Z-Scores and Zeros
Daily Mirror Editorial
Jan 19, 2011

So, it happened again. If it was in a land where ethics and fundamentals of humanity were respected and valued, the errant officials and the incompetent high-heads who guide them, would have submitted their resignation letters with notes of apology. Yet,in Sri Lanka, such noble gestures are in the list of impossibilities; such spectacles only exist in midsummer dreams.

Just as the aggrieved students and parents who were victimized by the A/L results mishap thought justice would prevail, the recent release of Russian Language results not only trampled their hopes but also shattered the minimal dose of faith they had in the system. By releasing the results of the Russian Language paper without the district and island ranks, the Department not only exhibited its barefaced unprofessionalism and incurable incompetence in dealing with such matters but also its actions spoke aloud the fact that the authority has not yet learnt its lessons.

The Commissioner of the School Exam Organization H.J.M.C.A. Jayasundara said if the rankings of the 36 students concerned were released, the rest of the results should also be reassesed accordingly. His statement begs the question as to whether it was the fault of the students to have sat an examination the department right royally goofed up! It appears that the thirty-six students who sat for the paper in question had been punished for the grave error they committed by choosing the subject, which compelled them to walk away with results sheets that do not contain their district and island ranks. Will they ever be compensated is a question worth pursuing.

In the latest turn of events, Prof. R.O. Thatil who introduced the Z-score has been put in the list of least favourite persons for challenging the accuracy of the results released recently. Ideally, a responsible government body should be taking every possible measure to rectify the situation rather than calling Prof. Thatil a traitor, just because he was brave enough to call an error an error. The tragicomic re-action of the government leaves the question as to how the minister and the authorities attained such an expertise to deny a statement made by a person like Prof. Thatil who has been in the field for so long: It is comic because they are parading the roads with the emperorís clothes; tragic because they expect the public to admire their garbs when they are not wearing any.

While most of the concerned parties called the expert panel appointed by the President to probe into the confusion, mere eyewash, the UNP stressed the need to scrap the Z-score system. However, it is imperative that rival political parties should not use this major misfortune for their thriving.

It needs a certain amount of nobleness to admit a mistake. Unfortunately, we have become fools for attempting to see such nobleness inside empty-headed, shallow minded people who run the system.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka