Crisis over ministerial portfolios – Education Ministry burdened with cultural affairs?

Crisis over ministerial portfolios – Education Ministry burdened with cultural affairs?

By Lahiru Fernando

Sep 13, 2016 | 10:20 pm

Accusations are rife of problems that have arisen due to weaknesses in the demarcation of ministerial portfolios. Today, News 1st inquires into such issues in the place which sets the course for Sri Lanka’s future – the Ministry of Education.

As per an extraordinary gazette notice that was issued in September last year, eight institutions including the Department of Archaeology, the Central Cultural Fund, the Public Performance Board, the National Arts Council and Ape Gama, which had operated under the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture, were brought under the Ministry of Education.

The only institutions left under the Cultural Affairs Ministry are the National Museum Department and the Cultural Affairs Department.

Most. Ven. Vedaruwe Upali Thera (Anunayaka of the Asgiri Chapter, Siam Sect ) voiced his opinon on the matter, saying that burdening the Minister of Education with the responsibilities of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs is a “huge mistake”.

“The Ministry of Education is as important as the Ministry of Cultural Affairs”, said the  Most. Ven. Vedaruwe Upali Thera, Anunayaka of the Asgiri Chapter, Siam Sect.

Issues that have cropped up due to the delegation of ministries have been highlighted on numerous occasions.

The protest of artistes citing the failure to provide state sponsorship for the National Theatre Festival held on  July 1,  is a prime example.

“Especially when it comes to something to do with a local community, we visit the Cultural Affairs Ministry, then we have to go to the Ministry of Education if we are talking about theatre. They have broken the body of the cultural ministry in two. They have given the torso away and they have given the bottom part of the body elsewhere”,  said veteran actress Deepani Silva.