PM's "quality education under trees" and the student tab saga

by Staff Writer 29-06-2018 | 11:13 PM
Colombo (News 1st) - President of the Ceylon Teachers' Union Joseph Stalin raised the questioned what happened to the Rs. 5 Billion allocated in the 2014 Budget to purchase tabs for school children. Stalin stated: "The Auditor General has also questioned this. They claim textbooks are heavy to be carried by children. The textbook weight increased when you go up the grades from pre-school. Are tabs given to them? Tabs are given to advanced level students. Is this the solution to the issue? This is a joke." Joseph Stalin also recalled the promise of 'Smart Classrooms': "They just created around 50 such smart classrooms, and they claim the Education has become smart." He went on to say that there are many other things that need to be addressed. Stalin pointed out that there is a school in Sirimalwatte which has collapsed. He added that education reforms mean "equal opportunities". There are 353 National Schools that come directly under Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, he added, saying the minister has not been able to appoint a Principal for 260 such schools. "All we see are acting principals". Stalin also spoke on the shortage of teachers, pointing out that the teacher to student ratio is 1:10. He claimed that the authorities have failed to manage the teachers. "Rather than solving those matters, these are what they are trying to do. Please stop the jokes and fulfil the needs of the students. Money is collected from the students for even the class broomstick. So what's the need for the tab?" The Prime Minister at a recent event stated, "the number of students improved and the quality of education improved. We are not a contracting organization that's doing cement. I want quality, and quality can come even under trees." In this case, PM Wickremesinghe may know what he is talking about because there are many children across Sri Lanka who are receiving this "quality education" under trees at school. Following are examples of how this "quality education" that is dispensed. Kegalle: An earth embankment collapsed on to a building of the Dehiowita Tamil Maha Vidyalaya - located in the Kegalle District's Dehiowita Education Zone. Months later, the school fell victim to a landslide. In 2018, the state of the school remains exactly the same. [caption id="attachment_213443" align="aligncenter" width="327"] Dehiowita Tamil Maha Vidyalaya[/caption] Thanamalwila: The only building of the Niyandagala Primary School was in a dilapidated state. It was to be renovated with an allocation of over a million rupees from the Uva PC. However, renovations have come to a complete standstill. [caption id="attachment_213444" align="aligncenter" width="340"] Niyandagala Primary School[/caption] Sooriyawewa: Several buildings in the Sooriyawewa Mahagalwewa Primary School are dilapidated and has severely inconvenienced the students in the school. The school which boasts of a 65-year-old history educates around 260 students. However, at present, they are being educated in makeshift classrooms. [caption id="attachment_213446" align="aligncenter" width="331"] Sooriyawewa Mahagalwewa Primary School - the make-shift huts[/caption] [caption id="attachment_213445" align="aligncenter" width="330"] Sooriyawewa Mahagalwewa Primary School - the collapsed building[/caption]