Update: Education Ministry detects massive fraud in school uniform distribution programme

Update: Education Ministry detects massive fraud in school uniform distribution programme

Update: Education Ministry detects massive fraud in school uniform distribution programme

Written by Staff Writer

07 Dec, 2015 | 9:48 pm

Many instances were witnessed across the country, where parents arrived at schools to return free uniform material vouchers which were invalid. There were also instances where parents complained of the insufficient value attached to these vouchers, and where parents were unable to purchase quality material for a specified price.

Against this backdrop, several teachers and principals’ associations staged a joint media briefing in Colombo, highlighting the fact that teachers, students and parents, have been inconvenienced by the new voucher system.

Secretary of Ceylon Teachers Union, Joseph Stalin stated that there is no quality material in the market as they usually purchase cloth with the specification of 65-35.

He added that the government is able to provide the material with the necessary quality parameters, as children do not know.

He went on to note that the President should take steps to ensure that school children receive material of that quality.

Explaining further, he stated that the Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam has said in parliament that the voucher system will be implemented next year, no matter who opposes it.

Further, he stated that they will not allow Akila Viraj Kariyawasam to implement it.

At a media briefing held at the Education Ministry, the Education Minister responded to the stance taken by the unions.

Minister of Education, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam stated:

They cannot play games with these children. There needs to be discipline in the country so if people act arbitrarily, then disciplinary action will be taken.

At the same media briefing, a journalist questioned the Education Secretary, on an incident where the Ministry had spent Rs.137,000  to purchase a mobile phone for an individual, and a further Rs.37,000   for the mobile phone to be repaired, when a Public Administration circular clearly states that a ministry’s financial provisions can only be spent in this way, for the permanent secretary.

Minister of Education, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam

We need to have e-mail access everywhere. We need to be able to access information everywhere. Is this wrong? I don’t know.

Question:
The allegation, Minister, is that rules and regulations have been violated.

Minister Akila Viraj
No. No. It has not been violated. There is no such circular, nothing has been violated.

Question:
Can you explain this Minister?

Minister Akila Viraj

The minister has a staff and needs to purchase equipment. If you look at it that way then I cannot even purchase a chair. We do not take commissions. We are not stealing. We are not striking various deals. This is not for my use, it is for my service as a minister. If I cannot purchase it, then it is very unfair.

Question

Did the Minister before you conduct a similar purchase?

Minister Akila Viraj

He did, and he has returned it as well.

Question

Is it the property of the Ministry, or was it procured for you?

Minister Akila Viraj

It is the property of the Ministry.

It has been inventoried. When I leave, I will return it.

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