The UNP charged yesterday that education had been extremely politicized under the present government with 186 posts in the 200-strong cadre of the Sri Lanka Education Administrative Service (SLEAS) being filled on political grounds. UNP Kurunegala district Parliamentarian Akila Virage Kariyawasam told a news conference yesterday that school principals without any qualification in the SLEAS, had been picked for these posts due to their political affiliations.
Mr. Kariyawasam said teachers had also been appointed as principals to some schools in a similar manner, and the Education Ministry had no plan to improve the sector. He said the UNP would launch a signature campaign on October 20 for a petition to be handed over to Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara. UNP Moneragala district Parliamentarian Ranjith Madduma Bandara said free education introduced by C.W.W. Kannangara was in jeopardy today. Mr. Bandara said the Government did not do anything concrete to resolve the Grade ! admission crisis, leaving the matter solely in the hands of the judiciary.
â€œLikewise, there was a problem in the Advanced Level exam paper marking. Students in rural areas such as Bibile in Moneragala and Wilgamuwa in Matale have been deprived of free education rights. The success level in the Ordinary Level Exam has declined to a great extent in these areas compared to Colombo and Kandy,â€ he said. He said the education system should be revised to suite the interests of the modern world.
â€œHowever, there is no action being taken by the Government in this regard. We should give a quality English and IT education to our children,â€ he said. However, Education Deputy Minister Nirmala Kotalawala said the Government never acted to curtail the free education rights of people despite the Opposition planning to sign a petition.
Mr. Kotalawala said in a statement that the Government had taken measures to promote the free education system during the last two years, and the recruitment of over 40,000 teachers was a step forward in this regard.
He said the Government would never take any step to undermine free education.
By By Kelum Bandara