While the government basked in the glory of staging a grand welcome for the Chinese President who arrived in the island yesterday, part of the financial burden of the festivities had been forced upon the parents of children who participatd in the welcome event.
Over 2500 children were stationed along Colombo – Katunayake expressway under the hot sun to perform a dance yesterday morning as part of the welcome for the Chinese President who drove out of the Bandaranaike International Airport.
Students from schools in the Minuwangoda and Negombo education zones had been selected for these dances while another group of students from Newstead Girls College, Davisamara Maha Vidyalaya and Ave Maria College had been made to perform a welcome dance inside the BIA for the Chinese President. They had missed two days of school as a result of participating in the dances.
Parents and teachers are disgruntled about the use of students for these events as the financial burden of the costumes for the dances as well as transportation costs have been forced upon school authorities who in turn have palmed it off on the parents. Education professionals point out that the use of children in this manner is in clear violation of education ministry circulars that state that school children including bands cannot be used in political events.
Similar course of action was followed by the Government in staging performances for the CHOGM held last year where parents were forced to pay Rs. 2000 – 4000 per costume for the dances that students performed.