The Education Ministry will call for applications for intermediate classes after almost a year, a senior official said. Soon after the new term commences next month, applications will be called to admit students to intermediate classes. The admissions would cover classes from Grades 2 to 5 and Grades 6 to 10. The respective schools with the vacancies will call for applications, and after the selections are made they will need to get approval from the Ministry. The Ministry will not send lists of students to be included or allow various institutions to add more names.
The official said the system was suspended due to various controversies, therefore this time they were proceeding without any external interference. The new Education Secretary M N Ranasinghe issued a circular with guidelines to regulate the admission of students to intermediate grades of public schools. The National Audit Office in a report said principals of 37 so-called popular Government schools were forced to admit 2,237 students to intermediate grades between January 2020 and May 2022, based on letters issued to them by an Education Secretary.
This was allegedly done bypassing formal procedures introduced to ensure fairness. The audit reports of 2020, 2021, and 2022, on these admissions have been submitted to the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE). This was before Mr Ranasinghe assumed duty. The NAO in a special audit report also revealed the total number of letters granted by the Secretary during the period was more than 4,775 and the bulk of them – 72 percent – were written in response to requests, representations, and orders from public representatives including ministers, department heads, officials from the Presidential Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s office and parliamentarians. -DWI