24 August, 2019

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Ministry Of Education: Violates Court Order In Overcrowding Classrooms Racket

Officials of the Ministry of Education are blatantly violating an existing court order and continue to force Principals of prominent government schools to enroll students especially to unsuspecting grades such as 3,4,7,8 and 9 in what has now been exposed as another huge money making scandal, Colombo Telegraph can reveal today.

Akila – Minister Of Education

As per documents released by a leading school in Colombo in accordance with an order given by the Right To Information Commission, a large number of such admission instructions have come from the high ranking officials of the Ministry of Education and addressed to the Principals to admit students in this manner.

Colombo Telegraph has in its possession copies of the issued Court Order and also several letters that Education Ministry Secretaries at the time, such as Sunil Hettiarachchi, Tissa Hewavithana and Padmasiri Jayamanne have rampantly issued for such purposes.

A Principal of a prominent school in Colombo when contacted and speaking on condition of anonymity said “We do contact the Ministry of Education for verification each time we are presented with such letters to enroll students in an ad-hoc manner. More often than not it is the Senior Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Education Hemantha Prematillake who always reconfirms these requests and pressurizes us to ensure that the students are enrolled. When we highlight that the classrooms are full. He always telephones us and tells us to admit the child and report back. They are our bosses so what can we do?”

As a country Sri Lanka has always been plagued by rampant scandalous and fraudulent acts where Government Officials attached to the Ministry of Education and certain Principals of government schools have always been involved in the yearly student admissions especially to Year 1 and Year 11.

However this new racket which has been identified is where Additional Secretaries attached to the Ministry of Education have found a loop hole in the system which has fast become an alleged money spinning business.

Ideally if any vacancies exist in any classes they should be filled with the ‘Appeals Waiting List’ that already exists relevant to the year one admission intake of the vacancy.

However after the dust settles after the ‘Year One’ admissions to prestigious schools takes place every year, numerous admissions to most other grades happen through the back door without much notice and attention of the public or stakeholders of the schools. There is no transparent procedure in place to fill vacancies that occur in these grades which can be construed as a violation of public interest and the fundamental rights of deserving applicants.

Earlier In 2011 the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka as per its order in Case No S.C.F.R. 235/2011 of 18-07-2011, determined the maximum number of students in a class should be finalized to have a maximum of 35 students from year 2016 onward.

This judicial order was issued on an undertaking given by the Ministry of Education.

The Supreme Court as well as the Ministry of Education was unanimous in understanding and accepting that the student to teacher ratio must be within a limit that permits a teacher to provide sufficient attention and time to educate a child in an effective manner in his/her classroom.

Though acceptable, even a figure of 35 students in a class per teacher, far exceeds the upper limits that are practiced in the developed world.

Most European countries and the UK have a legal cap of 30 students

Whilst exhibiting callous disregard to a Supreme Court order and blatantly demonstrating the highhandedness of the bureaucratic hierarchy within the Ministry of Education, the Principals of popular schools are pressured by ministry officials, to effect and report ad-hoc admissions, instructed in writing by the respective officials.

These admissions are now been callously implemented and rather rampantly done outside the circulars governing routine admissions to state schools.

Despite ceilings being in place to limit the number of students in a class, the overcrowding of students in classrooms lead to disrupting the conducive teaching and learning environment.

The learning needs of students vary from student to student with some needing special attention.

The class teacher is expected to pay special attention to all such students to ensure that they get a quality inclusive education.
In an overcrowded classroom it is impossible for a teacher to perform such a personalized duty effectively.

Every Sri Lankan child has the right to education that needs to be fulfilled through a system that offers equity in access, quality and relevance.

In Sri Lanka, primary and secondary education is essentially provided through a state run platform and conforms to the principal legislative enactment, the Education Ordinance No. 31 of 1939 and the Ceylon’s free education policy of 1945.

Every year over 320,000 new admissions take place to year one (grade 01 admissions) in state schools island wide. It is common knowledge that grade 01 admissions to state schools take place amidst a gargantuan demand with a host of irregularities and malpractices associated with the process.

What concerns most middle class parents seeking the state offered education, is securing a Grade 1 place in a national school or a school with a good record of educational progression and examination success.

A Parent’s passionate need to admit their child into a popular national school has created space for a host of fraudulent practices that exist with many parents willing to throw millions of rupees to fulfill this purpose.

It is not a secret that many Principals of the state education service have been found guilty of corrupt practices associated with school admissions of children.

Therefore, these autocratic actions of Education Ministry officials appear not only disruptive to the conducive learning environment the students are in but also a direct contravention of the order given by the highest court in Sri Lanka.

A country’s education system is the very foundation where a nation builds its tomorrow by educating its youth of today, where values, intellect and literacy is demonstrated by teachers and taught to students in their formative years.

However how could a country progress when the Ministry of Education, the very institution that is responsible to design, deliver and manage an effective education system shows callous disregard and also is in direct violation of an existing court order? (By Janaka Ranaweera)

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  • 6
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 12
    1

    Just look at all the fancy letterheads, date stamps, minutes and endorsements – a colonial bureaucratic legacy much loved by our brown sahibs churned out by Maha Vidyalayas. The thing is these bandit administrators are using these very trappings to screw the country right royally.

    • 10
      2

      Dear Ajay: We had a good colonial bureaucratic legacy but over the years got corrupted into some rot. Imagine a Ministry Secretary issuing circulars and gives directions to violate the same in writing! During the white man’s time nor even after a few years it did not happen. It is known that Rt. Hon. D. S. Senanayake, the Prime Minister of the day, wanted not to issue Passports to certain individuals. The Controller of Immigration and Emigration of the day, perhaps identifying as an officer of His Ceylonese Majesty, refused to accede to that request and told the Premier to change the law if he wanted to have his way. Such was the respect to law. So, the citizenship act came into being. Clearly the irrational / illegal act of the Ministry Secretary is entirely due to political pressure. Remember it was Premier Ranil, then as leader of the Opposition who mooted the idea of “Independent Commissions”. But when Akila Baba wanted the schemes of recruitment for principal position of leading schools, tuned according to his fancy and the Public Service Commission refuses, the same Ranil says “Mehe Vara” (You are summoned to the see the Prime Minister, the boss of the country) to the PSC to be lectured on the goodness of Akila Baba’s scheme. So it is not surprising that even Supreme Court decisions have to be ignored, because the Ranil might summon Supreme Court judges to his lair. (Do as you are told and if so you would be the next chief justice or some Ambassadorial Post after you retire!).

    • 2
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      All these problems exist because people are not forced to pay for the services they get . Students should be charged a nominal amount (say Rs 200 per month). This will help improve facilities in outlying schools. Also poaching of good teachers by big schools must stop.

  • 1
    4

    Can the documents be trusted If you look at the record, you’ll see it is for safeguarded those values.stands for a specific energy/proof brings to the world.
    document Having such documents values why is Dr Shafi still prisone

  • 1
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    Some of the classes in Royal College has in excess of 50 students.

    This is a great money making racket for Principals and senior education ministry officials to admit students after year 1 and has been going on for decades.

    Also most teachers come to school in their own car but none of them have a tax file. Cannot imagine how a car can be maintained without being a tax payer.

    The whole system is corrupt and beyond rectification !!!

  • 0
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    Overcrowding in exclusive schools is inevitable..Successive GoSL did not bother investing/improving non-exclusives. Children with political connections have places in the exclusive schools.
    Akila Viraj Kariavasam, Minister of Education and General Secretary UNP, knows that lot of people are making money off this ‘overcrowding’ disparity.
    .
    Hope Akila will use some of , stress ‘some of’, the savings of over-crowding towards the school tablets.

  • 4
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    Same thing that Ranil Wicks did during as Minister of Education under JRJ misdeeds of foul mode of governance.
    Needless to say all UNP leaders are wanted destroy entire system of very foundation of FREE Education withing short period of 4 years and 7 months.
    But Dr CWW Kannangara made best efforts to bring current this system of education several years during ruthless British rule of Island by Colonialism.
    The foundation of Education our nation was brainchild of Dr CWW. Which was not that UNP!

    Current UNP leaders are step by step eroding and undermined system fairly good shape of Education exist side by side withing its, several years after independence since 1948. But current UNP hard core ortodox chrisetn leadres that by gradually attacking by hands of Minister of Education . This is national crime by that UNP policy of Educational setup.
    The bunch of UNP traitor who are led by RW has taken revenges against for citizens of Lankan of an islanders of that people by the name of “good governances and Rule of Law” .
    Overcrowded students of classes in major factor of jeopardized education of student and teachers by education Minister.
    The Minister has spent millions of tax payers funds for PRINT his Photos School books by wild manner of undermined norms of teaching.
    Before that US military troops landed our soil an entire educations and schools will be ruin by current Minister of Education by direct advices from Wickramasinghe of R clan of life-time Chairman of UNP?
    Ours nation are in pathetic situation of all round way by that RULE of UNP ungovernaces of anarchist mode of rule of Law.
    Nation has landed to creator by UNP no way to go for either capitalism nor Democracy.
    People must be enlighten by themselves of an impending catastrophe of that all around way by MISDEEDS of UNP Governances.

  • 2
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    Akila Kariyawasam is not second to Ranil in their corruption. How much he earned form Insuring Children. It is all ways to rip the public wealth.

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