Arts: The stream of the “WEAK”

General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (G.C.E. A/L to us) is the Sri Lankan equivalent of the British Advanced Level. There are 5 main streams; Physical science, Biological science, Commerce, Arts and Technology. My concern, however, is not on the particular examination. Zoom in on the Sri Lankan Education System, the Examinations Department, and the A/L examination then you get this teeny tiny bit of space named “Arts”.

Congratulate yourselves on finding out the stream with the lowest acceptance in the Sri Lankan mindset and then when you have had enough, hear, or rather, read my story.

The aforesaid mindset is simple and easy to understand. Do Maths or Bio (Science streams) to succeed in your life, do Arts and fail. I say so from experience, I myself am a student of the “Arts” stream. I did my Ordinary Levels, got a good result and applied to a prestigious school to study for my AL examination in the Arts Stream.


I consider myself a good student to all, so most of my past teachers and colleagues were happy. That was until I mentioned that I got into that school to do Arts. My science teacher grimaced in horror. She never expected me to stoop to such a low level with my results. She advised me that my future was at risk. She was not angry but deeply disappointed at my decision. Alas, the deed is done, and irreversible, and I was sure I wouldn’t want it any other way.

My tale is told, nothing to be surprised about until it’s finished and God forbid I predict. Let me just say that I study ICT, English and Economics. My mother expressly forbade me from saying that I was an Arts student straight out. I was to state my subjects and then, if time permits only, to state the stream. They are beyond criticism. They merely wish to shelter me from the pity I so despise. The subjects do not matter; once you are an “Arts” student, you are branded.

Despite general misconceptions, the Arts stream is the stream that is progressively being the option of many students. The main reason for this is the vast range of subjects, nearly 60, available for the students, which opens up many career paths inaccessible to students of other streams. Top careers in demand in the current job market available for Arts students include Law, Fashion Designing, Journalism, and a host of other highly-paid jobs.
However, the negativity of the naysayers affects many students intending to follow this stream, which is a big detriment to the nation’s level of intellect. The reason is when such students follow other streams to pacify those people, their lack of passion makes them a failure, a person working for the sake of working or else make them insensible citizens armed with knowledge serving themselves and not the others. It should be understood by all that a person has a right to their life and future. Deprivation of those may have effects unseen.
This narrow mindset is the cause for the doom of our nation. So many centuries have we stood in pride, but I fear if this mentality persists, we may not prevail. This is my advice to the current “Arts” students and those of the future. Do not succumb, do not give up. "In a storm, a ship that turns from a wave will flounder, but a ship that attacks the wave will rise and conquer." So therefore I say, attack the wave, rise and conquer!

Nethmi Sandithma Marcus - 16 YEARS

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Girl in a jacket     2 Comments

Girl in a jacket   

    June 15 2021 12:29 pm

No person , No Job , No Study Stream is superior than others.. WE SHOULD GET OUT from this narrow minded mentality , if we need to see our life more clear. As a country we need to start thinking differently , at least now... Start from your self, start from HOME...

Girl in a jacket   
    Nethmi Marcus

    June 15 2021 05:50 pm

This really happened to me as well. My parents told me not to tell "Arts stream" out loud. This is so powerful and love your courage for telling this out loud and clear!!