Education Minister Susil Premajayantha provided an update on the educational reforms currently underway, in Parliament this week. He said a new programme will be implemented from next year onwards for children who completed the O/L exams to get vocational training from the school itself. The Minister was responding to a question raised by Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Rohana Bandara. Accordingly, 526 schools islandwide would be eligible to carry out this training programme and 19 were selected from the Colombo district.
The Government has also decided to further extend the school lunch programme under the policy of eradicating poverty during the crisis situation prevailing in the country. The Minister said the Government expected to immediately implement programmes aimed at addressing concerns raised about the nutrition of school children. “Currently we are already providing meals for students. We have allocated Rs. four billion annually. Now we are spending Rs. 60 for each student and intend to increase it up to Rs. 75. One million more students will be added to this programme,” he said.
UNICEF, the World Bank and the Chinese Government donated another 500 metric tonnes of rice for needy students in Sri Lanka and various other institutions provided their assistance for this programme as well. An additional Rs. four billion would be added to this programme in future, the Minister added. Moreover, the Minister said more than 4,000 school principal vacancies in the public education sector were not filled in the past couple of years, as the relevant principal competition exams were not held. He added that around 1,700 candidates who scored well in the 2019 exam were eligible, and they had submitted appeals to the Attorney General in this regard.
Therefore the relevant appointments would be made soon, once these problems were resolved. Moreover, in accordance with policy decisions made with the Interim Budget, those who had reached the age of 60 should retire. As a result seven of the nine Provincial education directors in the special grade of education will retire this year, the Minister said. Accordingly, 31 people under the special grade of education administration were scheduled to retire, and if a special request was made for their retirement the Public Administration Ministry could present it to the Cabinet and provide a solution to continue the administration without collapse, the Minister added.