bio, tuition pure
Na wellawa vibagae
vibage thamay ape abagey”
(From the stage drama ‘Vikurthi’)
Does these lyrics adequately describe what we all went through
during examination time? The words vibagaya (examination) and
abagaya (misfortune) sometimes get intertwined; they are
considered the same things and are caught up together when
examinations are near.
Examinations affect children in different ways. Some pass them
well, while others fail. Although education does not start or
end with examinations, for some reason examinations play a big
role in society today.
Recently, the much-awaited results of the Ordinary Level
(O/L) 2006 examination were released and the spotlight was on
three students from the Colombo District who were placed in the
top three spots with their remarkable results. A total of
440,000 students sat for the O/L 2006 examination.
With this achievement, these three students are emerging from
obscurity – now everyone wants to know who they are, which
schools they studied in and how they did so well at the O/L
Hasini Rathsara Weeratunga of Devi Balika Vidyalaya emerged the
top student and was placed in the number one position, while
Pasindu Madusanka of Nalanda College and Savil Atapattu of Royal
College were placed in the second and third positions.
School is important
In an interview with The Nation, speaking about her
achievement Hasini said with a shy smile, “I am very happy that
I was able to bring this honour to my school. No one ever forced
me to study, but my parents and teachers helped me a lot. I
expected to get 10 As but I never thought I would get the best
results in the island. I just concentrated on getting 10 As.”
Contrary to popular perception, Hasini believes that children
should attend school regularly since “school is more important
than tuition classes.” Hasini further explained that she too
attended two tuition classes, but not classes teaching the main
The best in every way
She asserted that students must partake in extra curricular
activities. “I am a prefect of my school and I think everyone
should take part in extra curricular activities because that is
a part of school life. I always looked at my education with joy
and not as a burden. My mother used to tell me to become the
best child in school – she didn’t mean only when it comes to my
education, but also with regard to behaviour, qualities and
morality. That is what I always tried to be and that is what I
worked towards. I believe my results are the outcome,” said
Hasini, who dreams of becoming an engineer in the future.
Nalandian Pasindu Madusanka, who obtained the second place in
the island for his O/L results, says he found out about his feat
over the radio.
Asked how he feels about his achievement, he said, “I’m very
happy. I checked my results on the internet and it was later
announced on the radio that I had come second in the island.
When I heard this news, I was so happy.”
He confirmed that school played a very big role in his success.
“It was because of my family, my school and everyone else who
helped me in my life that I achieved this,” he further said.
Speaking about his inspiration, Pasindu said he was inspired by
Harsha Anuruddha Dissanayake, also a Nalandian, who obtained the
best Advanced Level (A/L) results the year before.
As for school life, Pasindu said, “I took part in sports
activities and was a member of the English Debating Society. I
did not follow any particular method of studying. Other than
learning from the text books, I prepared notes and studied them
too. I would devote three days of each month to each of the 10
subjects.” Pasindu plans to become a doctor someday.
Suvil Atapattu, who came third, is a Royalist. Speaking about
his accomplishment and future plans he said, “I’m glad that I
was able to achieve something like this for my school. I entered
Royal College through the year five scholarship. Before that I
was a student of Dharmaraja College, Kandy. When it comes to
studies, my approach was to complete whatever work I had on the
same day. If I had to do something that day, I completed it
without postponing any of the work. I had a time table in my
head. I think attending school is essential despite the fact
that there are tuition classes. Extra curricular activities are
also important. For my A/Ls I will do mathematics since I want
to become an engineer.”
Fear of failure
Examinations bring enormous pressure on students and
awaiting the results is nerve-wracking. I remember how I waited
for my A/L results. The sense of impending finality was
chilling. The fear of failure was rampant.
The refrain ‘What if I fail? What will happen tomorrow?’ ran
through my head constantly. I didn’t want to fail; I was so
afraid of failure then, so I counted the hours and I counted the
days… Finally, I decided that I would not let that examination
and its results affect me in any way, that I would realise my
dreams no matter what results I obtained.
Hasini, Pasindu and Savil – along with many others – have gained
something that will stand them in good stead all their lives. It
is an achievement that cannot be measured by grades alone. An
achievement that comes with learning and the feeling that they
overcame the pressure and intensity of the examination and won.
No matter what we do in life, whatever we learn stays with us to
the end. And it is said that one never completes one’s
education, it is a process that continues right to the end.
From exam to exam, step by step, book to book, time to time, we
learn, and we live.