Since January 2007 history is taught in government schools in Sri Lanka as a separate subject from year 6 to year 11 onwards. Furthermore English medium private schools that follow the national curriculum have proliferated throughout the island and have become the main provider of employment for our recently passed out History graduates. Most of them, however, are recruited immediately after graduating without any prior training or experience in teaching. As the principal national university producing quality graduates with a Special Degree in History or General degree graduates having studied History as a subject the University of Colombo, building on its existing strengths has a critical role to play in two ways, through the creation of the two following programs:
A Postgraduate Diploma in Historical Studies
This taught course will help university graduates in particular become competitive in order to seize new opportunities that will arise for history specialist teachers, by providing them with an in-house training in new teaching methods, new trends in the discipline and a deeper understanding of subjects related to the school history curriculum.
An M.A in Historical Studies
This one year program will combine the writing of a thesis with taught courses. It will be open to graduates who have specialized in History or who have followed the postgraduate diploma.
These two courses will differ from existing courses offered by the National Colleges of Education (NCOEs) and by the NIE through the Distance Education Program and Post Graduate courses in Education in the following manners:
– They will be based on a critical approach to the discipline of history and taught by internationally recognized academics
– they will incorporate new thinking and new readings in the field of Sri Lankan and world history
– they will encourage debates and questions among the participants in the program