Minister in an Exclusive Interview with Newsfirst – says scholarship exam will not be terminated

Minister in an Exclusive Interview with Newsfirst – says scholarship exam will not be terminated

Written by Staff Writer

07 Jan, 2014 | 5:05 pm

In December  2013 the Minister of Education, Bandula Gunawardena stirred up a controversy by stating that the Grade Five Scholarship Examination will be terminated from 2016 onwards.

This statement by the Minister, generated various views in the political arena and in general among the public, with the National Teachers’ Council voicing their protest along with a majority of parents.

Now, in an exclusive interview with Newsfirst on our Newsline segment, Minister Bandula Gunawardena has yet again sparked another controversy by saying that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has agreed on the annulment of how the scholarship exam is conducted.

In a question raised by our journalist, inquiries were made about the minister’s comments stating that there is a considerable decrease in the intake of students this year into popular national schools in comparison to last year.

To which the minister replied,

“There is absolutely no decrease in the intake of students.”

Referring to the statement made by the Government Cabinet Spokesperson, Keheliya Rambukwella, the minister said:

“The statement by the Cabinet Spokesperson saying that the scholarship exam will be conducted in the same method is completely untrue, because he has clearly stated that the Ministry of Education and the Department of Examinations  are carrying out discussions in this regard.”

Speaking further the minister said,

“What the Cabinet decided was to terminate the method of the how the scholarship exam had been carried out. We have never said that we will be terminating the Grade 5 Scholarship Examination.”

“The method of the scholarship exam that brought immense mental and physical pressure on the children of this country, loaded a heavy weight on their parents and created an unnatural competition, will be transformed into an exam that is conducted in a practical and uncomplicated manner that will not only benefit today’s children but generations to come.”

A question raised by our journalist asked,

Q: Recently President Mahinda Rajapaksa notified the Central Working Council of the SLFP, that the current method of conducting the Grade Five scholarship will not be changed, this was reported in a well reputed media agency of the country. What are your comments on this?”

To which Minister Bandula Gunawardena replied,

“The President has not said that in any way.”

He further explained,

“What is most important is what the Cabinet says. The President has stated clearly that he is of the strong opinion that the current method of how the scholarship exam is conducted should be terminated. As the leader of the nation, he has clearly said that it is not the scholarship exam that will be terminated but the method of how it is conducted.”

Watch the interview on  Sirasa Newsline for  full story,


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