25 June, 2017

Why Is The Ministry Of Education Not Appointing Principals Of National Schools As Information Officers?

Media recently reported that there is only one IO (Information Officer) appointed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act for national schools at Isurupaya who is unable to answer all the many information requests being made by parents. 

Education Minister – Akila Viraj Kariyawasam

That Information Officer is apparently dodging calls by parents. When parents go to the Education Ministry personally demanding answers under RTI, the officer is nowhere to be seen and is in hiding!   

The Colombo Telegraph was also unable to get through to the Ministry appointed Information Officer. However when Colombo Telegraph contacted confidential sources within the Ministry as to why this so, it was learnt that the Ministry does not want to nominate principals as information officers as then all the nefarious dealings by politicians will come to light. Principals will disclose how they are forced to giving special treatment to one child over another because of pressure from outside quarters.’Everyone is getting scared of this Act’ the source told Colombo Telegraph. ‘Kattiya dangalanawa (they are squirming).”  

In one instance, a principal of a well known school in Galle had been repeatedly questioned by an angry mother as to why her child was not admitted to primary Grade and had finally told her ‘I had no choice. I was sent a ‘chit’ by a politician to admit another child so I had to listen to that. If I am allowed to give that information, I will as I have to by law and then, I will not lose my job.’ In another case, the principal of a school had given the information asked for even though he was not the information officer and the parent has filed a court case challenging her child’s rejection to school based on that information.    

Unable to cope with the pressure, Isurupaya has said that it will establish a special unit of Information Officers to ‘deal’ with those requests. But the question is if members of this ‘special unit’ will be ‘coached’ to give answers in a particular way so as to avoid their duties under the RTI Act. Colombo Telegraph will be monitoring this.   

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Latest comments

  • 3
    0

    Right to information in our impoverished third world hell?
    NEVER.
    The uneducated uncultured filth are still free?

    • 4
      0

      Dear Wimal,
      When you look at the quality of the website of ministry of education, you will know the quality of work they are doing in the ministry. The website is never updated. Who cares? . In ministry of education, most of the officers are not much educated. They are the people taking policy decisions. This ministy is called as ministry of “Madanamuthas”.

      Now the minister is interested in earning through BEd courses to be conducted by private institutions. Another SAITEM. There are a large number of teachers heaped in many schools. There is no transfer scheme and they are not followed. The ministry of education is wasting a large sum of money in the name of training and workshops. Thanks for the government to cut the budget for education. Teachers are blindly trained in teachers colleges and colleges of education. Their qualities are horrible. We have no an educated education minister. So the rest is your guess.

      Dr. Perera

      • 3
        0

        Interesting to know the Education Minister is not Educated!!
        Whatttt?
        Have we reached to the rock bottom?? So there we go , the ED Minister nominates all sorts of nincompoops to run the schools island wide while the Minister and his cohorts are busy collecting Luxury vehicle permits.

        Dogs Leads Dogs. What a disgraceful Thirdworld country it has fast become to.

        We the once proud nation of High Literacy in the Asian corner few Decades ago.
        Now we’re the proud Nation of CROOOKS!! From the Politicians and leaders , Educationist to Law and Order to Health.
        We’ll talk about Health Ministry , the disgraceful Greedy , Selfish Medics ( GMOA) holding the country to Ransome!!

        All because our President and the PM continues to remain in deep Slumber or drunken Stupor??
        God save our Nation .

      • 1
        0

        Dr. Perara

        “When you look at the quality of the website of ministry of education, you will know the quality of work they are doing in the ministry. The website is never updated. Who cares? . In ministry of education, most of the officers are not much educated. They are the people taking policy decisions. This ministy is called as ministry of “Madanamuthas”.”

        Is it in the water, or is in the genes of the Paras in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho?

        National IQ Scores – Country Rankings

        The intelligence scores came from work carried out earlier this decade by Richard Lynn, a British psychologist, and Tatu Vanhanen, a Finnish political scientist, who analysed IQ studies from 113 countries, and from subsequent work by Jelte Wicherts, a Dutch psychologist.

        Countries are ranked highest to lowest national IQ score.

        Rank
        ——– Country
        ———————– %
        ————-
        1 Singapore 108
        2 South Korea 106
        3 Japan 105
        4 Italy 102
        .
        .
        28 Sri Lanka 79

    • 4
      0

      Wimal, you said it. The information will NEVER come for if it does then there will be hell to pay for these SOB’S. Can you see the cultured look on the FACE of this Minister. He has made a mockery of Education in this Country. Today every sphere of education in schools is in a utter mess. There are no Principals, no Teachers, roofs of schools collapse on poor students, he protects his lackeys who are holding on to plum positions in the Ministry despite the fact that they know sweet B ALL, and he now plans to meddle with the Administration of the school going age of our children that has stood the test of time for generations.
      It is with a feeling of deep sorrow that I see the havoc this guy is sowing in the field of today’s education.He is said to be the blue eyed boy of the Yahapalana NO 2, and is confident that whatever corruption he is involved in, he is safe from any “shuffling “. Another pathetic incapable and outrages Minister of this disastrous Govt.

  • 0
    0

    Some of them are already Information Officers because they connive with politicians to bend the rules for admitting students.

  • 1
    0

    My wife sent by registered post a request to the Information officer of UGC requesting the scheme of recruitment for the post of lecturer probationary and senior lecturer -11 including amended circular 721 with their notes, special notes and Establishment Circulars related to the scheme. However, she has not yet received any reply. It is almost two months passed.

    This is the fate of this Act now. I do not know to whom I need to complain about this.

    • 1
      0

      The UGC has not appointed an information officer or a designated officer and is in violation of the Act. Complain directly to the RTI Commission.

      Details of Commission id & personal contact details of Comm/n members available at https://www.parliament.lk/get-involved/right-to-information

      • 1
        0

        Prameetha,

        “The UGC has not appointed an information officer or a designated officer and is in violation of the Act. Complain directly to the RTI Commission.”

        Yes.

        The Head or CEO becomes the IO if there is nobody appointed but how to appeal to an unknown DO during the 14 day dead line?

        The UGC is not the only one with similar problems.

        • 1
          0

          From what I understand, the Act/Regulations and announcements by the Gvt states the following

          1. In Ministries and Departments which have appointed Information Officers but not Designated Officers, the Gvt has announced that the Secy to the Ministry will become the DO. So the DO is known even if that Dept or Ministry does not specifically say so.

          2. Re autonomous institutions like the UGC who have not appointed either an IO or DO, inform the Media Ministry which implements RTI under the Act that there is a violation of the Act and also appeal directly to the Commn.

          3. If any Ministry has not appted an IO in the first place, then someone seeking information can make a request to the Secy to the Ministry and then go directly to the Commn.

      • 0
        0

        Thank you for your reply. I got the email and contact numbers of the commission members
        Dr.Jazeel

        • 0
          0

          Dr Jazeel,

          “I got the email and contact numbers of the commission members”

          My humble understanding is that the RTI Commission requires an appeal to be in writing and delivered by post or hand. Sending an e-mail or calling will not hurt.

          Please post any additional information you receive from the Commission here.

    • 0
      0

      I think that essential data on recruitment policy and procedure are available on the UGC Website. (But policy was for long a bit of a jungle with too many circulars, with some contradicting others.)
      But a Google search should yield the relevant results if you are specific.

      • 1
        0

        SJ,

        I was very surprised to find the minutes of the meetings of the US Federal Reserve Bank on line. If the all mighty Fed controlling the value of the “In God We Trust” currency aka USD and the world economy is transparent how can the less important institutions have problems with transparency?

        What the minutes show is an other matter.

        • 0
          0

          The problem to me is not transparency but translucency.
          Access through legitimate channels has never been an issue for me.
          It is selective and distorted leaking and misuse of information that bothers one.
          When there is a code of confidentiality one abides by it. To breach it for dubious purposes is bad.

          As a teacher-examiner, I like students to see the marked answer script. I have made extensive comments on assignments.
          On occasion, I have (with due permission) provided access to test papers forming part of continuous assessment.
          All such access is good educationally and will eliminate abuse by examiners.
          But there are practical issues (mainly numbers and monitoring).
          A feasible a mechanism should be put in place with fair and equal access to all.
          Until then, I will not discuss the marking of a paper with a candidate.

    • 0
      0

      Dr Jazeel,

      “This is the fate of this Act now. I do not know to whom I need to complain about this.”

      Please be patient. The people serving us need time for understanding the RTI.

      Like my friend “SJ” I believe that your wife can find the information in the circulars available on the UGC page. Most but not all Circulars are there.

      The information is also available from the Administration Establishment Branch of the universities from a Senior Assistant Registrar.

      I don’t know if the UGC has an IO but maybe your wife approached the “head”?. There is no IO or DO on the home page of the UGC. Actually there is nothing on the RTI Act there.

      Before appealing to the RTI Commission your wife should appeal to the DO of UGC. The catch 22 is that the DO of UGC is unknown and the dead line has passed!

      You can find the information without a RTI request but if I were you I would appeal to the RTI Commission to make it known that the UGC is not implementing the RTI Act. You can send a registered letter explaining that there is no reply from the IO (=”Head”?) and that the DO is not known. My understanding is that you do not have to use the form that you can find on line. If the 2 month dead line has passed explain that you were expecting a reply and allowing extra time for the IO.

  • 1
    0

    Now that RTI has eventuated, the next step is to make it work for the people. This needs will.

    School principals must not be asked to provide information on themselves. Independent persons must do this job. Independent people are as rare as hen’s teeth and we are back to square one!

    Education must not be experimented upon. Remember GR wanted all teachers to have military training. What happened to this scatter brain project?

    • 0
      0

      You said SCATTER BRAIN?
      You are risking getting your brain scattered!

  • 0
    0

    Under RTI Act No: 12 of 2016, which had come into force in Sri Lanka on 03rd February, 2017, as the details of the Information Officer is not yet published in the website of the Pension Department, I applied for information to the Head of the Department in his capacity as the Information Officer in terms of clause 23 (1) (b) of the act. He had not provided me with an immediate written acknowledgement in terms of clause 24 (3) of the act. Can I expect him to act in terms of the other relevant clauses of the act and provide me with the information, I had called for?

    Vela

    • 0
      0

      Vela,

      “Can I expect him to act in terms of the other relevant clauses of the act and provide me with the information, I had called for?”

      No you cannot not and you should not wait any longer. The Designated Officer is unknown so that send a registered letter to the RTI Commission with your appeal.

  • 1
    0

    Information is power ..I sometimes get scant information from front office people or the so called customer relations officer specially trained to act as know all and then try to appease rather than resolve issues .. give the I’ll get back to you answer .and adding insult to injury they wants us to rate their response to our query ..Well thats the sophistication of the first world .A Principal answering a parent by passing the buck to a Politician is a very weak and unprofessional person .How can Parents trust the guidance of such a person with their kids to lead the team that train students to gain skills and attitude. yes based on principles and philosophies of education.The like of which was discussed and debated when he received his Dip Ed ..He is the leader the front of educational ideology with motivate kids as future citizens to stand up for right come what may ..how could we trust such a person to give correct information for he seem to want to hang in there come what may .Educating the public with correct information ..well which Governmet will want to go to its logical conclusion ?

  • 3
    0

    Present Minister of Education is too small for his Position?

    He did not having such a capacity to meet basic requirement Education Minister to an appoints of Principles of Govt. Schools

    How can he run a important Minister is not an Intelligent enough to undertaken such huge task which he has no -knowledge about field Education of Island at all?

    Country has lost all guidance under the Ranil W… the Baby politician of UNP of has been appointed running e-Ministry of Education is the key pillar of our future generation?

    We lost vision of 21st century sustainability of Education by UNP leadership of Ranil W….? and CBK ?

    • 1
      0

      Yet what you said was perfectly correct. Ranil is worse than MR. Ranil has neither qualified education minister nor higher education minister. Both are useless guys. No knowledge of the subject of education. Both are trying to earn money through their ministries. Poor fellows. We can understand the extra interest they are taking in SAITEM and student loan scheme for B.Ed. People are not fool.
      Dr. Perera

  • 0
    0

    This guy is the blue eyed boy of the boss . He can get away with anything .

  • 0
    0

    “In another case, the principal of a school had given the information asked for even though he was not the information officer and the parent has filed a court case challenging her child’s rejection to school based on that information.”

    If the principals are not the Information Officers why are they receiving training as IOs?

    “RTI training programme for Principals attached to National Schools in North western Province”

    https://www.rti.gov.lk/

    • 0
      0

      @Lone Wolf.. appreciate direction to exact link re “RTI training programme for Principals attached to National Schools in North western Province”?

      https://www.rti.gov.lk/is only a general link to the ministry website. FYI that says only two IOs appted by Min/Ed at Isurupaya. No principals of national schools named as IOs.

      Training programmes in general are good. I am attached to an RTI volunteer group of young people. We are doing trainings for citizens on RTI.

      • 0
        0

        Prameetha,

        “https://www.rti.gov.lk/ is only a general link to the ministry website.”

        You will find a link to the training on the page in the events down the page but when I click on it I receive nothing. The event was for 07/04/2017.

        “FYI that says only two IOs appted by Min/Ed at Isurupaya.”

        I found only Mr.M.L.Gammanpila, Senior Assistant Secretary. No postal address, e-mail or fax number.

        “I am attached to an RTI volunteer group of young people. We are doing trainings for citizens on RTI.”

        Very important work.

        • 0
          0

          @Lone Wolf- Thank you. Found it! Yes. true – nothing comes up under that link. Actually ALL those links under the Events header open to empty pages! We will write to the Ministry of Media and inform to correct. This website still does not have details of Information Officers in Sinhala or Tamil. It also does not have details of Designated Officers. Except for one or two people at the Ministry, the top people are just shouting about RTI only.

          From what I saw, Mr.M.L.Gammanpila (Senior Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Education) does have the address put as ‘Isurupaya’,Sri Jayawardhanapura Kotte, Battaramulla’ and the telephone no as –
          011 2786068

  • 0
    0

    @Lone Wolf – Just read the RTI Act – it says that the ‘contact details’ of the IO and the DO must be displayed on the website.

    Obviously some MInistries are interpreting ‘contact details’ to mean only the postal address and the land phone no!

    From many reports we are getting, some Ministry people see this whole RTI requirement as a nuisance as it threatens their comfortable way of working all along. Hurrah for RTI! Even upsetting that mentality is a good thing!

    • 0
      0

      Prameetha and others,

      Now the MOE has a home page for RTI!

      http://edulk.info/rti/

      Still a lot of mandatory RTI information is missing and only one IO and he/she is not the same as some days ago.

      Information Officer
      Name :- H. Hewage
      Designation :- Addi. Sec. (Admin & Finance)
      T.P. No. :- 0112784814
      Fax : – 0112785818

      Designated Officer
      Name :- Sunil Hettiarachchi
      Designation : – Secretary
      T.P. No. :- 0112784811
      Fax :- 0112785818

      I think that the e-mail of the DO is secretary.education@moe.gov.lk

      Hope this helps.

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